Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

What other authors do Tolkien fans enjoy? Come on in and enter into a broadened conversation on the great literature of this and other times.

Arthurian stuff (King Arthur-related)

Postby andurilwest » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:01 pm

I know there's a lot of Arthurian fiction out there, with most of them having their own series.

EDIT: I'm looking for modern prose versions (thanks anyway for the poetry suggestions) preferably historical fiction.

For example:

- The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell

- The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead

- The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte

- The Mists of Avalon and related titles by Marion Zimmer Bradley

- The books of Rosemary Sutcliff

- The Once and Future King, by T. H. White, of course

I know they're not all written in the same style, and some might be radically different from the others (like Zimmer Bradley's is to White's) but which of them, and what others, would you recommend? Thanks!

EDIT 2012: Expanded topic
Last edited by andurilwest on Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
andurilwest
Ranger of the North
 
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2003 5:42 am
Top

Postby Fea~*Mar~Vanwa~Tyalieva » Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:45 am

hi!
I've read Mists of Avalon, and it's really well written. Great descriptions, believable characters..... :) good book in quality I'd say.

I haven't read the other ones though......what is the "Once and Future King?" I keep on hearing about it!

cheers
User avatar
Fea~*Mar~Vanwa~Tyalieva
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:00 pm
Location: Shadowlands
Top

Postby K.Evenstar » Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:44 am

I've been reading Le Morte d'Arthur, (despite its title it is an English book, even though very, very old english.) It follows many of the knights around on their adventures and quests as well as Arthur and Merlin. It was a bit of hard work though, especially all the duels and battles they fought all in great detail.

Keve xx
User avatar
K.Evenstar
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2089
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:55 am
Location: UK
Top

Postby andurilwest » Tue Oct 18, 2005 7:21 pm

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I already have an edition of Le Morte D'Arthur. Thanks for reminding me. (It is rather hard work!) The reason why I didn't include it is because it's considered source material already - many people, like Alfred Lord Tennyson (The Idylls of the King, Arthurian poetry) and White, have used it as theirs.

About Mists of Avalon... I've read that it's sort of "neo-pagan" and "uber-feminist", but I don't know what that's supposed to mean... :lol:

The Once and Future King consists of The Sword and the Stone (made into a cartoon by Disney), and some other books. He inserted a lot of philosophy into it, or so I've read. I might give it a try. The rest are apparently more on "adventure". I should have set it apart...
User avatar
andurilwest
Ranger of the North
 
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2003 5:42 am
Top

Postby Denethor » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:46 pm

The Mabinogion, the great collection of medieval Welsh legends, features the very early versions of the Arthur stories, as they were before they got totally Frenchified. It might be worth a read (the non-Arthur stories in there are good too).
User avatar
Denethor
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4519
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2000 9:33 pm
Location: New Zealand
Top

Postby Lord_Cie » Mon Oct 24, 2005 7:08 am

Are we only talking about fairly modern Arthurian fiction? If not, there are notable works from the Middle Ages by Geoffery of Monmouth, Chreitien De Troyes, Wolfram Von Eschenbach, and Sir Thomas Mallory.
User avatar
Lord_Cie
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 941
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2001 7:39 pm
Top

Postby undomiel » Mon Oct 24, 2005 5:29 pm

I've read the Warlord Chronicles and I absolutely loved them. The characterization is amazing and the setting is very realistic to the actual time period when Arthur would have lived. I've never cared so much for the characters as I did in those books and Lancelot was evil! Yes! :wink: I highly recommend them. :)
User avatar
undomiel
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 3300
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2000 6:32 pm
Top

Postby Galabrien » Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:01 am

The Sword of the Rightful King by Jane Yolen. Its a VERY good book.
User avatar
Galabrien
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 9:08 pm
Top

Postby Nawyn » Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:42 pm

undomiel wrote:

I've read the Warlord Chronicles and I absolutely loved them. The characterization is amazing and the setting is very realistic to the actual time period when Arthur would have lived. I've never cared so much for the characters as I did in those books and Lancelot was evil! Yes! I highly recommend them.


I heartily second this! The Warlord Chronicles are my favorite Arthurian retelling, bar none. Total genius storytelling, brilliant reenvisioning of the characters - especially Lancelot, that evil prick! - and a breathtaking concept of the world Arthur lived in (if he lived, that is).

