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The Seeing Stone

(Arthur Trilogy #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  4,596 ratings  ·  300 reviews
The year is 1199, the place the Welsh Marches. Young Arthur de Caldicot practises his tilting and archery, learns to be a dutiful page to his father, and waits impatiently to grow up and become a knight. One day his father's friend Merlin gives him a shining black stone. When Arthur starts to see stories in the stone, his life quickly becomes entwined with that of his name ...more
Paperback, 13th reprint, 338 pages
Published 2004 by Orion Children's Books (first published 2000)
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,596 ratings  ·  300 reviews

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Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children and adults over 10
Recommended to Gary by: The Folio Society
I started off not knowing if I was going to like this book or not. I had not read a children’s book for a while and knowing pretty much what happens to young Arthur (doesn’t everyone?) I wasn’t about to be bowled over in surprise.

What happened was that as I read I began to enjoy the story for what it is – a story for children AND adults, one where the author has used his imagination and obvious knowledge of Mediaeval life to expand on the basic Arthur tale and make it a much more interesting boo
I stalled partway through reading this, at first, because I really couldn't see where it was going and how the threads of story were going to get pulled together. I still can't quite see that, now I've finished it, but I'm now at the point of very much wanting to find out where Kevin Crossley-Holland is going with this.

It's very easy to read, with short chapters and a way of painting the world of the narrative vividly without dwelling too much on details. The cold and dirt and discomfort are the
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who likes travelling back in time
I can't express how much I loved this trilogy. It tells two stories - one about a young boy named Arthur, son of a lord during the medieval period. The second is the story of King Arthur, told through a magic seeing stone.

Personally, the King Arthur bits felt a bit pointless and I didn't enjoy reading them. The real interest really is going back into a well researched time and world and becoming a part of young Arthur's family and life.

The thing I love about books is their ability to take you so
Mr. Gottshalk
Read this one on the train to New York and back. It's Ok. My knowledge of the Legend of King Arthur was rusty since watching Disney's The Sword in the Stone about 30 years ago. The chapters are very short and there is a lot of unnecessary dialogue, not to mention I could tell where the story was going 300 pages from the end. There were still scenes that left images in my mind, and that's what a good author does, after all. I might read the second and third books in the trilogy. But for my my mon ...more
Brigid ✩
A friend gave this book to me like a year ago and then I found it recently and decided to read it on a super long bus ride. It was a pretty quick read and entertaining even though I'm not an expert on Arthurian legend ... It held my attention most of the time and I did like it. But I don't know, it seemed to be missing something. It was written in a diary format which I always makes me feel kind of distant from the story/characters because it's just kind of like, "Today this thing happened and t ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it liked it
The story is set in medieval times, in 1199. It’s a story about a young boy called Arthur, that truly wants to be knight. One day he gets a magical stone from his fathers friend called Merlin. This magical stone takes Arthur in another world, the world where King Arthur lives. Arthur founds out that his life is little bit similar with the king, what a coincidence!

