Joan's Reviews > The Sword And The Circle: King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table

The Sword And The Circle by Rosemary Sutcliff
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's review
Nov 12, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, historical-fiction, j-books, 5-6-fiction
Recommended for: folktale lovers, Sutcliff fans
Read from January 01, 2007 to November 10, 2011

I'll state upfront that one of my shelves does not really fit this title: historical fiction. However, it is the closest I have since I don't believe I read a lot of folk tales/lore type book. I'll add this shelf if I begin to notice this statement isn't true! I have always deeply admired Sutcliff. However, I was fairly disturbed after finishing Tristan and Iseult at how sexist the book was and started this one with some apprehension. However, it was never really an issue since the women are mostly off stage in this book. Sutcliff was careful to note what were her sources for her various retellings of the King Arthur legend. Why only three stars? Well, some isn't really Sutcliff's fault. I have always been impatient with Merlin for simply going along with his fate instead of doing something about it. OK, this way he will be around for when Arthur comes back, but still, I find it annoyingly passive. The stories just didn't grab me enough to make me feel this was worth more stars. Arthur comes across as a slightly petulant character who seems to rely on Merlin to do everything. His adopted brother Sir Kay, is a brat, but that is also acknowledged by pretty much everyone including Arthur. To be fair, Sutcliff's worst is probably better than many author's best writing. And I found this much better than Tristan. Nonetheless, I'm giving this only 3 stars.

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