Bun, now 12 years old, tells the story of his blindness and memory loss two years prior, and of how a sword he found in a hole under their field led him to King Arthur’s resting place and helped him recover his sight. Bun relates his story without self-pity, making it clear that he is to blame for trying a show-off dive without checking the water below.
Rather than becoming a stimulus for selfishness, the blindness is a way for him to come closer to his friends and especially to Anna, his sister. Despite Bun’s acceptance of his blindness, at one point he is going to give up by throwing himself off a cliff in the middle of the night until Anna draws him back.
Bun’s family are nothing but supportive of him despite the fact-which Bun realises-that it gives them money problems, having to provide extra facilities and teaching for him. When his parents, in all goodwill, arrange for him to attend a special school on the mainland, his friends organise a petition among the islanders and organise for him to be taught without leaving home. Anna, in particular, spends a lot of time with Bun.
Michael Morpurgo’s direct first-person narrative has the usual effect of producing an intimacy and immediacy to the story while keeping the ideas and words within range of the readers of the same age as the main character. The mixture of the island life, Bun’s blindness, his friends’ support, and the mythical sword is judged nicely.
Tim Golden is a computer programmer living in London. He is also the editor of the Good-to-Read website.