The Stone Crown, by Malcolm Walker

Emlyn’s phone rang. The screen displayed his sister’s number. Pocketing it, he moved on. His only thought now was running and evasion, but there was nowhere to go. Ahead, the bridge was a dark throat in the snow. He was being swallowed. Something terrible was about to happen.

When Emlyn’s mother moves him to a small Scottish village, Emlyn finds himself drawn to Sleeper’s Spinney, an ancient site connected to the time of Arthur. Beneath the ground twenty wooden horseman are entombed, hidden from the world. When Emlyn discovers the figures, he unleashes a chain of events which sees his life threatened. Together with his friend Max (Maxine) he is threatened by the keepers of site who will stop at nothing to get back the figure which Emlyn has in his possession.

This figure is no child’s toy or statue. The spirits of Arthur and his loyal guard have been trapped in the figures for centuries, imprisoned by the magic of the lady of the lake. As Emlyn and Max uncover the truth, they are also challenged with the decision of whether or not to free the men’s spirits.

This is a revision of the Arthurian legend in a unique setting, and with the multiple perspectives of two modern day teens and one of the trapped warriors. Both of the teens have problems of their own to deal with, and as the story unravels they must question the legend of Arthur as much as the reader will. This is no noble King putting his life on the line for his people – rather this Arthur is both the victim of a lost childhood manipulated by Merlin, and a power-mad adult unaware of the machinations of those around him.

The Stone Crown is a fantasy which will intrigue teen and adult readers.

The Stone Crown, by Malcolm Walker
Walker Books, 2008