The story was so much fun to read. You really get to know Arthur and also his family. You get to love and hate some of them. The autho
Apr 12, 2015 added it
Shelves: a-shelf
Merlin is a very wise person, and this book is worth reading just for a bit of his insight. He gets in conversations with some interesting people, like a priest who seems not to follow his own religion, and other people who were strangely foolish in the olden days. I wish there were more books about Merlin's life, perhaps he kept to himself too much for anyone to get enough information on him for a satisfying amount of appearances in a story. That's a pity; he is the only interesting character. ...more
Rosemary Atwell
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
An engrossing tale - part myth, part social history - meticulously researched and engagingly written, 'Arthur: The Seeing Stone' is perfect escapism for anyone interested in medieval life and the Arthurian legend. I've been wanting to read this trilogy for a while and it doesn't disappoint.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this tale of 12th Century Britain and the ongoing power of Arthurian legends -- until I reached the end. The ending did not work for me. I know it's a trilogy and you're supposed to go on and read the other two books, but I prefer trilogy authors who ensure that each book stands alone (Philip Pullman, JRR Tolkein). The novel is very good on historical details, and the obsidian stone that gradually reveals to Arthur his parallel 5th Century life is effective, but I have no interest in f ...more
Amber Scaife
A young Arthur living at the end of the twelfth century in England is given an obsidian stone by his father's friend, Merlin. In the stone, he sees the life of another, older Arthur, and their two lives are strangely similar.
Meh. I couldn't get into this one much, although in general it was an okay read. I don't see the point of the link between the two Arthurs and that irritated me and spoiled the book for me a bit.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
So excited to finally remember the name of this book - this series was my obsession in 7th grade and I stayed up way to late at night reading these. Thank you to the awesome teen who reminded me about it!
Kathleen Dixon
What an interesting take on the Arthur legend. Set in the Middle Ages, with Richard the Lionheart dying and John taking the throne, a boy called Arthur is befriended by a man called Merlin. Merlin gives him one day a Seeing Stone, though he doesn't tell him what it is or what it does. He does tell him not to ever show it to anyone or even talk about it. And gradually, in the stone, Arthur begins seeing the story of the famous Arthur - the story of his conception, childhood (minimally) and then t ...more
Anne Hamilton
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Through a diary-like story, we glimpse fragments life in the Middle Ages just as Arthur himself glimpses fragments of a much earlier age through an obsidian stone. A 'fire and ice' stone, pocked with white marks, heavy with the past.

It's the turn of the century - the last year of the twelfth century, 1199, is giving away to the dawn of the thirteenth. It's an age of faith, of Crusades, of feudal hierarchy. It's a time when the rule of King John is just beginning.

Arthur de Caldicott lives in a ca
Nukman Salimin
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I personally like books set in the past, so when I saw the cover and read the blurb at the back, I knew this book would be interesting and full of unexpected things going to happen along the way.

When I read the first 30 chapters, I didn't know where this was going. First there was the bullfight, then about three jumpers who broke into the manor, then a seeing stone. I don't know how all these related with each other.

Throughout the book, I realized that the book was written in a journal format, b
Kirsten Simkiss
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This book is exceedingly slow and simple. It follows the story of a boy named Arthur who may or may not be destined to be a king. The ending really implies you need to read the next book to see what happens to Arthur, with no real overarching conflict in the first novel. This book as a standalone is more about the daily life of the son of a lord in the year 1199 as told from the perspective of a boy named Arthur. It isn't, after all, about a boy who is in fact a young King Arthur - at least not ...more
Judith Johnson
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As I've got older and find more and more books I want to read, I've always reserved some space on my Book Pile (tottering as it is!) for new children's literature. In my last job there was a superb library with an exemplary librarian, blessed with a generous budget, so there was always an exciting shelf on the library counter with New Books displayed on it. That's how I came to discover the joys of Kevin Crossley-Holland's marvellous Arthur trilogy, starting with The Seeing Stone, later followed ...more
Ashley Thacker
Arthur, living during the turn of the 13th century, dreams of one thing: to become a squire and, eventually, a knight. Until now, however, his father hasn't allowed himself the opportunity. Then one day an old friend named Merlin (yes, that Merlin) give him a stone he calls a seeing stone and tells him to keep it secret. Through the stone, Arthur watches the story of King Arthur unfold, and quickly draws parallels to his daily life in the struggles he has with his own brother, his family, his fr ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
I love Arthurian books and will read most any one that I come in contact with out of curiosity if nothing more. This one sounded interesting so I picked it up at the library and took it home. Very quickly I was pretty horrified by what I found. This book to me read like it was geared to younger readers, the kids who read all the Harry Potter books before they were ten, or the Percy Jackson books or fans of the show Merlin, (which is a great show by the way, if you don't know what it is do your ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Seeing Stone is a story that I feel like I can’t even give a detailed review for. I thought the book was alright. The book was set like a diary where Arthur pretty much just tells recaps of his day. This proved to not be very entertaining as nothing of interest to me ever seemed to happen. Personally I am not the biggest fan of medieval elements, not to say I don’t like them. The plot felt bland and that bits of these were tossed in to try and make it a better read. Despite all of my critiqu ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
A book for kids, elementary until middle school age readers. I loved the fact that it was a take on King Arthur's stories and that it also included Merlin. There was also a fair proportion of magic and adventure in it. What I didn't like was the fact that it's supposed to be written like a journal, but it doesn't look like a journal at all. The chapters have no dates or titles or anything, and some of them look like totally separated journal entries. There were also these flash-backs that confus ...more
I don't know how someone could make me dislike something I LOVE (King Arthur stories)but this author did just that. If you are interested in learning about medieval life, then you might enjoy it because it's mostly about the one family's daily life. It was a bit too much gruesome detail for me. Merlin was the most interesting character, but he only makes an appearance here and there in the first part. It may get better and we may get get more of the Arthur legend in parts 2 and 3, but I'm not wi ...more
Jun 16, 2008 added it
this book is about a young child who is in search of himself. from his childhood he has received many trainning by his teachers but however, he hasn't the skills to be a full fledged knight. until the day he pulled out the sword from the stone.

