November 16, 1952
The Blue Sword
“I can't remember a time when the stories I told myself weren't about shy, bumbling girls who turned out to be heroes,” fantasy writer Robin McKinley said in accepting the Newbery Medal in 1985 for The Hero and the Crown.
Typical of McKinley's fantasy books is The Blue Sword, which in the view of Sally Estes “is a zesty, romantic heroic fantasy with an appealing, stalwart heroine, a finely realized mythical kingdom, and a grounding in reality that enhances the tale's verve as a fantasy. Kidnapped from a remote Homelander outpost by Corlath, king of the old Damarians … Harry Crewe soon learns that, possessed of untrained power herself, she is destined to follow in the footsteps and under the protection of a legendary female warrior who, generations before, had led the Damarians into battle against their enemy. McKinley sparks her narrative with marvelous portrayals of Narknon, a hunting cat that adopts Harry, becoming a true companion, and of the magnificent native horses—particularly in scenes of Harry's warrior training as well as those of her riding, first for the sheer joy of it and finally riding into bloody battle against an evil, powerful nonhuman force.”
That book won an American Library Association Newbery Honor in 1983. McKinley's next book, The Hero and the Crown, received the medal two years later. Of the second book, Merri Rosenberg