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Arthur the king
Allan Massie
Adult Fiction MASSIE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this second volume of his historical trilogy (after The Evening of the World, set in the dying days of the Roman Empire), Massie presents a cheerily erudite deconstruction and retelling of the Arthurian legend. The linear events of the narrative are familiar: as a young boy, Arthur is schooled by Merlin, then claims the throne of England by pulling the sword Excalibur from its stone. Massie's version, however, fashions alternate histories for familiar characters (chronicling, for example, Merlin's wretched childhood and describing the twisted use he makes of his powers) and takes a playful, humorous tone ("Nor was Arthur enamored of mathematics, even though Merlin took great joy in that subject and excelled (as he supposed) in expounding it"). Once crowned king, Arthur is portrayed as a strategist and statesman whose marriage to the Saxon maiden Guinevere is one of convenience; his true love is his half-sister, Morgan le Fay, and he has a fondness for pretty youths (as does Merlin). Similarly, the machinations of the Knights of the Round Table are seen as a series of political maneuvers, particularly when the knights jockey for position as the quest for the Grail begins. Readers looking for the standard heroic take may be disappointed, but those of "a speculative and skeptical turn of mind, which takes nothing on trust or unexamined" will appreciate this bracing chronicle. Agent, Weidenfeld & Nicolson. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Marcus

Uther Pendragon
Son of Marcus; willed that the next king of Britannia shall be the man who pulls his sword Excalibur from the rock that incases it.

Wart, aka Arthur
Age: Child
Pulls Excalibur from the rock.

Wart's tutor.

Commoner; Arthur's loyal friend; sensible.

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