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The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

(Book #1 in The Once and Future King series)


Book Overview: The Once and Future King

T. H. White's masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.

Once upon a time, a young boy called "Wart" was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn't possibly imagine. A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values. A future that would see him crowned and known for all time as Arthur, King of the Britons.

During Arthur's reign, the kingdom of Camelot was founded to cast enlightenment on the Dark Ages, while the knights of the Round Table embarked on many a noble quest. But Merlyn foresaw the treachery that awaited his liege: the forbidden love between Queen Guenever and Lancelot, the wicked plots of Arthur's half-sister Morgause and the hatred she fostered in Mordred that would bring an end to the king's dreams for Britain--and to the king himself.

"[The Once and Future King] mingles wisdom, wonderful, laugh-out-loud humor and deep sorrow--while telling one of the great tales of the Western world."-- Guy Gavriel Kay

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"A fierce and damaged man, T. H. White wrote about fierce and damaged people--and children, and animals--with a brilliant, painful innocence that has no equal in literature. He is so good at hurt and shame--how did he also manage to be so funny? I have laughed at his great Arthurian novel and cried over it and loved it all my life."--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Certain books offer pleasures so rich and enduring, they become part of what defines us. The Once and Future King is like that for me. It manages--by some miracle--to be about its own time, and a distant, legendary time, and about today. It mingles wisdom, wonderful, laugh-out-loud humor and deep sorrow--while telling one of the great tales of the Western world. I envy the reader coming to it for the first time."--Guy Gavriel Kay

"White took hold of the ultimate English epic and recast it in modern literary language, sacrificing none of its grandeur or its strangeness in the process, and adding in all the humor and passion that we expect from a novel. What was once as stiff and two-dimensional as a medieval tapestry becomes rich and real and devastatingly sad."--Lev Grossman

"Touching, profound, funny and tragic."-- Los Angeles Times

"Richly imagined and unfailingly eloquent and entertaining, its appeal is timeless and universal. If a reader reads only one Arthurian tale, let this be it."-- Booklist

"The Once and Future King is full of insights, scenes and flourishes that are really quite astonishing."-- The Guardian (U.K.)

T.H. White, born as Terence Hanbury White in 1906, was an esteemed British author and scholar recognized for his distinguished contribution to the realm of fantasy fiction. Born in Bombay, India, to English parents, his childhood experiences fed into the depth and complexity of his works. White is best known for his enduring Arthurian saga, "The Once and Future King," which has not only gained eminence as an essential part of 20th-century literature but was instrumental in reinvigorating the Arthurian legend for a new generation. Despite graduating with a first-class degree in English from Queen's College, Cambridge in 1928, White chose the path of a writer over academia. This decision bore fruit as his fabulist novel, "Mistress Masham’s Repose," and an anthropomorphic story, "The Goshawk," garnered him extensive popularity. However, his unparalleled fame came with the creation of "The Once and Future King." This work is well-regarded for its unusual blend of classical lore and whimsy, exploring themes of chivalry, human nature, and the corrupting touch of power. T.H. White's unfortunate early death in 1964 left an indelible void in the world of literature. An exceptional observer of human and animal behavior, White's works continue to inspire audiences with their wit, sagacity, and uncanny insights into the human psyche. His life holds testament to the extraordinary liberation of the imagination, marking him as one of the pioneering figures of modern fantasy literature.


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