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The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  9,835 ratings  ·  199 reviews
King Arthur is a legendary British leader who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early sixth century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians. The sparse historical background of Arthur ...more
Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Published June 28th 2004 by Public Domain Books (first published 1860)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  9,835 ratings  ·  199 reviews


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Sarah
Jul 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOBODY
Shelves: fantasy, dnf
I have this affliction. If I start a book, I HAVE to finish it. All my life, pretty much. I'm not sure I remember when I last (or ever) didn't finish a book. Until now.

All my knowledge of the Arthurian legends is hearsay or pop-culture interpretations, so when I bought a Kindle and saw all the classics I could get for free, I jumped right on this one as a chance to get some more "original" references to King Arthur in my cultural experiences. Oh, how I wish I hadn't bothered.

Firstly, the writing
...more
Robert
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is good to read one of the sources that inspired later renditions. I am depressed to hear some disrespecting the story because they have trouble with an older style of writting. Folks, this is the bedrock and foundation of the later tales which have been such a mine for later authors. (That is, grist for the mill.) This is that which inspired the later tales, if you can't see what inspired the authors of later ages, then perhaps you lack the deeper vision.
Chris
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was able to read this by myself so apparently I'm an 'advanced' reader. Take that, middle school accelerated reader tests!

Anyhow, when I was younger I really liked this book. Exciting fights, quests to save princesses, rescuing villages from giants, etc. It was a lot of fun.

Now that I'm older it seems more like the story of a bunch of sociopaths wandering the countryside and picking fights with each other because their 'honor' demands it.

Okay, that's an exaggeration. The cannibalistic giants n
...more
Andrew Obrigewitsch
I'm going to be charitable and give this 2 stars. These stories may have been entertaining 400 years ago, but literature has greatly advanced, and societally has advanced from being mostly illiterate to highly literate.

These stories may be fun to read one a night to your kids, but when done rapidly they wear on one, the characters have no personality and the action consists of sentence after sentence of who smote who with their sword, and then at the end a helm gets cleaved in two, rinse repeat
...more
Dejanira Dawn
I'm going to go back through this and find all the parts where the women were killed because men love their pride.

Other than that it was a great read/listen!
Althea Ann
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended for fans of Arthurian lore.

Inspired by the 19th century popularity of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (the introduction makes much of the author’s friendship with Tennyson), this retelling is based on Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. I grew up on the Malory edition edited by Pollard (with Arthur Rackham’s wonderful illustrations), so these two books ought to be quite similar. Are they? Hmm. I haven’t read my old book in a while – though it’s now available free from archive.org: http
...more
Gastjäle
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 / 5.0

I acknowledge that in the modern world, the tales of valour and woe must needs be filled with passing wondrous tales and finely-devised quests to set the bedside traveller a-galloping into the vast forests of his fancy. The coursers rush on with might and main and fall dead under the rider yet the spirit of the quest keeps the bookish knight athirst for more. But woe betide the Man who expecteth mountains of gold to maintain their goodly promises of fortune forevermore. Like the apparit
...more
Aly
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
Taking into account that this was written a long time ago, this was a pretty good book. I will say it was a lot of telling instead of showing. Arthur and Merlin were a tad disappointing to me as well as a lot of the other knights. I wish I would of seen more depth into Arthur's court and such. The second half of the book was really good and I found myself really eager to read it.
Duncan
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story itself is pretty dull: fight a battle, do great deeds, slay the enemy, rescue a damsel or escape from an evil sorceress, fight another battle, do great deeds, slay the enemy, go hunting or jousting, fight another battle...

There's little character development. The men are pretty much all brave and heroic and little more, and the women are virtually all either fair maidens in need of rescue or enchantresses trying to do something awful. The story doesn't really develop either. Arthur bec
...more
Ellen Trautner
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
This took me awhile to read because it was my bedtime reading book, and it kept putting me to sleep! More than normal reading does, that is. The whole first half of the book was boringly repetitive, if it was just that, it would have only earned 2 stars from me. The second half picked up, thankfully, and was a much quicker read. It was more what I expected.

I chose to read this because I am very unfamiliar with the Camelot story. I've seen Monty Python... and that's about it. Never read any more
...more
Lisa
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think this material is much better handled by filmmakers and TV producers than lowly readers like myself. I had trouble with the language, and it was not helped by the fact that this kindle edition was sloppy, with many repeats and restarts. I like the underlying adventure, but the writing was far too ornate for my taste.
Paul Lovell
What a disappointing read. Basically what was said in chapter one was rehashed and regurgitated over and over again throughout the book. Read like a list, he said she said. I only finished it because I wanted to see if ANYTHING other than Good Cheer and Smiting went on... It didn't.
Gaile
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven't read this, you're a loser, You won't understand our culture, the underlying myths and legends in Literature. You may as well be an outcast!
Barb Middleton
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Harumph. I didn't expect that. I've read so many books based on the Arthurian legend that I thought it would be a sword and sorcery fantasy plot with the character development of King Arthur. Scrap that thought. Character development takes a back seat to a series of chain-linked mini adventures connected to the knights of the Round Table fighting battles or single combats. King Arthur is hardly even in it. Or Merlin for that matter. The sword and the stone, the quest for the Holy Grail, and the ...more
Charly Troff (ReaderTurnedWriter)
Having watched Merlin, reading the originals was something I was really interested in. Overall, it was a little interesting, though mostly disappointing.

I found the writing itself to be easy to understand and read. The stories were a mixed bag, some were fairly interesting and others were very boring to me (knights killing other knights for no good reason, etc). The end was depressing but not surprising (it's pretty famous and I knew what to expect).

