Arthur: The Once and Future Story

From the silvered and shadowed mists of Britain's Iron Age past comes the legend of King Arthur. Schooled by a mighty wizard, betrayed by his wife and his best friend, this greatest of legendary kings and his knights fought fierce invaders, rescued ladies in distress, and adventured to the far reaches of the realm to seek the Holy Grail. Although undone at the last by Mordred, the bards sing that he did not die but rather sailed to the faery realm where he waits for his country's darkest hour. It is then that he will come forth and save the day one last time. Certainly his legend has inspired a host of modern fantasy writers.

Read on for marvels, perils, and romance set in the Kingdom of Camelot.

Tristan und Isolde

By Richard Wagner

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Setting: legendary times.
The story is about Tristan, whose name meant sadness, and was given to him after his mother's death in childbirth. Because he was the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, it was Tristan's duty to provide an escort for King Mark's betrothed, the beautiful and fiery Isolde, on her way to join King Mark and become his bride. On the long journey, Tristan and Isolde realize their passion for each other and attempt suicide by drinking what they believe to be a death potion; however, Isolde's maid, not willing to help Isolde die substitutes a love potion, causing them to fall even more deeply in love. What follows is the sad tale of their love, separation and death.

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Tortilla Flat

By John Steinbeck

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Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a "Camelot" on a shabby hillside above Monterey on the California coast and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. As Steinbeck chronicles their thoughts and emotions, temptations and lusts, he spins a tale as compelling, and ultimately as touched by sorrow, as the famous legends of the Round Table.
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King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table

By Roger Lancelyn Green

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"King Arthur is one of the greatest legends of all time. From the magical moment when Arthur releases the sword in the stone to the quest for the Holy Grail and the final tragedy of the Last Battle, Roger Lancelyn Green brings the enchanting world of King Arthur stunningly to life."

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Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle

By Peter S. Beagle

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Classics from the master of psychological fantasy:
Professor Gottesman and the Indian rhinoceros -- The last and only -- Come Lady Death -- El Regalo -- Julie's unicorn -- The last song of Sirit Byar -- Lila the werewolf -- What tune the enchantress plays -- Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the angel -- Salt wine -- Two hearts -- Giant bones -- King Pelles the Sure -- Vanishing -- The tale of Junko and Sayuri -- The rock in the park -- We never talk about my brother -- The rabbi's hobby.
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The Iron Grail

By Robert Holdstock

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"The first is a man who needs you and will use you. He will weaken you dangerously. The second is a man you betrayed, though you believe otherwise. He wishes to kill you and can do so easily. The third is a ship that is more than a ship. She grieves and broods. She will carry you to your grave."

These three warnings greet Merlin on his return to Alba, the future England, to the deserted fortress of Taurovinda---the Hill of the White Bull. He is not the only one making the journey: Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming home to reclaim his stronghold, and Jason is sailing in on the Argo to seek his younger son, hiding somewhere in the kingdom. But Urtha's fortress has been taken by warriors from Ghostland; they claim it as their own. There will be war against the Otherworld. In this sequel toCeltika, Robert Holdstock weaves myth and history into a fabulous tale of honor, death, and magic. At its center, moving along his never-ending path, is Merlin himself, an enchanter in the prime of his life, reckless, curious, powerful, yet a stranger to his own past---a past that is catching up with him.

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The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

By John Steinbeck

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"Steinbeck's only work of fantasy literature-in an illustrated deluxe edition John Steinbeck's retelling of Malory's beloved Arthurian stories....Featuring the icons of Arthurian legend-including King Arthur, Merlin, Morgan le Fay, the incomparable Queen Guinevere, and Arthur's purest knight, Sir Lancelot of the Lake-these enduring tales of loyalty and betrayal in the time of Camelot flicker with the wonder and magic of an era past but not forgotten."

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Witch of the North

By Courtway Jones

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The story of Morgan le Fay - Morgan, daughter of Igraine the Gold and Gorlais, Duke of Cornwall, is sent away after her beloved father is killed by Uther Pendragon's men. Schooled in the mysteries of the Great Mother by the Lady of the Lake and later taking her place among her mother's people, the matriarchal Gaels, Morgan learns to fight, heal, rule and judge. After being raped by Briton king Lot, she marries Pictish King Urien and lovingly raises his sons from a previous marriage. She leaves that unhappy union to become a member of her younger halfbrother's court, where the damage that will be wrought by Arthur's seneschal and
foster brother, Kay, is already apparent. The death of her favorite stepson drives Morgan to set up her own small kingdom, a Gaelic matriarchy, in the north.

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Grail

By Stephen R. Lawhead

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Arthurian Britain is invoked with robust verisimilitude in Lawhead's fifth novel in his Pendragon Cycle. The narrator here is Gwalchavad, a member of Arthur's elite guard whose soldierly frankness lends credibility even to fantastic events. Indeed, one of Lawhead's achievements is his integration, true to the medieval mind, of the mundane and the miraculous. Myrddin (Merlin) is engagingly drawn as both a curmudgeon and a sage. Arthur is interesting for his blend of youthful folly and courage. Interspersed with Gwalchavad's accounts are passages voiced by the enchantress Morgian, Myrddin's evil arch-foe, as she schemes to overthrow Arthur and steal the Holy Grail.

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Gawain and Lady Green

By Anne Eliot Crompton

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Gawain's story - In the two voices of Gawain and Lady Green, this retelling of the Arthurian legend unfolds. Crompton's characters from Merlin's Harp take readers back to the time of Camelot, a place where honor and chivalry are as much a part of life as is breathing for Sir Gawain.

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