The Wicked Day by Mary Stewart

After Mary Stewart’s brilliant Merlin Trilogy (‘The Crystal Cave’, ‘The Hollow Hills’, ‘The Last Enchantment’), she produced a sequel to complete the Arthurian Saga. The Wicked Day is Mordred’s story.

Near the end of ‘The Hollow Hills’, the young Arthur is taken out of hiding to be introduced to his father – King Uther. Before they have a chance to talk and for Arthur to find out that Uther is his father, Arthur is seduced by his half-sister Morgause. The result is the conception of a son – Mordred.

The baby Mordred is hidden and grows up without knowing that Arthur is his father. He spends his childhood with a poor fishing family in the Orkneys before being taken into Orkney Castle by Morgause. Here Mordred grows up with the four sons of Lot and Morgause believing that he is the son of Lot and another woman.

When Arthur believes Merlin to be dead (murdered by Morgause), he brings the Orkney family to Camelot and Mordred finds out his real parentage. He then grows up as Arthur’s son and heir and is trained as the future High King.

This book gives quite a different take on the life of Mordred from the usual Arthurian stories. Although Mordred is prophesized to case Arthur’s eventual death, we see him in this book as the loyal and devoted son. I spent the entire book wondering how Mordred would bring Arthur down.

Although I preferred the books of the Merlin trilogy to this, the fourth book, this was still a great story and enjoyable book. I felt that Mordred could have been a bit more forceful – he seemed to spend quite a lot of time wondering what he should be doing and worrying about his relationships with Arthur and others. Mordred’s half-brothers (the Orkney princes) – Gawain, Gaheris, Agravain and Gareth are complete trouble makes and really liven up the story.


Book Published 1983



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