The main problem I had with the book was tha
...more
Fr. Daniel Carr
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
I was unfortunately disappointed with this collection of stories. I can appreciate the attempt to render a tale of these classic figures with accuracy, but the genre and style seemed so rambling and dry that it ruined much of the magic. It seemed fixated on telling assorted tales one after another without much character or plot development. Also, we see a clearly simple anthropology - man and woman are stereotypes and good and evil look a certain way.

One thing I did appreciate was the clear conn
...more
Ben Hilburn
Jun 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
I've always wanted to read the King Arthur tales, and this appeared to be the "real original" set of stories, passed down hundreds of years ago and finally recorded for posterity.

Unfortunately, I have this problem where once I start a book I feel like I have to finish it, even if it's killing me. These stories are atrocious.

The one lesson from this book is that if anyone ever complains that "chivalry is dead" or wishes for the return of "chivalry", they have clearly never read this book. Apparen
...more
David
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-book, classics
James Knowle's retelling of the classic stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table, taking in Arthur's birth and upbringing, the Sword in the Stone, Merlin, Excalibur, the Green Knight, the Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot and Guineveire, the Quest for the Holy Grail and even Arthur's final battle and (supposed) death.

As such, it covers pretty much all the bases - it's just a pity that the prose itself isn't really all that engaging. For a better take on the same subject matte
...more
Brittani Ivan
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
The lengths to which this would go to avoid the more unsavoury bits of Arthurian Literature were hilarious. This is definitely an abridgment meant for children, but it retains much of the spirit of the original tales it compresses (although, as one commenter noted, his abridgment has lost some of the thematic depth that prevents the knights from always coming across as murderous psychopaths). I would recommend it to other readers of Arturian literature and to scholars of the Victorian age, as it ...more
Glenn
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Yes, it is somewhat monotonous, and yes the characters are very simple, however this is literature that is six hundred years old based on legends nine hundred years older than that. You have to take it for what it is. If you are at all interested in Arthurian legends and modern interpretations, you should read this, or at least the beginning and end of it.
Rina
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an awesome series! I just loved it. There are many things about elves, faeries, enchanted creatures, and even romance. This was totally the kind of book that I like, as I love things about the medieval times.
Morgan Frey
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-folklore
Can anyone recommend to me an un-Christianised version of King Arthur? If he was real, he's dated just before the arrival of Christianity and in any case, I highly doubt he conquered Rome *eye roll*
Shaun Dyer
Aug 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, is a collection of folk tales about the exploits of the eponymous King and his knights; mostly his knights. All the hits are here including the lady in the lake, the sword in the stone and the hunt for the holy grail. Unfortunately, like a Aqua greatest hits album, the hits soon give way to a bunch of tepid, repetitive filler.

The writing style is archaic which makes it a difficult read in parts, but what really hampers the book is not the fact that it
...more
Rocky Sunico
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this book because of our on-going Pendragon campaign and admittedly I was a little surprised. Sure, this is a highly Christian-slanted spin to the legends but on the whole our "modern" understanding of Arthurian mythology based on popular media is rather far from how some of these stories have been told over the years.

A key difference lies in defining what exactly was the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot as more recent movies have glamorized this to the point of heightening the
...more
Roberta
So I had to stop reading this book because it was driving me crazy! I rarely give up on a book.

At one point, Arthur slew a giant (um, like David and Goliath...?)
At another point, Arthur and his knights traveled to Rome where he was crowned Emperor and all of Rome--citizens, legions, Senators, and the current Emperor were all thrilled to acknowledge him as their supreme leader (must have missed that in the history books).

And then there were the descriptions of the knights -- who struck their op
...more
Kathy
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this added anything to the original tales of Arthur (Sir Thomas Malory). The intention seems to have been to organize the tales into a more fluid assembly. That may be, but the Kindle edition was not near as much fun as a kid's book of Arthur that I have. Illustrations were lacking, so the whole thing, although easy to read, became a tedious list of which knight killed which other. A whole lot of jousting and shattering of spears, followed by a whole lot of sword play where many we ...more
Rachel Lankester
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Being a fan of Arthurian Legend I thought I would read this book to give me more of an insight into the actual stories, rather than limiting my view to just that of the media! However I really had to force myself to read it as it was particularly dull and difficult to follow, no doubt due to the understandably incredibly old writing style. I enjoyed some aspects that I was previously more familiar with, such as the sword in the stone, the round table, Guinevere and Lancelot, Merlin and the Lady ...more
Piers
Jul 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was curious about the Arthurian legends, and I wasn't sure I wanted to take on Thomas Malory's 'Le Mort d'Arthur' on the back of quite a few heavy books recently. So instead I tried Knowles' victorian abridged version, only to have to wade through a child's stream-of-consciousness while having a chivalry based magical fever dream.

It sort of satisfied my interest in the broad strokes, but it's really poor as something for an adult to read. At some point I might give Malory a go. But not for a w
...more
Jdy Lewis
A seemingly historically early version of the Arthur tales. Details are sparse, and knights go out and challenge each other to fight - - sometimes just to prove who's the mightiest. Lots of blood and cleft helms.

The language is a little off-putting to me. It is not hard to understand, but you're never able to immerse in the story and forget you're listening to a narrative.

Frankly, I think The Once and Future King by T. H. White is a better book. Nevertheless, this one did draw me on to see what
...more
Rob
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. An incredible collection of short stories about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Each one different and imaginative set in the historical setting of England. I was somewhat familiar with the main lore of King Arthur and Sir Lancelot but wasn't aware of the wealth of stories regarding the other knights and their adventures. Those additional stories were equally great and fantastic as they covered different escapades for those other knights that were part of the lore.
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Sir James Knowles was an English architect and editor.

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