The Once And Future King by TH White

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Rating 9.5/10
Delightful and witty, yet very sombre overall. A classic.

Lev Grossman, author of the wonderful The Magicians, believes that TH White's The Once and Future King is the best fantasy book every written.

T.H. White's masterful retelling of the Arthurian legend is an abiding classic. The Once and Future King, contains all four books about the early life of King Arthur (The Sword in the Stone , The Witch in the Wood , The Ill-Made Knight and The Candle in the Wind). Exquisite comedy offsets the tragedy of Arthur's personal doom as White brings to life the major British epic of all time with brilliance, grandeur, warmth and charm.

The Once and Future King is a serious work, delightful and witty, yet very sombre overall. The volume published as The Once and Future King is actually four works separately composed over about 20 years. The first, The Sword in the Stone, concerns the lost childhood of Arthur, future king of England, and his education by Merlyn. The second, The Queen of Air and Darkness, tells the story of adolescent sons of Orkney and their mother, Morgause. The third, The Ill-Made Knight, takes up the story of Sir Lancelot and his uneasy relation- ship with Queen Guenever and with Arthur. The fourth, The Candle in the Wind, concerns the end of the Round Table and Arthur's death.

White uses the inherent flexibility of prose to deliver a lot of information, not only background information that makes it easy for the modern reader to picture 12th- and 13th- century England, but also good analogues to modern society that work not only to clarify what might be confusing, but also to show the continuity of English life from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. (

‘Magnificent and tragic, and irresistible mixture of gaiety and pathos’ The Sunday Times

‘This ambitious work will long remain a memorial to an author who is at once civilized, learned, witty and humane’ Times Literary Supplement

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The Once And Future King reader reviews

from Conisbrough


The first book about Arthur's childhood is absolute magic. I found the following three books to be very disappointing. Sword in the Stone 10/10....the other books 3/10.

9.8/10 from 2 reviews

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