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"Best King Arthur Novel?" Topic

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03 Apr 2019 12:44 p.m. PST
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian31 Aug 2018 7:29 p.m. PST

Which is your favorite novel that focuses on the life of King Arthur?

thosmoss31 Aug 2018 7:38 p.m. PST

I've read a few , and although many are traditional and all, I really enjoyed "The Winter King" by Bernard Cornwall the best.

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2018 7:48 p.m. PST

How about "The Once and Future King" by White? Humourous to boot.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2018 8:12 p.m. PST

I'll stipulate that a "novel" is a post 18th century literary form, and so remove the original medieval works from the list (including my own name sake work). We shall also strikes out Tennyson, as being an epic poem, not a novel.

So, in order of preference:
The Once and Future King, by T.H. White
A Boy's King Arthur, by a Howard Pyle
Mary Stewart's Arthurian trilogy: The Hollow Hills, The Crystal Cave, The Last Enchantment, and the companion Mordred twist, The Wicked Day.
The Lantern Bearers, by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Sword At Sunset, by Rosemary Sutcliff

FoxtrotPapaRomeo31 Aug 2018 8:13 p.m. PST

The Last Legion by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2018 8:19 p.m. PST

Sword at Sunset.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2018 8:24 p.m. PST

The Once And Future King has not aged well. I noticed that last time I picked it up, and interestingly TOR books has a related recent article I just read today.

The Winter King is my current favorite.

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2018 8:49 p.m. PST

The Sword at Sunset.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2018 8:54 p.m. PST

Warlord saga by Bernard Cornwell and Hal foster's Prince valiant

lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2018 10:21 p.m. PST

A Connecticut Yankiee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain, though I haven't read it in too many years to count.

Winston Smith31 Aug 2018 11:01 p.m. PST

The Once and Future King.
Hands down the best.

Huscarle31 Aug 2018 11:28 p.m. PST

The Sword at Sunset
Hawk of May
Launcelot, My Brother

foxweasel01 Sep 2018 1:32 a.m. PST

Bernard Cornwell's trilogy for me, but I'm halfway through Giles Kristian's new one "Lancelot" and it's good so far.

4DJones01 Sep 2018 1:47 a.m. PST

Morte d'Arthur, by Thomas Malory, Caxton's edition. Despite what's been said above the story has a plot, structure and character development: all essential to a novel.

mollinary01 Sep 2018 5:39 a.m. PST

Cornwell's Winter King, Excalibur and Enemy of God. For me they are by far his best work.

bong6701 Sep 2018 6:31 a.m. PST

I'm a big Roesmary Sutcliffe fan so for me the best King Arthur novel is The Sword at Sunset. It has a wonderful sense of melancholy.
Althogh it's set just before the Sword at Sunset and doesn't really feature Arthur as a main character my all time favourite "Arthurian" period book is The Lantern Bearers.
This passage from the last chapter of The Lantern Bearers is one of the best things I've read and is so evocative of the Arthurian age:

"It may be that the night will close over us in the end, but I believe that morning will come again. Morning always grows out of the darkness, though maybe not for the people who saw the sun go down. We are the Lantern Bearers, my friend; for us to keep something burning, to carry what light we can forward into the darkness and the wind."

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2018 6:52 a.m. PST

Firelord by Parke Godwin

The first of a trilogy and the only one actually about Arthur; the other two books aren't as good.


whill401 Sep 2018 7:06 a.m. PST

The Winter King is my favorite

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2018 8:09 a.m. PST

Sword at Sunset

Roderick Robertson Fezian01 Sep 2018 8:49 a.m. PST

If we're including the originals, then I'll go for Chretien de Troyes' works as a "series".

He introduced Lancelot, Percival, and the Holy Grail, among other things. Anything else using those characters is basically just fanfic, including Malory.

Aethelflaeda was framed01 Sep 2018 11:25 a.m. PST

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

goragrad01 Sep 2018 11:39 a.m. PST

Sword at Sunset.

4DJones01 Sep 2018 2:54 p.m. PST

@Rod Rob: Why not go back to the Welsh tales then? Written in prose, class them as short stories, as the later French tales.

If you didn't have Arthur, you wouldn't have Lancelot, etc.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Sep 2018 3:25 p.m. PST

The Coming of the King isn't bad. And I'll add Avalon High just to make some people Google it.

Craig Woodfield01 Sep 2018 3:36 p.m. PST

The Winter King and sequels for me.

kodiakblair01 Sep 2018 3:57 p.m. PST

The Winter King and sequels,though let's face the Arthur in those books really needed a kick up the a… and some harsh truths told.

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 6:22 a.m. PST

Cornwell's descriptions of combat are interesting and certainly appropriate to the period. However, his Aurthur, like his Wellington in his Sharpe series, has a far too modern feel for me.

Roderick Robertson Fezian02 Sep 2018 10:02 a.m. PST

@4dJones: I prefer Chretien to the Welsh – simply personal preference.

Gone Fishing02 Sep 2018 3:15 p.m. PST

The Once and Future King, hands down: superbly written, imaginative, deep knowledge of the period, and at times riotously funny; all in all, quite a combination! (This is only considering modern novels, mind!)

USAFpilot03 Sep 2018 9:56 a.m. PST

Many comments on here about Cornwell's novels: The Winter King, etc. From what I remember of them, and it has been 25 years since reading them, they were all fairly decent. He approached the subject from a historical realism point of view, i.e. no plate armor and lice often mentioned as I recall. I prefer a more "romantic" version, and by that I mean a more fantastical, legendary and mythical telling of the story. One filled with knights in shining armor doing battle with magical creatures and rescuing damsels in distress. The magic of the Arthurian legend for me lay in the idealism of knighthood.

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