Another great Arthur series is Kevin Crossley-Holland's "Arthur" trilogy. These books center around a boy named Arthur in 1200s England whose life has a strange connection to the legends of King Arthur. It's quite marvelous, and not at all what you'd imagine from an "Arthur" retelling.
User avatar
Nawyn
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2003 6:21 pm
Top

Postby Galabrien » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:39 pm

Has anyone seen the movie King Arthur? I own it and found it to be actually more believable than any other retellings I have heard. But that's my opinion. The Dragons in Our Midst series is influenced by King Arthur. They are very good too.
User avatar
Galabrien
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 9:08 pm
Top

Kevin Crossley-Holland wrote a short book: The Fire Brother

Postby WithyWyrm » Fri Dec 09, 2005 7:40 pm

Gerald Morris's The Squire's Tale, etc. were humorous, magical and did justice to the legendary knights of Arthur's court. I would highly reccomend any of that series.

~WW
User avatar
WithyWyrm
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:56 am
Location: The Withywyndle
Top

Postby A_Simple_Poet » Mon Dec 12, 2005 8:38 pm

Ahem... :horse:

I had to give a Poetic perspective. I will encourage all of you to read the writings of the following, and do not let the format of ballad poetry dissuade you, because these were excellent Arthurian writings in the 19th century:

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote: The Idylls of the King, which contrasts many of the male/female relationships in the Arthurian mythos. One cannot also fail to mention his very famous poem: The Lady of Shalott.

Also read the poems by William Morris: A Defense of Guinevere (which portrays a defiant queen), and also King Arthur's Tomb

Also, A.C. Swinburne wrote a few Arthurian selections, but these are harder to find.
User avatar
A_Simple_Poet
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2402
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:07 pm
Location: At World's End
Top

Postby wolvercote » Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:33 pm

The Warlord Chronicles...'nuff said.
User avatar
wolvercote
Citizen of Imladris
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2002 6:27 am
Top

Postby greenleafwood » Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:59 pm

I hope no one minds me resurrecting this old thread.

I'm reading The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte at the moment, and I can recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy with a spot of history.

For anyone who has read the bookd, I have a question: I'm rereading book three The Eagles' Brood, and there is one unanswered quesstion: Did Uther really abuse Cassandra, and did he kill her in the end? I can't seem to be able to make up my mind over that.

I think in some parts of the world, The Camulod Chronicles is called A Dream of Eagles. I hope there are some Jack Whyte fans out there!

I tried reading Le Morte d'Arthur but gave up like twenty pages later.
User avatar
greenleafwood
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1882
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2002 3:03 pm
Top

Postby Bolg » Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:52 pm

Nawyn wrote:undomiel wrote:

I've read the Warlord Chronicles and I absolutely loved them. The characterization is amazing and the setting is very realistic to the actual time period when Arthur would have lived. I've never cared so much for the characters as I did in those books and Lancelot was evil! Yes! I highly recommend them.


I heartily second this! The Warlord Chronicles are my favorite Arthurian retelling, bar none. Total genius storytelling, brilliant reenvisioning of the characters - especially Lancelot, that evil prick! - and a breathtaking concept of the world Arthur lived in (if he lived, that is).


Ah ha ! An Arthur thread !

If you haven't read the Warlord Chronicles yet, Andurilwest, go out and get them. They are the only books I can read again and again, besides Middle-earth material, of course.

I discovered Cornwell back in the summer of 2006 when a friend passed away, it happened to be from the Saxon Chronicles, and I was somewhat mildly interested. After I grabbed The Winter King, I was wholly transported into dark age Britain.
User avatar
Bolg
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:03 pm
Location: Northeast U.S.A.
Top

Postby Dave_LF » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:59 pm

The Lawhead series starts well, but goes downhill toward the end of book two. I found #3 downright boring and never read #4. They are also explicitly Christian, and can be pretty preachy at times (all the "good" characters are or become Christians by the end). This could be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective.
User avatar
Dave_LF
Mariner

 
Posts: 7186
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 8:39 pm
Top

Postby PatriotBlade » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:50 pm

My mother's favorite was the Merlin Saga by Mary Stewart. It starts with THE CRISTAL CAVE, then THESE HOLLOW HILLS, and THE LAST ENCHANTMENT. These were the original trillogy, but she's now added a fourth volume, but I can't remember its title.

I always refused to read it because Mom told me that Nimuae was the "bad guy" but I grew up watching the mini series Merlin and didn't want to think about he that way, but a few weeks ago I found Crystal Cave at work(I work at a book store) and decided to read it. I LOVED it! I'm reading Once and Future King and Bourne Ultimattum right now, but the rest of the series was ordered and finally came in last week, I'll probably finish it soon.
User avatar
PatriotBlade
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4354
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2002 2:03 pm
Location: My own crazy, mixed up world.
Top

Postby Ignats75 » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:16 pm

For anyone who has read the bookd, I have a question: I'm rereading book three The Eagles' Brood , and there is one unanswered quesstion: Did Uther really abuse Cassandra, and did he kill her in the end? I can't seem to be able to make up my mind over that.

I think in some parts of the world, The Camulod Chronicles is called A Dream of Eagles . I hope there are some Jack Whyte fans out there!


