king arthur books

15 Legendary Books About King Arthur

The legend of King Arthur has influenced numerous epic tales and his Knights of the Round Table, including those about the miraculous Excalibur sword, the valor of the knights, the love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere, and even Merlin’s sorcery.

king arthur books

It’s not surprising that the mythology keeps being repeated in fresh, imaginative ways on the page and on-screen given the wealth of fascinating characters available to storytellers.

The legendary knights of the Round Table may have been headed by a solely mythological character during the Middle Ages. If King Arthur existed, no one can say for sure.

According to some legends, he was a military commander during the fifth or sixth century who worked to thwart an invasion by the Saxons. However, a lot of the legend’s components might have been added to the narrative, and later information concerning “magical” components, such as his magic sword Excalibur, would be added.

King Arthur Books For Children And Young Adults

king arthur books

1. Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff

In 1963, Rosemary Sutcliff wrote Sword at Sunset, a mature interpretation of the King Arthur legend. She tells a factual, historical account of the individual who might have been the true King Arthur by cutting through and eliminating the numerous pagan, medieval, and early Christian legendary elements.

Sutcliff wrote the book from Artos the Bear’s perspective, a powerful king who protected Western civilization from barbarian attacks in the fifth century. Artos the Bear is a fictional character in the book. As he lies dying, Artos begins the book by recounting various events in his life.

She does a good job of describing Arthur’s conflicts. Her substitution of the Arthurian legend’s standard names with old Welsh names makes the reader feel more immersed in the story.

2. The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings trilogy author J.R.R. Tolkien also provided his own interpretation of the mythical story of King Arthur. His work in rhyme about King Arthur’s final campaign is called The Fall of Arthur.

Arthur learns of Mordred’s betrayal while he is standing at Mirkwood’s entrance. He understands that he needs to return to Britain and gather his forces.

Despite being demoralized by Guinevere’s betrayal, Arthur must command his knights in one more conflict with Mordred and his army.

Despite the poem’s incompleteness, Tolkien’s unmatched storytelling talent is well demonstrated by the impassioned and compelling imagery.

king arthur books

3. Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green

It’s possible to classify 1953’s King Arthur retelling by Roger Lancelyn Green as a children’s book. However, this book is also a fantastic introduction to the legend for adults.

Green compiled the various King Arthur legends and combined them into a single narrative with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

The narrative then shifts to Arthur asking England’s finest knights to sit down at the round table he built. Green recounts each of the experiences of the new knights who join the Round Table.

king arthur books

4. The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Another great King Arthur retelling artist is T.H. White. The story begins with Wart, a little child who the wizard Merlin is training for an unfathomable future in which he would lead the greatest band of knights, wed a renowned woman, and unite a nation around the ideals of chivalry.

This young man will become Arthur, the fabled king of the Britons.

king arthur books

5. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

The Crystal Cave retells the legend of King Arthur from the perspective of the youngster who would become the sorcerer Merlin, an illegitimate child of a Welsh princess.

Stewart depicts Merlin’s early years as a dangerous succession of visions and mysterious portents. But his voyage leads him to foretell the future in front of Vortigern, the High King, to crown Uther Pendragon, and finally to recognize Arthur and become the king’s most trusted advisor.

king arthur books

6. The Lost Years by T.A. Barron

The Lost Years by T.A. Barron begins with a lad who washes up on the shore of ancient Wales, and it is another work that examines the Arthur tale through the eyes of Merlin.

The young orphan kid goes on a mission to discover his identity and ends up in the magical realm of Camelot.

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7. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s satirical portrayal of an Arthurian legend is titled A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. A typical American miraculously travels back in time to the reign of King Arthur at the start of the narrative.

Twain investigates how contemporary Americans would perceive medieval traditions and behaviors. Hank Morgan, the factory manager, writes a humorous and occasionally outright hilarious first-person account. Readers are captivated by the suspense of the passages in which Morgan must defend himself.

Despite the comedy of this classic, Twain also addresses themes like the gap between the rich and the poor, the widespread aversion to development and science at the time, as well as other false beliefs.

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8. Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey

The viewpoint of King Arthur’s wife, Guinevere, is another intriguing one to examine in the tale. Using the ancient Welsh name Gwenhwyfar, Mercedes Lackey weaves a tale about the legendary queen with success.

The author describes the future in which Gwenhwyfar must decide between the paths of the Warrior or the Blessing. The King’s daughter follows the more uncommon path of the warrior and eventually agrees to serve as Arthur’s queen.

By making this choice, she leaves herself open to unanticipated temptation, betrayal, love, intrigue, and redemption.

King Arthur Books For Adults

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9. The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy

An intriguing spin on the King Arthur myth is written by best-selling authors Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy. The story opens with a little child named Arthur, who is also 10 years old, discovering a curious cup that turns out to be the Holy Grail.

As the antique cup’s designated protector, Arthur must accompany it on a voyage through time and space while defending it from evil powers and a lunatic who is for the Grail’s unparalleled power.

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10. The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

The 1903 novel by Howard Pyle is a fantastic collection of tales based on the legend of King Arthur and His Knights. Over multiple decades, both adults and children have enjoyed this captivating interpretation.

Famous storyteller Pyle uses magic to return us to the enchanted Middle Ages, starting with Arthur’s quest as he draws the magical sword from the rock and continues down his path to love and betrayal.

Arthur experiences betrayal at the hands of Morgana the Fay and bemoans, seeing his trusted advisor and companion, Merlin the magician, dies tragically.

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11. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This original retelling tells the tale of King Arthur from the viewpoint of the ladies who supported his ascent to power and planned his downfall.

Marion Zimmer Bradley carefully guided us through these women’s early years and successful pursuit of their goals. These include the conflicts between Viviane and Merlin and Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar, which present the old story in a fresh way.

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12. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

This first installment of Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles demonstrates the author’s skill at telling the classic, well-known stories in a new way.

A kid monarch occupies the throne without someone to guard him at the beginning of the story after Merlin and Arthur have been exiled.

Arthur returns to this desperate Dark Age Britain, struggling to preserve even a vestige of civilisation in a society dominated by primitive practices.

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13. The Skystone by Jack Whyte

Before Arthur was born, the story is explored by Jack Whyte, who sets the stage for a dark and dangerous Britain torn apart by warring Saxon, Celt, and Pict tribes.

He breaks down the options that the Roman population had to make, including moving to a foreign country or remaining and dealing with the chaos caused by the wars.

The author then focuses on two Romans who choose to remain and defend the interests of the Roman people. These two men go on to manufacture the Excalibur sword and become the great-grandfathers of the fabled King Arthur.

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14. Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie

The magnificent King Arthur receives the most tragic blow possible thanks to the enigmatic Guinevere. Nancy McKenzie explores this fabled queen’s life and heart in her book.

She learns of her fate as gwenhwyfar, the white shadow that stands for betrayal, through a prophecy of doom made when she was a young kid. Guinevere matures into an extraordinary beauty, and the vivid legends of the valiant Arthur draw her and cause their marriage.

This book demonstrates the range of feelings Guinevere experiences, which ultimately cause her to fail.

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15. The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650 by John Robert Morris

In Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650, John Morris brings the past to life. In order to trace the evolution of Roman Britain into Great Britain, when England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales were established, he uses the period of Arthur as the starting point for British history.

In keeping with the continuity notion, he examines political, economic, social, cultural, and religious history.

Try the Best reading lamps if you enjoy reading adaptations of the stories of King Arthur.

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