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The Legend of Lady Ilena

by Patricia Malone

Published by Delacorte Press, 2002
232 pages
ISBN: 0-385-72915-4

Ages 12 - 15

Legends of King Arthur have provided the impetus for myriad adult books over the years, and have lately played a role with increasing frequency in original fiction for teenagers as well. In sixth century Britain, fifteen-year-old Ilena has been raised by parents who always remained strangely silent on the subject of her family lineage. Unexpectedly orphaned, Ilena vows to follow her father's final directions: "Go to Dun Alyn. Find Ryamen." Her quest takes her on a dangerous trip across Britain, during which her warrior skills provoke a chance encounter, and eventual friendship, with one of King Arthur's loyal men. Other allies and enemies appear as Ilena journeys to Dun Alyn, where she must confront a powerful foe who plots to deprive her of her birthright. A young person's search for their true identity is a timeless topic, but The Legend of Lady Ilena is firmly grounded with fascinating details of life in the Dark Ages. Clashes between warring factions of raiders and the growing unease between Christians and Druids add interest and depth to Ilena's tale. Although her search is somewhat predictable, the book's upbeat conclusion provides satisfying answers to Ilena's many questions. Readers will revel in this colorful depiction of a strong young woman succeeding despite the best efforts of her rivals. CCBC Categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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