The Wicked Day - Arthurian Saga, Bk 4 Author:Mary Stewart Now, the spellbinding, final chapter of King Arthur's reign, where Mordred, sired by incest and reared in secrecy, ingratiates himself at court, and sets in motion the Fates and the end of Arthur.
Mary Stewart's final entry in her Arthurian cycle is by far the best of the lot, possibly in part because Merlin is no longer center stage. Since writing the legend from his viewpoint was her stated intent, it's ironic that this should be so. She has taken the bold stand of making Mordred not a villain, but rather an ambitious young man caught up in a web of circumstance, misunderstanding, and political gamesmanship that led him to face Arthur on the battlefield. Nicely done.
'The Wicked Day' is suspenseful and well-paced. Stewart has taken, literally, the stuff of legends and made the conflicts and characters realistic and relatable. This is easily my favorite of her four Arthurian novels, and it could be read as a stand-alone.