At the Crossing-Places (The Arthur Trilogy, Book 2)

by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Paperback, 2004

Status

Available

Local notes

PB Cro

Publication

Scholastic (2004), Edition: Reprint, 394 pages

Description

In late twelfth-century England, the thirteen-year-old Arthur goes to begin his new life as squire to Lord Stephen at Holt, where crusaders ready themselves.

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2001

Physical description

394 p.; 7.64 inches

ISBN

0439265991 / 9780439265997

Barcode

784

User reviews

LibraryThing member TomKitten
In this second volume in Crossley-Holland's Arthur trilogy we get more of the story of young Arthur, the illegitimate son of a rather unpleasant knight, brought up in the home of another and now sent to become a squire in the home of a third. As we learned in Volume 1, The Seeing Stone, Arthur is also able to see major events in the life and court of his famous namesake by looking into a polished piece of obsidian he has been given. Bridging the years between the two Arthurs is Merlin who recedes into the background for most of this volume. The "crossing places" of the title carries multiple meanings, as young Arthur moves from youth into adulthood, crosses the channel for the first time and begins to make decisions and discoveries that will, no doubt, bear fruit in the concluding volume.

I read the first volume in this series a few years ago and liked it well enough that when a copy of the third volume turned up at our local library sale last year I didn't hesitate to scoop it up. I figured I could always borrow the middle volume, but then I found this copy at a used bookstore (Russell's in Victoria, BC - one of the best I've ever been in) last month and was able to complete the set. When all's read and done though, I suspect I'll eventually send all three books back to the library sale tables. There's just something about this series that doesn't work for me and I can't quite put my finger on what it is. It could be that, though I admire Mr. Crossley-Holland's skill at interweaving the two strands, all the back and forth makes it difficult for me to stay emotionally involved with young Arthur's story. And his is the story I want to stay focused on. I find myself becoming impatient with yet another retelling of yet another knight's tale. And though there's an admirable economy in these tellings, it can sometimes seem overly hasty, like a thumbnail sketch where something more is warranted, almost as if the author can't wait to get back to his main story, too, but having made the decision to include this other strand he now feels obliged to continue with it. The one exception is his version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which he allows himself two chapters to tell, instead of the usual one, and the pay-off is a much richer, fully fleshed story.

I guess part of my frustration is that young Arthur's story really does have the potential to get under one's skin. He's a wonderful character and his conflicting thoughts and emotions as he arrives at his crossing places are beautifully rendered in a simple, straightforward way that feels right for a young man of this age and this time. I'll certainly finish the series at some point but if somewhere in the third volume Arthur were to lose his seeing stone I suspect I wouldn't miss it all that much.
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LibraryThing member mainrun
I could not get into this book. The first in the trilogy was a good read. I 'quit' the book with about 50 pages left. I tried to finish, but stopped with only 10 pages to go. Won't read the last one
LibraryThing member themulhern
A very smart book, however
1) King Arthur and his knights figure too prominently.
2) Gatty becomes a bit tiresome.
The descriptions of squire Arthur's life and adventures are generally vivid and interesting. The quandaries are very real. There are not a lot of pat solutions.
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
At the Crossing Places by Kevin Crossley-Holland is the second book in his Arthur Trilogy, this is set in the middle ages but through the use of a seeing stone, flashes back onto the time of King Arthur.

I wasn’t taken with this book as much as the first, the jumping back and forth in time seemed forced and too pat as whatever the Middle Ages Arthur was experiencing, he saw King Arthur‘s version of the same problem in the stone.. As this second book opens, the Middle Ages Arthur is now ensconced at Holt Castle as squire to Sir Stephen and preparing to leave on Crusade. He has learned that the man he thought of as his uncle is really his father, and the girl he had wanted to marry is actually is half-sister. Meanwhile, Arthur in the stone has grown into his kingship, married Guinevere, formed the round table and is gathering his knights together.

What I found most interesting about this book was the many and varied descriptions of life in the middle ages for all classes. The descriptions of Arthur learning to be both squire and training to be an eventual knight were informative and well researched. The two stories didn’t seem to entwine as well in this book, with Middle Ages Arthur mostly just learning life lessons from the seeing stone, and the King Arthur part of the story didn’t seem to offer anything new, mostly just reworked stories from the original legend.

This story is unique, but I just didn’t have the patience to overlook the flaws and there is some doubt now that I will continue onto the third book.
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Pages

394

Rating

(94 ratings; 3.4)
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