"I knew you in your mother's womb. I set you apart before you were born. Give no thought to the manner of your birth. I placed you here for a purpose. Give your life to me, Galahad, and you will do great things."
Galahad. The bravest knight, the purest knight, the hero of a thousand legends, every maiden's ideal. The very name is a synonym for decency, honor and courage. But who was he, this youngest member of the Round Table? Did he really know nothing about his own past? And what was this mysterious destiny he expected to fulfill?
A 16-year-old with the strength of Samson arrives at King Arthur's court to make his mark and immediately finds himself swept from adventure to adventure: a joust, a giant, a wizard in a deadly tower, curses and plagues and eventually the quest for the Holy Grail. More dangerous yet are the courtly intrigues, the questions about the amulet around his neck and the tragic events that bring down Camelot, tempting young Galahad to stray from his purpose and abandon his faith.
An EXCERPT from Galahad
Waves washed over me, rain lashed my face and jagged rocks rose up like claws. After what seemed an eternity, I somehow reached the island and dragged the skiff onto a rocky beach. Black boulders the size of houses rose on either side and beyond them loomed the wizard's tower, a fat black pillar that disappeared into the darkness above. No light glimmered within, but cross-shaped loopholes dotted the sides and I glimpsed a battlement at the very top.
Drawing my sword, I followed a winding path to the base of the tower where tall square pillars flanked a narrow door. Atop each pilaster crouched a gruesome stone gargoyle and between them stretched the inscription:
The portal opened with a loud creak and I saw velvety darkness within. The moment I crossed the threshold, the door slammed shut behind me and when I turned to grab the handle, I could not find it. My fingers touched only cold brick because the door had vanished. A soft chuckle sounded in the darkness overhead.
"Apollyon!" I shouted. "Show yourself!"
Instantly a demonic face materialized in front of me. Wild white hair swirled like seaweed and the thing screamed so loudly that I thought my eardrums would burst.
I hacked at it, but my blade passed right through. The face laughed, then changed into a huge white tiger that snarled and pounced. I fell backward and dropped my sword, but the tiger never landed. Instead, a dozen ghostly horses thundered through the room. I felt rushing water around my legs and jumped up, but saw nothing. Something touched my face, my back, poked me in the ribs.
"His only power is the power to deceive."
Clapping both hands over my ears, I closed my eyes and tried to ignore every touch, every sound, every strange sensation. A cacophony of voices and terrors, roars and shrieks, rumbles and bells grew louder and louder until I had to scream to drown them all out. Then suddenly . . . it stopped.
"Who is it that dares to confront Apollyon?"
"Galahad," I answered.
"Well, Sir Galahad, you are a
worthy opponent. I shall enjoy watching you die."
Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Mark Spence