Tag Archives: Penelope Lively

The Whispering Knights

4 Dec

The Whispering Knights was written almost forty years ago by Penelope Lively and my own copy of the book, which is so worn that the pages are falling out, is almost that old. This bears testament to how enthralling I’ve found the story, which I’ve read many times over the years since coming across it for the first time in a dusty old school library. Set in the Oxfordshire countryside, the story makes use of the many stone circles which are a feature of that part of England by referring to the Whispering Knights – according to legend knights frozen in stone many centuries ago by a magical spell that allows them to come to life again when the country’s need is greatest. Three children stumble across this legend and unwittingly awake an ancient evil that the Whispering Knights (who are so called because even as stones they are rumoured to mutter to each other constantly) were designed to combat – the wicked enchantress Morgan Le Fay. Full of magic, danger, ancient legends and mystical monuments, the ensuing story is easy to read, as befits what is essentially a children’s book, but as haunting and powerful as any adult fantasy novel. What makes The Whispering Knights even more fascinating in my opinion is the fact that it is rooted in real history as well as myth.

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