(Cover picture courtesy of Better World Books.)
Piers, watching from the door to the shop, gaped with awe at the night.
Piers is desperate to escape the dirty, tedious labor of his father’s blacksmith shop. So when a knight shows up and says he’s on “the quest,” Piers begs to go along. Surprisingly, his father lets him, and soon he is off on a series of adventures he never dreamed possible. However, Piers’s knight quickly runs into difficulties and is slain by an odd character named Parsifal, who is on his own quest. Piers has no other choice but to join him. As their journey continues, Piers begins to realize what being a knight really means.
Apparently the legend of Parsifal is quite famous, although I have only heard of it through the title of Richard Wagner’s opera, fittingly called ‘Parsifal‘. And no, I had not even watched the opera, just heard of it. My only encounter with Parsifal thus far was briefly when Gawain wrestled with him in the Other World. However, I’m glad Gerald Morris saw fit to bring Parsifal to the front of the stage.
This story is not told by Parsifal himself, but rather by Piers, his page. Piers was raised to believe knights should follow a strict code of courtesy and that questions were impertinent. It is this latter belief that gets both of them into trouble and in the end Piers’ views of knighthood are drastically altered. Since this fourth book in The Squire’s Tales is told from the point of view of Piers, we do not get to see Parsifal’s thoughts, which is a real shame. I personally would have liked to learn more about Parsifal’s motivations and his life in the Other World, but Piers is a decent enough narrator.
Once again the story is not so much about Terence and Gawain, although they appear in it and definitely challenge Piers’ views of the relationship between squire and knight. While Parsifal’s Page is not my absolute favourite book in The Squire’s Tales, it’s certainly a good book and a fitting retelling of yet another popular Arthurian legend. Sometimes authors lose their steam by the third or fourth book in a series, but this is certainly not the case for Gerald Morris. He has attacked the legend with all the enthusiasm you would expect and delivers a heartwarming tale of friendship and love.
I give this book 4/5 stars.