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Best Arthurian Fiction

The best of Arthurian literature.
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445 books · 1,473 voters · list created June 26th, 2008 by Rora.
447 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Amitha 1230 books
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Heather 1515 books
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Wealhtheow 4577 books
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Kelly 2243 books
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Heather 857 books
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Karen 1160 books
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Jon 2922 books
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Marie 2439 books
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Comments Showing 1-35 of 35 (35 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark I'm suprised you've left out the Bernard Cornwell series


message 2: by Rora (new)

Rora Feel free to add to the list Mark.


message 3: by Ellen (new)

Ellen You left the Bernard Cornwell series which is pretty decent series, and one i enjoyed reading.


message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Carpinello I just added my middle grade book Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend to this list. It tells the story of Guinevere in her last year of childhood, when she meets Arthur for the first time. Although she doesn't want to, she has to grow up. I hope readers will take a look at it and vote for it.
Cheryl Carpinello


message 5: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Why are stories about Tristan and Isolde included on this list? (I really want to know, please.)

I've always considered their story/myth to be entirely separate from the myth of Arthur.


message 6: by Shannon (new)

Shannon May Earth RiseCrimson FireCry of SorrowNight Birds' Reign
Absolutely beautiful series on Guinevere, and King Arthur


message 7: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit
Yet another great book on Guinevere, and King Arthur


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The form to add books to the list is at the right-hand side of the page.


message 9: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix Lest anyone be misled, a couple of books I added, Last Call and The Drawing of the Dark, both by Tim Powers, are Arthurian, but they take place a long time after the classic Matter of Britain.


message 10: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Carpinello Xenophon wrote: "Lest anyone be misled, a couple of books I added, Last Call and The Drawing of the Dark, both by Tim Powers, are Arthurian, but they take place a long time after the classic Matter of Britain."
I've not heard of these, but I will check them out. Thanks for the notice.
Cheryl Carpinello
author of Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend


message 11: by Sunsprout (new)

Sunsprout Does anyone else but me find it funny that Le Morte d' Arthur is so far down on the list... because (I am fairly certain) the story is the oldest about Arthur?


message 12: by Cheryl (last edited Sep 29, 2010 07:06PM) (new)

Cheryl Carpinello I don't know how the books get ranked on this list. Maybe it is popularity.


message 13: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix There is stuff older than Le Morte d' Arthur. Good ol' Wikipedia has some examples. Personally, I find Malory to be boring reading. It's too bad that Steinbeck never finished his retelling. What he did finish is pretty fine.

As for how books are listed, it is number of voters times their average rank, basically.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Cheryl wrote: "I don't know how the books get ranked on this list. Maybe it is popularity."

Yes, it's popularity.


message 15: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca Not sure if this would count, or not, but Shades of Gray (Sholan Alliance #8) by Lisanne Norman has some heavy Arthurian references. Essentially a character is a reincarnation of King Arthur, so you get flashbacks to his early memories, and you see parallels in his current life.

Great series.


message 16: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Haven't read most of these but Jack Whyte's series is incredible and well written...His knowledge of that era is amazing. The books get better and better as they progress. The first was not me fav but very good just the say.:)


message 17: by Wonderly (new)

Wonderly Take a look at a new YA King Arthur story My Boyfriend Merlin


message 18: by Jobiska (Cindy) (new)

Jobiska (Cindy) This is a great list, but now I have too many things to read! But: Arthur [the aardvark] goes to camp? Heh.


message 19: by Kevin (last edited Jun 02, 2012 04:47PM) (new)

Kevin K I finished #32 "The Road to Avalon" today. This version of the King Arthur story is much different from the classic tale, but I found it immensely enjoyable. The main characters are all well-developed; their interactions are moving. Also, Wolf's descriptions of the dialog, settings, and battle scenes are excellent. It's one amazing, complete King Arthur story to remember.


message 20: by Jobiska (Cindy) (new)

Jobiska (Cindy) The ranking is supposed to be popularity, but I have so many books that when I go through a list I just find myself clicking the ones I have in the order they show up, and then it's really difficult to reorder by my own preferences!


message 21: by Kim (new)

Kim Kevin wrote: "I finished #32 "The Road to Avalon" today. This version of the King Arthur story is much different from the classic tale, but I found it immensely enjoyable. The main characters are all well-develo..."

I hear you! Road to Avalon is perhaps one of my favorite Arthurian renditions ever! :)


message 22: by Kevin (new)

Kevin K




message 23: by Kevin (new)

Kevin K I did enjoy Joan Wolf's "The Road to Avalon" a lot. It's a complete version of the King Arthur story. It has a very "Roman" feel to it, which I got into.... Now, over my winter break (I'm a college English teacher) I read Nancy McKenzie's "Queen of Camelot," which is actually two of her earlier books ("The Child Queen" and "The High Queen") combined into one. I loved it! I read this 600+ page Arthurian novel in about 8 days! This is also a complete version of the Arthur story but all from Guinevere's perspective. As a longer story, we get deeper into the wonderful characters of Guinevere, Arthur, Lancelot, etc. These characters are so well-developed and fascinating. And MCKenzie's Arthur holds his deep friendships and kingdom together, through the daunting challenges and crises, with a calm kind of beautiful strength and grace.