what i learned from the first sequal would be that nobody who you are, there is always something special about you. like Arthur, he was a very small child with no special talent at all, however he was able to pull out that sword from the stone that no othe
Loved the concept, hated the style. Probably the most interesting bits to me were the details of English medieval life - the guisers on Hallowe'en, the manor court, the Christmas celebration, the remedies for illness and injury. Arthur himself was not particularly engaging, and the parallel stories ought to have appealed to me but didn't. As Arthuriana it falls far short, and as a YA story about a medieval boy it moves too slowly. Not inclined to pick up the rest of the trilogy.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was quite good. At the beginning I hated it and by the end it was ok. I liked the idea of the story recreating King Arthur’s legend. We get to see a lot of Arthur’s life in the middle ages so the visions make it more interesting. Although there are some moments of confusion, the research done by the author to find all the information needed to recreate a middle ages life is very good.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in the Welsh Marches in 1199, this is the story of 13 year old Arthur who lives on the family manor. His mentor gives him an obsidian ‘seeing stone’ and in it, he can see events dating back to time of King Uther and the birth of the original Arthur, scenes that he has to work the meaning from and how they are going to affect his future life. A very enjoyable novel aimed at young teens.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
At the start of the book I wasn't hooked. I thought it looked interesting so I bought it. There wasn't much excitement at the start and I didn't see where it was going. Eventually though, it got better, not the best but better. And after reading the end I'm willing to read the next book of the trilogy.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I think this book started VERY boring but it got better as I read on. It's not my favourite book in the world but it's not my least favourite either. I like how Kevin tied the visions into the story with similar events until at the end... I won't say because you might want to read the book!
Nov 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book was really lame, as it seemed like a chore to finish it. There is no action whatsoever. If you are reading this, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. You will probably fall asleep by the time you reach the halfway point...
Luke Michaelis
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Arthur the Seeing Stone" is a book following the life of King Arthur, through the main character Arthur De Caldicot. "The Seeing Stone" gives a powerful insight into what life was like in 1199. That year was a time full of secrets and superstition. Young Arthur wishes to become knight. With the help of the seeing stone (a black rock given to Arthur from Merlin), Arthur learns what it means to be a nobleman. "The Seeing Stone" set a tone that the reader can feel. Textbooks are unable to set an a ...more
Panther Library
Narrator and king-to-be Arthur is 13-years-old. But he writes and talks as if he’s Homer. The result is sophisticated and fun folklore for any reader savvy enough to follow along. Arthur’s age and experiences make it reasonable to consider this a young adult novel, but it’s a lot tougher for me to pinpoint a best audience, young adult or otherwise.

Crossley-Holland takes a very complicated route to revisit Arthur’s legend and real-life coming of age. A lot of the early scenes are half-revealed a
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Kevin Crossley-Holland is a well-known poet and prize-winning author for children. His books include Waterslain Angels, a detective story set in north Norfolk in 1955, and Moored Man: A Cycle of North Norfolk Poems; Gatty's Tale, a medieval pilgrimage novel; and the Arthur trilogy (The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing-Places and King of the Middle March), which combines historical fiction with the re ...more

Other books in the series

Arthur Trilogy (3 books)
  • At the Crossing Places
  • King of the Middle March
“That's where the raiders would come from, and where Wales begins. That's where the world starts to turn blue.” 1 likes
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