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Description - Corbenic by Catherine Fisher

Cal has struggled to cope with his mother's drinking and her psychotic episodes since he was six; cooped up in their dirty council flat he dreams of a new life. So when he leaves to live with his uncle Trevor in Chepstow he is ruthless about breaking with the past, despite his mother's despair. But getting off the train at the wrong station he finds himself at the castle of the Fisher King, and from then on moves in a nightmare spiral of predetermined descent into a wasteland of desolation and adventure, always seeking the way back to the Grail he has betrayed. Catherine Fisher has created a gripping and highly moving novel that moves between myth and a contemporary journey of self-knowledge until one becomes indistinguishable from the other. Drawing in Arthurian themes, historical re-enactments and the Four Hallows, Cal's quest for a return to peace of mind is an elaborate and ambitious Grail novel for our time. An important new work from the author of the Book of the Crow

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099438489
ISBN-10: 0099438488
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 14mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Red Fox
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
Publish Date: 4-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Corbenic by Catherine Fisher

Book Reviews - Corbenic by Catherine Fisher

UK Kirkus Review » This novel by Catherine Fisher ingeniously links the tale of King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail with the modern-day story of Cal, a troubled teenager, the main theme being that to follow the path of truth and perfection you must give up everything you hold dear and pursue a better life. In the case of Cal this means leaving his alcoholic mother and undertaking a difficult journey to find a new and happy life. Cal first finds the Grail castle of Corbenic when he gets off at the wrong train station on the way to live with his uncle. At the castle he watches some curious and magical events but makes the fatal mistake of denying all that he has seen. Cal then spends the rest of the story being tormented by his past, struggling with his ideals of perfection, and trying to find his way back to the castle. He meets a group of friends who re-enact mediaeval tournaments and joins in with Shadow, a girl also running from her past. Set in Wales, the land of castles, mountains, woods and rain, the story keeps crossing between fantasy and reality to create an astonishing synthesis of mediaeval and modern times and a moving account of growing up and self-discovery. Highly recommended. Ages 10+ (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A sullen teen is unwillingly cast as the hero in a modern replay of the Grail Quest. Cal has struggled all his life with his alcoholic, schizophrenic mother, so he leaps at the opportunity to escape offered by his fastidious uncle. But on the way to join him, he accidentally gets off the train in Corbenic, where he encounters a man who calls himself the Fisher King and whose magnificent castle becomes suddenly derelict when Cal refuses to acknowledge the Grail. Fisher ably splices the Arthurian legend into Cal's very modern quest for self-determination, introducing a band of historical re-enactors who claim to be immortal and with whom Cal becomes increasingly involved, as he discovers the sterility that underlies the life he used to covet. It is only when Cal yields to the inevitability of his quest that he is able to free himself from the shadows cast by his mother, his acceptance of responsibility for the healing of the land an expiation of his guilt at having deserted her. The teen's progress is rarely seen in mythic terms, but here it works just right. (Fiction. 12+) (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Catherine Fisher

Born in Newport, Catherine Fisher gained a B-ed at the University of Wales and became a primary school teacher. She has written poetry and a number of novels for young people, several of which have been shortlisted for book awards. Darkhenge has been long listed for the Carnegie Medal.

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