King of the Middle March

King of the Middle March

Book - 2003
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It is 1202, and thousands of knights and footsoldiers are mustering in Venice for the Fourth Crusade. Among them is young Arthur de Caldicot, squire to Lord Stephen. It is thrilling to be part of this huge gathering; but as Christian falls upon Christian and Saracens draw their scimitars, Arthur's eyes are opened to the realities of war. Looking into his seeing stone for guidance, he realises that the exploits of King Arthur and his knights, like those of the crusaders, are as grim as they are glorious.
Meanwhile Arthur has his own concerns: Gatty, his betrothal, his dream of finding his mother, his relationship with his violent father and his churlish foster-brother. When he finally returns to England, all he has lost and all he has won come together.
War, romance, murder, family quarrels, power politics, the conflict between Christianity and Islam: all these are elements in a story packed with drama and colour. Its vivid picture of daily life in medieval times is shot through with earthy comedy and the magic of the Arthurian legends. Darker and deeper than the first two books, this is a marvellous ending to a trilogy that has utterly captivated its readers.

Publisher: London : Orion, 2003.
ISBN: 9781842550601
Branch Call Number: J FIC CROS


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Jul 15, 2010

This book is the conclusion of the popular Arthur series in which Kevin Crossley-Holland skillfully weaves stories of King Arthur (seen through a magic seeing stone) with the story of a 13th century boy, Arthur, who is on the cusp of manhood. As Arthur joins the ill-conceived fourth crusade he witnesses and uneasily participates in the brutality of the Middle Ages at the same time questioning the meaning of honor and nobility. Arthur's story is fabulous, but I found that the too frequent "King Arthur" stories began to detract from the series during the second book, and in this third book they not only detract, they seem extraneous. In fact, I began to skip these stories both because they were so senseless and brutal, and because they didn't seem to mirror 13th century Arthur's life enough to illuminate his feelings or growth (as they did in the brilliant first book of the series, The Crossing Places). Overall, I felt that this book was a mediocre ending to a series with great promise. If you love the traditional King Arthur stories (not the more sympathetic revisionings of the legend), you may love this, but I was disappointed.

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