Few figures are as heroic as the legendary King Arthur. This intrepid figure of Arthurian legend has inspired writers for centuries.
As a result, there are tons of brilliant books that document the amazing adventures of this British king and iconic warrior.
Many of these books feature recognizable figures like Morgan le Fay, Lancelot, and Gawain.
If you have a passion for King Arthur and his dynamic tales of heroism, you might want to check out these incredible books:
8 Heroic Books About King Arthur
The Once And Future King
The Once and Future King is a classic fantasy novel from 1958 that has inspired our modern understanding of King Arthur.
Loosely based on the 15th-century text known as Le Morte d’Arthur, this book by T. H. White tells the life of King Arthur.
This fantastic fantasy tale is broken down into four sections, starting with Arthur’s youth under the guise of Merlyn.
The book also explores Arthur’s journey to becoming the king and his relationship with Queen Guinevere, who soon catches the eye of Sir Lancelot.
The Once and Future King is ideal if you have a keen interest in learning about the entire life of this courageous figure.
- This classic book is considered a must-read fantasy novel.
- The sections on Arthur’s childhood are especially compelling.
- White provides wonderful world-building.
- Having been published in 1958, this book may seem a little dated to modern readers.
A Tail Of Camelot
The first book in the Mice of the Round Table series by Julie Leung is this fantastic middle-grade book.
A Tail of Camelot tells the story of King Arthur from the unique perspective of mice. The result is a sensational tale that pairs magic and animals to create a story that kids will adore.
The young mouse named Calib Christopher dreams of becoming a Knight of the Round Table. To achieve this goal, Calib must train thoroughly.
Yet, when a brand-new danger arises, Calib and Cecily, his close friend, have to leap into action to defend the castle.
A Tail of Camelot is an action-packed read if you want to get kids interested in the legends of King Arthur.
- This is a fun story that kids will adore.
- This adventurous tale culminates in a climactic final battle.
- The book contains mesmerizing illustrations by Lindsey Carr.
- Older readers may not appreciate this book.
By Force Alone
By Force Alone is a beautifully forged fantasy novel from the imagination of Lavie Tidhar.
This retelling of Arthurian legend takes a unique approach to the legend of King Arthur that challenges conventional narratives.
This is a dark and gritty tale with a tragic undertone. It focuses on the brutality of King Arthur who is portrayed as a gangster in this visionary tale.
By Force Alone is an outstanding option if you adore high fantasy novels, such as Game of Thrones. Tidhair provides an epic scope that is perfect for this dramatic narrative.
- This gritty and ruthless retelling is a sensational subversion of the traditional and romanticized portrayal of King Arthur.
- Characters from Arthurian legends, such as Lancelot and Guinevere, are depicted in fascinating ways.
- Tidhar brilliantly adds humorous elements through the well-crafted dialogue.
- The political satire is somewhat heavy-handed.
Designed for young adults, this novel is ideal for younger readers with a passion for tales of King Arthur.
Meg Cabot’s dynamic novel merges a modern mystery with a supernatural element that ties to Arthurian legend.
The protagonist of this enticing tale, Ellie, is welcomed into a new school. This place, named Avalon High, seems like a perfectly normal school.
She soon gets to know Will, the popular football player with a legendary reputation. However, Ellie soon discovers that EWill is not what he seems.
Avalon High offers a more subtle focus on King Arthur than some of the other books on this list.
Nonetheless, it is a great book for young adults who are interested in legends. You might also want to check out the film adaptation of the book.
- Cabot offers a magnificent modern setting for this book.
- The characters are fun and likable.
- Many readers will adore the school antics of this narrative.
- Avalon High has a loose connection to King Arthur, meaning that it may not be of interest to people with a serious interest in these legends.
The Crystal Cave
Up next, you might also want to check out The Crystal Cave if you want to dive into a superb series centered around Arthurian legend. This is the first book in The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart.
The Crystal Cave is centered around Myridden Emrys, a Welsh boy who would one day become known as Merlin.
The young Merlin is continuously neglected and suffers from visions of the future. However, this small boy progresses into one of the most powerful people in Britain as he learns magic.
This book is a perfect match for you if you are interested in finding out more about Merlin. Overflowing this magic and intrigue, The Crystal Cave is an enchanting tale.
- Stewart does a wonderful job of fleshing out the character of Merlin, allowing readers to better understand this legendary figure.
- The book has an epic scale that perfectly suits this legendary tale.
- Stewart’s writing style is hauntingly beautiful.
- The pacing is a little slow at times.
The Seeing Stone
Launching the Arthur Trilogy, The Seeing Stone is an ambitious historical book written by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Perfect for children and young adults, The Seeing Stone tells the tale of a young boy who dreams of becoming a knight.
A thirteen-year-old boy named Arthur de Caldicot is given a magic black stone by the mysterious Merlin.
Consequently, he begins to see visions of his counterpart, the brave King Arthur. These visions of a fantasy world of swords and dragons are completely different from what the young boy is familiar with.
This charming read is great among young readers and older readers alike. This is an easy read that captures the dramatic scale of the life of King Arthur.
- This is a charming read with a classic vibe.
- The Seeing Stone can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
- The protagonist provides a different perspective on these legendary tales.
- The book may be a little too confusing for younger readers.
The Oxford Guide To Arthurian Literature And Legend
If you’re searching for an academic guide to Arthurian legend, the Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend is the perfect tool for you.
This critical guide is a comprehensive documentation of Arthurian legend, exploring the characters, symbols, themes, and traditions of these legends.
Moreover, this extensive guide covers how the literature of Arthurian legend has been adapted into different forms, including films and art. Few books provide such a deep analysis of these legendary stories.
This guide by Alan Lupack is especially useful to academics and medievalists. Moreover, you will find this a thrilling read if you have a passion for classic mythology.
- This guide is sensational for scholars, as it takes an academic approach to Arthurian literature.
- You can find out not just about King Arthur, but also the more minor characters in his legends.
- This is a highly detailed exploration of legends that few other books can rival.
- 512 pages long, this guide may be a little overwhelming for some readers.
The Search For King Arthur
Last but not least, The Search for King Arthur is an amazing non-fiction book crafted by David Day.
This academic and detailed book also contains gorgeous pictures to deepen your understanding.
This fascinating book acts as a retelling of Arthurian legend and explores how these legends have evolved throughout history. It also analyzes how these Arthurian stories have impacted society.
Overall, The Search for King Arthur should be added to your reading list if you want to find out more about the history of King Arthur.
- This fascinating book focuses on the historical and social impact of King Arthur.
- The book contains plenty of incredible illustrations that perfectly complement the factual elements of the book.
- Though this book provides a historical exploration, much of the writing has been influenced by Day’s opinions.
If you have a passion for Arthurian legend, there are tons of brilliant books out there to read.
Inspired by these legendary tales, these narratives are filled with dynamic action, larger-than-life characters, and magnificent magic. Consequently, they are worthy additions to your reading list.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is King Arthur Real Or A Myth?
Historians have not been able to determine whether or not King Arthur is a real figure. Many historians speculate that he is a mythical figure, while others believe that elements of his story may be true.
Why Do Authors Like Writing About King Arthur?
The imagination of many writers has been gripped by the tales of King Arthur as they likely enjoy the heroic, romantic, and chivalrous elements of these stories. Consequently, many authors have produced stories focusing on this heroic figure.
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