The King Arthur Trilogy: 'Sword And The Circle', 'Light Beyond The Forest', 'Road To Camlann'

by Rosemary Sutcliff

Paperback, 1999



Local notes

PB Sut




RED FOX BOOKS (RAND) (1999), 656 pages


'Traitor! Now is your death-time upon you!' You may think you know all about King Arthur, the young boy who plucked the sword from the stone. You've probably heard stories about Merlin's magic powers and the Knights of the round table...these are the stories we learn at school. But they are just the beginning. Here are tales of human sacrifice, dragons, sword fights to the death, noble quests, tragedy and great courage: this the real world of King Arthur. Are you brave enough to enter? Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can test your knowledge of the legends and find out which Knight of the Round Table you most resemble. Vintage Children's Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.… (more)


Original language


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Physical description

656 p.; 5.08 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
When the darkness crowds beyond the door, and the logs on the hearth burn clear and red and fall in upon themselves, making caverns and ships and swords and dragons and strange faces in the heart of the fire, that is the time for storytelling.

Come closer then, and listen.

So begins The Road to
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Camlann, the third volume in Rosemary Sutcliff's King Arthur Trilogy. Doesn't it just give you a delightful shiver? The first and second books, The Sword and the Circle and The Light Beyond the Forest, are told with same deft touch that characterizes all of Sutcliff's work.

It's been years since I last read these classic Arthurian stories. She remains very faithful to the originals (at least, as faithful as one can be to a tradition that has so many variants), without the major reinventing that has become so fashionable these days. Arthurian stories are always interesting to adapt for younger audiences because of all the lusty scandals, but she handles these well, not shying away from the events but not making them explicit, either.

Sutcliff's stories are peopled with individuals who live and breathe. Nimue is mysterious rather than sinister, Guinevere, Arthur, and especially Lancelot are rendered believable and even understandable in their everlasting love triangle, and many of the other knights are given little touches of personality that add an extra dimension to their characters. This volume will probably be my children's first serious foray into these stories, and I couldn't think of a better place for them to start. Recommended.
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½ (15 ratings; 3.8)
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