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Topic: Books on King Arthur?

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Subject: Books on King Arthur?
Date Posted: 9/14/2007 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
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I recently got an encyclopedia of all things King Arthur, and it's really great.  Problem is, reading this book made me realize how little I know about him, or his legends (and there are many!)

Can anyone recommend any good King Arthur books, either fiction or non-fiction?  There are so many posted here that I can't decide!  Feel free to call your shelf to my attention, if you have some!

Thanks in advance.

Date Posted: 9/14/2007 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2005
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Stephen Lawhead wrote a great series about Arthur. It starts with Taliesin. I think there are 5 in the series.

I also loved the Mary Stewart books about Merlin. It starts with The Crystal Cave.

Date Posted: 9/14/2007 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
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The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmerman Bradley is supposed to be excellent!

Date Posted: 9/14/2007 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
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Defintely Mary Stewart!!  And I really enjoy Rosalind Miles's trilogy as well.

Date Posted: 9/14/2007 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
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I have 2 on my PBS shelf:

The Coming of the King

The Shadow of the Oak King

Date Posted: 9/14/2007 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
Posts: 236
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You might start with the Mary Stewart trilogy, it is a classic and stays close to the "traditional" legend.  Then do try The Mists of Avalon, it is done from the viewpoint of the women and has definite Druid themes, it's a great read (maybe you saw the TV special a few years ago.)  If you are still interested, Park Goodwin has done a series in yet a different direction, historically correct with no magic.  Have not read the others mentioned above, so can't comment.

That should keep you busy for a while Beverly  :) 

Cheers, Margaret

Date Posted: 9/15/2007 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 1,039
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Thanks all.  : -)

Date Posted: 9/15/2007 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
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The Mammoth Book of King Arthur provides overviews of the legends and the history behind them, as well as presenting a list of recommended Arthurian reads.

Last Edited on: 9/15/07 5:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/18/2007 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,607
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I'm currently reading the second book of an Arthurian Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell, Enemy of God. The first in series is The Winter King. It's historical fiction (and I suppose fantasy too since it's speculation as to whether "Arthur" was real!) and quite enjoyable.


Date Posted: 9/18/2007 8:05 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I wanted to second Cheryl's suggestion of the Cornwell trilogy. I'm not a big Arthur fan, but I really enjoyed this series.

Legends of Arthur :: Richard Barber
Posted: 8/24/2007 6:57 PM ET

It gives several different examples of Arthurian legends. Lancelot and Guinevere and Tristan and Iseult also have several stories devoted to them. I thought the contrasting stories were interesting.

Edited because I no longer have this book.

Last Edited on: 10/29/08 9:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/18/2007 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2007
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I really dug Jack Whyte's "Camulod Chronicles" series, which tells the Arthurian legend from a historical, non-magical viewpoint -- although with some artistic license, of course.  It spans nine books and covers the formation of Camulod as a society, fighting techniques and the political landscape, as well as the major characters we've come to know and love. Be forewarned that the series starts off with Arthur's great grandparents -- it really sets the stage for how Camulod/Camelot was formed.

Date Posted: 10/27/2008 12:50 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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I picked up, at our library book sale, THE FOREVER KING by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy (a husband and wife writing team.)   "A fresh and exciting view of the Arthur legend."  Has anyone read it?

Any other King Arthur recommendations?

Date Posted: 10/27/2008 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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I also really have enjoyed the Jack Whyte series, esp. the first book, which starts several generations back from Arthur, but which sets up a tremendously interesting end-of-the-world scenario. The Romans are leaving Britain, the barbarian tribes will be attacking soon, and Arthur's two grandfathers figure out a way to set up a safe and prosperous colony in the face of the chaos that is on its way. It gives you such a great background for the world that Arthur comes from. Great books!

Date Posted: 10/27/2008 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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I like Cornwell's Warlord tooI agree that Mary Stewart probably has the best "traditional" take on Merlin and Arthur withThe Crystal Cave, and The Hollow Hills.  Lawhead's series is good too especially if you don't object to a Christian slant.  His Merlin is my favorite of the bunch.

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2008
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If you're interested in non-fiction books, send me a PM.  I worked on the legends of King Arthur for my MLitt and PhD theses.  I have bibliographies pages long I'd be happy to share to interested readers. :)

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
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Paige, was there a "real" King Arthur?  The legends of King Arthur, what a fasinating topic for a PhD  these!  If you were to suggest only one....or maybe two non-fiction books for a layperson (not  a historian scholar) what would they be?

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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I always liked John Steinbeck's "The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights", but I'm a Steinbeck fan, so there's my bias...



Date Posted: 10/30/2008 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Hey Paige, can we get you to post your list here? I'd love to see it.

I read the Mabinogian, which is a collection of Welsh epic tales that have an early, perhaps the earliest, appearance of King Arthur in them many years ago for college.

Subject: King Arthur
Date Posted: 11/10/2008 9:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/15/2008
Posts: 66
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Bernard Cornwell, Jack Whyte, Marion Zimmer Bradley, they are all excellent! as a history buff, I like the ones that are more true to life and historically accurate.

Date Posted: 4/1/2010 3:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2010
Posts: 100
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Was searching for some King Arthur books and found this old topic thread, so I thought I'd revive it and add my two cents! Here are a few that I didn't see listed above, unless I missed them somewhere:

The Once and Future King by T.H. White - One of the most cleverly written books I've ever read (and, as I hear it, a personal favorite of Robin McKinley!). Disney's "Sword and the Stone" movie is based on the first (and most light-hearted) of the four parts of this book, but the other three parts are also excellent.

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle - A great traditional tale for those who aren't looking for anything too unusual or controversial. If you don't mind the older English vocab and style, Howard Pyle is always worth a read :-)

Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey - Tells the story of Lord Artos and his dream of bringing horses to England strong enough to carry his knights into battle against the invading Saxons. This is technically a YA book by virtue of the protagonist being a teenager, but I still really enjoy the book as an adult!

The Queen's Knight by Marvin Borowsky - A totally different take on the Arthur legend... what if a council of regents (headed by Mordred and advised by Merlin) set up your average not-so-bright country bumpkin as their puppet king? What if said puppet king surprised them all? This is a pretty hard-to-find book, but if anyone's interested in reading it, I have an available hardcover copy that I didn't want to put on my bookshelf b/c it looks like some water has splashed on the edges of the pages if you look at it when the book is closed. But the pages themselves are unstained, and it's otherwise in great condition for a 1955 first printing. Anyway, I'd be happy to send it for free with any order from my bookshelf - just PM me when you request a book and let me know you want this one, too!

Also, I second the earlier recommendation for Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle. Be sure to also hunt down his book Avalon: The Return of King Arthur, which is a sort of unofficial 6th book in his series (and one of my favorites).

Anybody else have more Arthur recommendations?  :)

Last Edited on: 4/1/10 3:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1