The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

Book - 2016
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A deluxe hardcover edition of the world's greatest fantasy classic--part of Penguin Galaxy, a collectible series of six sci-fi/fantasy classics, featuring a series introduction by Neil Gaiman

Winner of the AIGA + Design Observer 50 Books | 50 Covers competition

T. H. White's masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as the sword Excalibur and city of Camelot that are found within its pages. This magical epic takes Arthur from the glorious lyrical phase of his youth, through the disillusioning early years of his reign, to maturity when his vision of the Round Table develops into the search for the Holy Grail, and finally to his weary old age. With memorable characters like Merlin and Owl and Guinevere, beasts who talk and men who fly, wizardry and war, The Once and Future King has become the fantasy masterpiece against which all others are judged, a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.

Penguin Galaxy

Six of our greatest masterworks of science fiction and fantasy, in dazzling collector-worthy hardcover editions, and featuring a series introduction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, Penguin Galaxy represents a constellation of achievement in visionary fiction, lighting the way toward our knowledge of the universe, and of ourselves. From historical legends to mythic futures, monuments of world-building to mind-bending dystopias, these touchstones of human invention and storytelling ingenuity have transported millions of readers to distant realms, and will continue for generations to chart the frontiers of the imagination.

The Once and Future King by T. H. White
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Dune by Frank Herbert
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Neuromancer by William Gibson

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Publisher: New York, New York : Penguin Books, 2016.
ISBN: 9780143111610
Characteristics: xxii, 707 pages ; 22 cm.


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Mar 05, 2017

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

Dec 02, 2016

I have to say writing a review about this series is a bit difficult. I have been taken through a whole series of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and ideas. From childish to quite deep and complex issues. This series covers so much territory, it makes it quite hard to cover it all.

I began this series with Author as a child being taught by Merlin. I was immediately taken mentally, to the Walt Disney cartoon version of this book. As I read it, all that came to mind was the animated Disney movie I remember from childhood. It was all that I could visualize. With that said, I have to complement Disney for staying so close to the original book.

But everything changes after that when Author becomes King by removing the sword from the stone. Here is where Disney left off, but the bulk of the series continues. And I have to say, the tone and nature of the series matures.

For the rest of the series, you will explore a whole series of issues; friendships, relationships, government, politics, intrigue, life, fulfillment, heartbreak, the list goes on. Keeping in mind, that T.H. White wrote this series from 1936 - 1943, a time in which Britain, was being tested to the very core of her survival, entering war with Germany, the blitz, Dunkirk, children moved throughout the country with strange families to protect them. Britain was on the very brink, the edge of her survival, and her future looked very very bleak. Could she survive.

I saw all this being reflected in this series. T.H. White's reflections and questions as to why there is a war, the struggles between countries, the purpose of government, the purpose of friendships and relationships, all comes roaring to the forefront. After all, everything was in peril.

The result of his examinations, wonderings, and reflections, culminates in a well thought out, interestingly presented, and a well told story of Author and the Knights of the round table. You have a myriad of characters centered around three main characters; Author, Lancelot, and Guinevere, all told with the intrigues of life, the mistakes of life, the good and bad decisions we all make, what are the fundamental principles of government and the people whom under that government. What is true friendship, love, and hate. All told in a serious reflection upon the world and life.

I was truly drawn in to the story. At times, so serious, and at others, so fanciful, free, and entertaining. A whole litany of thoughts and emotions will be experienced and ventured. In the end, you will be left pondering many things, but having enjoyed a delightful and well written story that makes you think.

Jun 09, 2016

The summary is confusing. They mention a complete saga of 5 books, none of which have this title. Am I to think that this is a summary of those 5 in 1? Or, that this title precedes or maybe follows the saga? Anyone know? Looking forward to finding out! :)

May 12, 2014

By far the best telling of the Arthurian legend. This is one of those few books that I will reread again and again.

Aug 15, 2013

An excellent book well written and shows parallels between the modern and medieval worlds. However, is it a large book so you'd better pace yourself

Aug 27, 2012

My favorite for the last 35 years. Packed with philosophy masquerading as fantasy. Very well-written with rich language.

Unbelievably brilliant. A definite must-read fantasy classic on the story of King Arthur.

ShadowFX84 Mar 14, 2012

The penultimate Arthurian adaptation. There's nothing else to say. The source of all modern American fantasy. Every time you read it, you find something new.

Sep 05, 2011

Why does Clearbrook Library have a catalogue # of SCI FIC for this Arthurian Legend adaptation?

Jul 19, 2011

It's funny. The backwards-living Merlin sheds light onto how similar the modern world is compared to the Middle Ages, even as we claim how far we have come as a civilization. The good that both Lancelot and Arthur strives for and the tragedy that befalls them shows that sometimes, life isn't always perfect, try as you might, sometimes it just doesn't work out.

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reytheking Aug 08, 2012

reytheking thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Violet_Butterfly_31 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Tells the tragic tale of King Arthur from when he was a young innocent boy named "Wart" to when he became king of Camelot and the Round Table and to how he tried to fulfill his dreams for Britain.

FavouriteFiction Oct 03, 2009

This novel chronicles the life of King Arthur from his birth to the end of his regin and the fall of his beloved Camelot


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Aug 27, 2012

"There is only one thing for it then- to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust , and never dream of regretting." -Merlin

"And do you know another thing, Arthur? Life is too bitter already, without territories and wars and noble feuds." -Merlyn


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