The Once and Future King (TBR)

Next up on my reading list is The Once and Future King by T.H. White.

Narrator: Neville Jason
Length: 33 hours

This was one of the first fiction books I ever read (I remember checking it out from my elementary school library) and though I devoured it, I have never visited the novels since… until now.

The Once and Future King is a collection of fantasy novels by T. H. White about the legend of King Arthur. It is loosely based upon the 1485 work Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. It was first published in 1958 as a collection of shorter novels that were published from 1938 to 1940, with some new or amended material. The title refers to a legend that Arthur will one day return as king


The complete “box set” of T. H. White’s epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five parts: “The Sword in the Stone”, “The Witch in the Wood”, “The Ill-Made Knight”, “The Candle in the Wind”, and “The Book of Merlyn”.

Merlyn instructs the Wart (Arthur) and his brother, Sir Kay, in the ways of the world. One of them will need it: the king has died, leaving no heir, and a rightful one must be found by pulling a sword from an anvil resting on a stone. In the second and third parts of the novel, Arthur has become king and the kingdom is threatened from the north. In the final two books, the ageing king faces his greatest challenge, when his own son threatens to overthrow him. In “The Book of Merlyn”, Arthur’s tutor Merlyn reappears and teaches him that, even in the face of apparent ruin, there is hope.

Arthurian legend has always been lurking in the background of a lot of the fiction that I enjoy, whether that be Indiana Jones, The Wheel of Time, Harry Potter, or countless other books and movies. There’s a great deal of influence from these stories which are linked to a lot of my non-fiction interests as well, whether that be history, archaeology, architecture, or the history of war. If I enjoy my revisit of White, perhaps I will continue onward and tackle Malory next.

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