July 11, 2016

Door into Faerie: The Shards of Excalibur, Book 5

by Edward Willett
Coteau Books
196 pp.
Ages 13+
June 2016

Ariane Forsythe, the heir to the Lady of the Lake, and her  boyfriend Wally Knight, successor of King Arthur, are on their final quest to locate the fifth shard of Excalibur, the hilt, and reforge the legendary sword.  That is, unless computer magnate Rex Major a.k.a. Merlin and Wally’s sister Felicia a.k.a. Flish don’t discover the hilt first, allowing them to claim the whole sword.  With both sides endowed with magic and power and harbouring two shards, it’s anyone’s game in Door into Faerie, the final book in Edward Willett’s pentalogy.
Magical quests are easy; family is hard. (pg. 30)
Having been away for five months from his family, dysfunctional as it is–dad with his girlfriend, mom often off filming and his bullying sister now aiding Merlin–Wally convinces Ariane to transport them to Scotland where his mother is working on her lastest film project at Castle MacPhaiden, named for her side of the family.  Unfortunately, Rex Major and Flish are already there and Wally suspects that, because his mother is researching family legends, Rex Major believes she’ll discover something that will lead them to the hilt.  But Ariane and Wally are the first to realize that the treasure his Great Grandfather Knight had fled to Canada claiming to protect is actually that final piece of Excalibur.  So, the race to the grounds of the historic site Cannington Manor in Saskatchewan and unearthing of the hilt ensues, but not without a little frustration, a whole lot of magic, some familial obstacles, and a climactic battle.

While Edward Willett may not exactly conclude his Shards of Excalibur series with Ariane and Wally fulfilling their quest of retrieving the sword for the Lady of the Lake (you’ll need to read the book to understand that), Door into Faerie closes favorably in more ways than one and Excalibur is not the only entity that is rebuilt at its finale.  This fifth book is as forged with magic, conflict, action and travel, as well as a little history, as the earlier four books–Song of the Sword (Coteau, 2014), Twist of the Blade (Coteau, 2014), The Lake in the Clouds (Coteau, 2015), and Cave Beneath the Sea (Coteau, 2015)–but family, which has always been important, becomes paramount.  Brothers and sisters Merlin and the Lady of the Lake, and Wally and Felicia, as well as mothers Emily Forsythe and Jessica Knight, drive the story, and ultimately help resolve its plotlines, a monumental task in a fantasy based on the Arthurian legends.  Yet Edward Willett accomplishes this easily with his consistent intensity and fluidity of plot progression.  The rebuilding of Excalibur may be the final outcome but it’s the quest that is the journey that regales readers right through the series. 

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