message 24: by Ron (new)

Ron Towsend I read 55 of the books listed between 1980 and 2000. Why don't you include the Arthurian Encyclopedia and the Mammoth Merlin and Arthur as well as the two Pendragon chronicles issued during this time period?
Some of trhe books I read multiple time, but it is only myth after all, but what's wrong with myth?


message 25: by J.P. (new)

J.P. Reedman I am afraid Mist of Avalons leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. Very 80's new age...though well written enough to convince a whole crowd of people that ancient Britain really was full of matriarchal societies worshipping 'the Great Goddess' in peace and love and harmony.(How many books have I seen touting the same tripe later on--too many!) As a fantasy it's ok, but her history and anthropology is deeply suspect to anyone who has a knowledge of this period or the earlier periods referred to.Cornwell is far more realistic, and so is Parke Godwin (even with his over-anthropologised Little Dark People...but at least they weren't 'fluffy bunnies'!)


message 26: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Carpinello J.P. wrote: "I am afraid Mist of Avalons leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. Very 80's new age...though well written enough to convince a whole crowd of people that ancient Britain really was full of matriarc..."

Hi J.P. I agree with you on some points especially 'the Great Goddess.' For the most part, I just enjoyed the story. I like reading all the different interpretations of the Arthur Legend. I find it fascinating. Have you read much of the current fiction out there based on King Arthur? Several are set in today's world. One I can think of is Stephen Lawhead's "Avalon: The Return of King Arthur." I marvel at the magnetic pull the Legend has for all ages and generations!

One of my favorite more modern stories is Deepak Chopra's "The Return of Merlin." I would recommend it if you haven't already read it.


message 27: by Linda (new)

Linda Sunsprout wrote: "Does anyone else but me find it funny that Le Morte d' Arthur is so far down on the list... because (I am fairly certain) the story is the oldest about Arthur?"
I dont find it funny at all. It may be one of the oldest, however that doesn't necessarily make it one of the favourites/best, which is probably why it's so far down the list.


message 28: by Claudia (new)

Claudia Putnam Victor Canning, The Crimson Chalice


message 29: by Claudia (new)

Claudia Putnam Linda wrote: "Sunsprout wrote: "Does anyone else but me find it funny that Le Morte d' Arthur is so far down on the list... because (I am fairly certain) the story is the oldest about Arthur?"
I dont find it fun..."


It's not the oldest.


message 30: by blueemerald (new)

blueemerald Greetings~
I am an Arthurian freak. There I said it...

I just finished putting together a lengthy Arthurian Reading List including sections fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, mystery, graphic, short story collections, YA with additional sections of series versus singles. Wanted to put it out there in hopes it might identify some fun, new Arthurian reading!

http://1mpages.com/ArthurianLiteratur...


message 31: by Al (new)

Al Kimel The Pendragon by Catherine Christian


message 32: by Apricot09 (new)

Apricot09 Carolyn wrote: "Why are stories about Tristan and Isolde included on this list? (I really want to know, please.)

I've always considered their story/myth to be entirely separate from the myth of Arthur."


-Because Sir Tristan was a Knight of the Round Table. Originally, the Tristan legend had nothing to do with King Arthur, but shortly after the Vulgate Cycle (or Lancelot-Grail cycle) in c. 1235, the Prose Tristan, the hero had joined the fellowship of the Round Table.
It predated and influenced the Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere.


message 33: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 15, 2015 08:56AM) (new)

One early mention of Arthur in a book was in The History of the Kings of Britain (original title : Historia Regum Britanniae) and in The Life of Merlin, Vita Merlini. Though you can get some even older sources like History of the Britons or The Poems of Taliesin.

Then Roman de Brut appeared. It is similar to The History of the Kings of Britain but with some modification to suit the author's agenda.
Which inspired Chrétien de Troyes who was the first to write stories specifically about the arthurian legends. Parzival and Lanzelet were written around the same period.

Robert de Boron then wrote three books (Joseph d’Arimathie, Merlin, Perceval) that you can find in Merlin and the Grail: The Trilogy of Arthurian Prose Romances. He is the guy who christianised the story.

From there you get a bunch of anonymous french authors who wrote the Lancelot-Grail, and many other 13th century european sources.

All this is what makes the core of the matter of Britain. It's really too bad they are so low on the list.


message 34: by KayTea (new)

KayTea Nice recommendations, Sivoj! Integral works in the Arthur / Matter of Britain canon.

I know the Mabinogi are an anonymous collection of stories (most famous from Lady Charlotte Guest's Victorian-era English translation), but I think those Welsh legends predate a lot of the French chronicles. Probably not the oldest mentions, though, since it was originally recorded in the 13th century.

Also- If you like the classic romance story ala Chretien de Troyes, you should check out The Lais of Marie De France: With Two Further Lais in the Original Old French. I added Marie to the list :)

Oh, and I removed Arthur the Aardvark Goes to Camp. Again.


message 35: by David Orr (new)

David Orr You left out the David Gemmell Ghost King, and Last Sword of Power, absolutely amazing Arthur Books.


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