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The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  10,246 ratings  ·  217 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  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,246 ratings  ·  217 reviews


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Sarah
Jul 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOBODY
Shelves: dnf, fantasy
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. ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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!
...more
Brett Hall
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
Everyone in the book is such a dummy
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.
...more
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
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
Ellen
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. ...more
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* ...more
Julia
Oct 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Honestly, these knights bring dishonour upon themselves. Wherever they go they fight first, and ask questions later...most of this book a knight comes upon another knight and they do battle. And then they realize they know eachtother...and then they show their respect for each other and stop battling. I mean come on. Most of the battles ended this way, it's so stupid. Knights! Am I right? There was this one part where two Knights were fighting in favour of a lady (of course one of them was stupi ...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
M Barnes
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I went from being mildly interested to profoundly bored to disturbed and intrigued (the quest for the Holy Grail honestly gave me horror vibes) to confused. A wild ride to be certain.
Laurel Masaid
Feb 08, 2021 rated it did not like it
I’ve always been very into Arthurian Legend, but I did not enjoy this at all. Almost all the stories were the same, they were all stories of mistaken identity and killing someone who shouldn’t have been killed or killing someone to avenge another killing. Kill kill kill. I definitely prefer a more modern telling of the stories and more depth to the characters other than I am man, I kill, I am best knight in the world.
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
David
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics, e-book
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.
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! ...more
Laurence
Aug 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Chapter breakdown:
01 - The Prophecies of Merlin and The Birth of Arthur
02 - The Sword and Stone, Coronation, Excalibur, War with the Eleven Kings
03 - The Adventure of the Questing Beast — King Arthur drives the Saxons from the Realm — The Battles of Celidon Forest and Badon Hill
04 - King Arthur Conquers Ireland and Norway, Slays the Giant of St. Michael's Mount, and Conquers Gaul , The Adventures of Sir Balin
05 - Sir Balin Smites the Dolorous Stroke, and Fights with his Brother, Sir Balan
06 - Th
...more
Rob
Apr 06, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So like pretty much every 11th grade student in the state of Michigan, I had to read the story "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" at some point. I remember reading it, and watching cartoons like Justice League and Gargoyles (who had elements borrowed from these stories) and thinking "Okay, I wonder what other fantastical adventures King Arthur had other than just these two stories I've heard of? So I can finally say now that I know of them, sort of.

I have to admit, I feel a bit let down. I made
...more
Gabriel Groen
May 20, 2021 rated it did not like it
Not a great read. Reads like the Bible. A Wikipedia-like telling of events, but with old language (they use the word "anon" and "smote" about 1000 times). I read this as a first introduction to Arthurian legend (apart from what anyone might glean from cultural references in general). I probably should have just read Wikipedia articles instead of this, though.

It might be more enjoyable if studied as part of a class in order to give context to the people, morals, and real-world history that affect
...more
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
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Sir James Knowles was an English architect and editor.

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There's something so special about each class of debut YA authors; after all, young adult fiction is all about the hopefulness of new...
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“Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England. Then the people marvelled, and told it to the Archbishop. I command, said the Archbishop, that ye keep you within your church and pray unto God still, that no man touch the sword till the high mass be all done. So when all masses were done all the lords went to behold the stone and the sword. And when they saw the scripture some assayed, such as would have been king. But none might stir the sword nor move it. He is not here, said the Archbishop, that shall achieve the sword, but doubt not God will make him known.” 12 likes
“Now, said Sir Ector to Arthur, I understand ye must be king of this land. Wherefore I, said Arthur, and for what cause? Sir, said Ector, for God will have it so; for there should never man have drawn out this sword, but he that shall be rightwise king of this land” 12 likes
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