I have read all the books and am curently re-reading them too. I love the post roman world that Jack Whyte has described.

The answer to your question is in the book Uther, and I don't want to spoil it.

[/quote]
User avatar
Ignats75
Petitioner to the Council
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2002 9:23 am
Top

Postby Lady_Niwella » Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:39 am

I read Mists of Avalon years and years ago and I still think it's one of the best books I've read and also one of the best Arhurian books.

I started reading Lawhead's books but for some reason I stopped when I had 3-4 c hapters left in the first book. I guess I should start again with that, it seems lika an interesting series.

And of course Mary Stewarts series, I loved those books!
User avatar
Lady_Niwella
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:13 am
Top

Postby greenleafwood » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:57 pm

Ignats75 wrote:

The answer to your question is in the book Uther, and I don't want to spoil it.


Oh yes, I thought about that sometime later that there might be spoilers!!! Thank you thank you thank you for not telling! Now I can't wait to explore the rest of the books. I'm on the last few pages of The Eagles' Brood so I think I can leave it now with a clear conscience. I thought I missed out on some crucial parts during the first reading.
By the way, do you know if The Lance Thrower is a separate book from the Camulod Chronicles?
User avatar
greenleafwood
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1882
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2002 3:03 pm
Top

Postby Ignats75 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:04 pm

There are two later books that deal more directly with Arthur that are "add-ons" to the Chronicals. I have never read them, but I understand that they are not anywhere near the quality of writing of the rest. The Lance Thrower is one of those.
User avatar
Ignats75
Petitioner to the Council
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2002 9:23 am
Top

Postby Ivriniel » Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:06 pm

Fea~*Mar~Vanwa~Tyalieva wrote:hi!
I've read Mists of Avalon, and it's really well written. Great descriptions, believable characters..... :) good book in quality I'd say.



I've never been able to get through Mists of Avalon..Though I've tried twice.

I've read the Lawhead books, and I have to agree that the third book of the series is rather preachy.

Ivriniel
User avatar
Ivriniel
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4357
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:16 pm
Location: Mississauga, Canada
Top

Postby portia » Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:06 pm

I also loved the Mary Stewart books and The Once and Future King.
I have purposely avoided the more "New Age" and fantasy oriented Arthurian books.

I have one comment about the TV show "Merlin", with Sam Neill: Calling the "Queen Mab" character the "queen of the old ways" is ridiculous. It sounds like they were afraid to call her whatever she would have called herself, for fear of offending Christians, but were too clumsy to think of a good substitute.
Last edited by portia on Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
portia
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 10841
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 9:57 pm
Location: Lost in the forest
Top

Postby Hunter » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:46 am

~

The Mary Stewart books about the Arthurian legend are my favorite. The fourth in the series (The Wicked Day) left a lasting impression. She wrote Mordred as a sympathetic character who supported Arthur instead of opposing him. The settings, actions and consequences of events were quite believable for a book written as historical fiction.

~
User avatar
Hunter
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2872
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2000 5:19 pm
Location: On the shores of Long Lake
Top

Postby andurilwest » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:15 am

Bump... thanks for the suggestions.

Now that I own several Arthur books, my thoughts:

All of these are set in/around the Early Medieval period, or "Dark Age".

- Pendragon Cycle (4 of 6) by Stephen Lawhead

Very good overall. I like the second (Merlin) and third (Arthur) the best. Pendragon (fourth) feels unnecessary.

- The Dragon Lord by David Drake

Good. The author is known for military fiction - great battle scenes and atmosphere; fairly memorable and "badass" characters; interesting twist on Arthur: Megalomaniac clubfoot - once unhorsed in battle, has to be saved by one of the leads

- The Camulod Chronicles (A Dream of Eagles) by Jack Whyte (1 of ?)

Fair... not as good as the others, for sure. The first book is more about Roman Britain than Arthurian characters.

- The Coming of the King by Nikolai Tolstoy

Dense. Some emphasis on magic/supernatural. Hard to get into (haven't read the entire thing), but awesome at points. Author is clearly erudite, and reminds me of Umberto Eco. He's actually directly related to Leo Tolstoy. It's set after Arthur is dead, and Merlin lives after him (what may have actually happened). A battle involving Maelgwn Gwynedd, Cynric of Wessex and Beowulf(!) is downright apocalyptic. Spoiler: Beowulf, fighting against the "Red Dragon" (Pendragon) of Britain, is killed by a "Greek fire" flamethrower siege engine. Neat!

- The Dragon and the Unicorn by A.A. Anastasio

Similar to Tolstoy but not as good. Very esoteric. Emphasis on magic. Skimmed for Arthurian parts.

- Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey

She of the Pern books, which I have not read. Original angle - the lead makes horseshoes for Arthur's horses and helps buy them. Highly personal point-of-view. Not much battle, focus on horse-tending.

- Sword of the Rightful King by Jane Yolen

More faithful to Malory, etc. though set in Dark Ages.

- The Last Legion by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Made into a very flawed (but still kind of fun) movie starring Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley. Perhaps most notable for its twists on the legends - Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Emipre, becomes Uther, Excalibur is Julius Caesar's sword.

- Merlin books by Mary Stewart

Faithful to Malory (not necessarily good). I don't like the first-person style in this case. The Wicked Day was better though her Arthurian universe is too depressing compared to, say, Lawhead's. Not much battle description overall.

***

I'm thinking of getting these books:

Firelord by Parke Godwin
Pendragon's Banner, etc. by Helen Hollick
Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff
Hawk of May, etc. by Gillian Bradshaw

Thoughts on these? Sword at Sunset is a must-read for "Arthurian historical fiction" readers, from what I read. I'm partial to historical detail and battle scenes. Will be getting Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles soon, hopefully.
User avatar
andurilwest
Ranger of the North
 
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2003 5:42 am
Top

Postby Mithfânion » Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:56 am

Well I really love the Stewart Merlin Trilogy. I also have time for the Lawhead books.

The major missing reads in your list are the two you suggest at the end. Let me alert you to the fact that The Sword at Sunset is finally reprinted in May in a nice trade paperback edition. Get that one rather than a used copy.

However the Warlord Chronicles by Cornwell are just fantastic. Especially if yoy felt disappointed by the lack of battles in the Merlin Trilogy ( which is a point I will conceed, but is easily defender by pointing out what Stewart did in the book itself, this tale is from Merlin's perspective and he's not in the battles like Arthur). The Warlord Chronicles are from the POV of Derfel Cadarn, a great warrior from Arthur's ranks.
User avatar
Mithfânion
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 11585
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2000 8:35 am
Top

Postby nazgurl » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:03 pm

I'm currently reading the Camulod Chronicles by Whyte and really enjoying them. And now that so many folks have recommended The Warlord Chronicles, I suppose I'll pick those up as well and give them a read.

Agree with others here in that I couldn't finish the Lawhead series. Just got boring.

Though I still love The Mists of Avalon and have since it was first released.
User avatar
nazgurl
Citizen of Imladris

 
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2000 10:47 am
Top

Postby portia » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:42 pm

Many of the books that are frankly fiction are enjoyable. However, sometimes someone who would like to be thought of as an historian comes along with some strange theory about Camelot being in Edinburgh, or something. Those I dislike.

I was acquainted with a woman who wrote a book like that. Not being an hstorian, I asked my d-i-l, who is, to look it over. She reacted to it as if it were something unpleasant she had stepped in, saying the research was beneath any sort of serious historian, and the conclusions were not supported even by the bad research. I think books like that pollute what little we do know of Arthurian times.
User avatar
portia
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 10841
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 9:57 pm
Location: Lost in the forest
Top

Postby merlyn » Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:12 am

portia wrote:Many of the books that are frankly fiction are enjoyable. However, sometimes someone who would like to be thought of as an historian comes along with some strange theory about Camelot being in Edinburgh, or something. Those I dislike.

I was acquainted with a woman who wrote a book like that. Not being an hstorian, I asked my d-i-l, who is, to look it over. She reacted to it as if it were something unpleasant she had stepped in, saying the research was beneath any sort of serious historian, and the conclusions were not supported even by the bad research. I think books like that pollute what little we do know of Arthurian times.


Norma Lorre Goodrich? Her books certainly fit the general description you just gave, and the "Camelot being in Edinburgh" fits her attempt to locate everything in the Arthurian cycle in southern Scotland.
User avatar
merlyn
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 5:36 am
Top

Postby portia » Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:47 pm

merlyn wrote:
portia wrote:Many of the books that are frankly fiction are enjoyable. However, sometimes someone who would like to be thought of as an historian comes along with some strange theory about Camelot being in Edinburgh, or something. Those I dislike.

I was acquainted with a woman who wrote a book like that. Not being an hstorian, I asked my d-i-l, who is, to look it over. She reacted to it as if it were something unpleasant she had stepped in, saying the research was beneath any sort of serious historian, and the conclusions were not supported even by the bad research. I think books like that pollute what little we do know of Arthurian times.


Norma Lorre Goodrich? Her books certainly fit the general description you just gave, and the "Camelot being in Edinburgh" fits her attempt to locate everything in the Arthurian cycle in southern Scotland.


Got it in one! Congratulations, I guess.
User avatar
portia
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 10841
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 9:57 pm
Location: Lost in the forest
Top

Next

Return to The Books (Other Authors)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest