King Arthur and His Knights: A Bibliography

Almourol CastleMy library’s Summer Reading theme this year is A Midsummer’s Knight’s Read and so I’ve had King Arthur on my mind lately. Well, that and I’m still not over how bad Camelot was.

I don’t care what critics or anyone else says. That Starz show features probably the most worthless, weasel-faced, selfish toolbag of an Arthur in the history of time immemorial. I honestly never thought it possible to make Camelot, Arthur, Morgan, Igraine and even Merlin seem so utterly lame. I mean, Camelot is supposed to a most congenial spot for happy-ever-aftering not a shrine to stupidity located somewhere near the Cliffs of Moher. And don’t even get me started on how many opportunities were wasted in terms of revamping legends or using Merlin’s magic to accomplish simple tasks.

Anyway, because that show is so godawful and just an utter insult to legends I have held near and dear since childhood, I feel obligated to suggest books that do various aspects of King Arthur, Merlin, his knights, and pretty much anyone living in or near Camelot more justice.

(Note: With the exception of newer Morris and Barron books, I have read all of these titles. But that was long before GoodReads or this blog became a part of my daily life.)

Fiction:
Anything that was written by Chretien de Troyes
The Lost Years of Merlin series by T. A. Barron
Mordred’s Gift and Mordred’s Curse by Ian McDowell
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Squire’s Tales series (The Squire’s Tale, The Squire, His Knight, and His Lady, The Savage Damsel and The Dwarf, Parsifal’s Page, The Ballad of Sir Dinadan, The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung Cart Knight, The Lioness and Her Knight, The Quest of the Fair Unknown, The Squire’s Quest, and The Legend of the King) by Gerald Morris
The Sword in the Stone and The Once and Future King by T. H. White – Sort of obvious picks, but still good.
The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein

Graphic Novels:
Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

Picture Books:
The Kitchen Knight by Margaret Hodges
Merlin and the Dragons by Jane Yolen
Of Swords and Sorcerers by Margaret Hodges
Young Arthur by Robert D. San Souci
Young Guinevere by Robert D. San Souci
Young Lancelot by Robert D. San Souci
Young Merlin by Robert D. San Souci

If anyone has any suggestions along similar lines, let me know. It’s been far too long since I’ve read any Arthurian-related fiction.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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2 Responses to King Arthur and His Knights: A Bibliography

  1. David says:

    I really enjoyed the Lost Years of Merlin when I read them in junior high, and I suspect I still would. Shockingly, though, I’m only just starting to read T.H. White’s treatment. Heard great things about it.

    On the recommendation side, Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle seems to be a great treatment of the legend. I’ve only read the first book, Taliesin, but it was a very interesting take, and I’ve only heard good things about the rest of the series. If you’re interested in a more historical take that still does the legends justice, then check out Rosemary Sutcliff’s Sword at Sunset. Hers was the first modern novel to make a believably historical Arthur, and I’ve a sneaking suspicion it may still be the best (though I haven’t read the efforts of Bernard Cornwell). The love triangle is still present, but Arthur himself, though flawed, emerges as a mostly admirable and very intelligent character. There’s none of the “he’s great only because it’s fate” nonsense that I see in so many other versions — this Artos is a legend because he’s the most brilliant and almost the most wise war leader in all of Britain.

    As to the picture books, I have Margaret Hodges’ retelling of St. George and the Dragon, with beautiful illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman. It’s one of my favorite childhood books!

  2. Pingback: Review: Prophecy: Clash of Kings by M K Hume | The Book Shelf, My Book Blog

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