The Death of King Arthur: The Immortal Legend
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Acclaimed biographer Peter Ackroyd vibrantly resurrects the legendary epic of Camelot in this modern adaptation.
The names of Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, Galahad, the sword of Excalibur, and the court of Camelot are as recognizable as any from the world of myth. Although many versions exist of the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory endures as the most moving and richly inventive. In this abridged retelling the inimitable Peter Ackroyd transforms Malory's fifteenth-century work into a dramatic modern story, vividly bringing to life a world of courage and chivalry, magic, and majesty. The golden age of Camelot, the perilous search for the Holy Grail, the love of Guinevere and Lancelot, and the treachery of Arthur's son Mordred are all rendered into contemporary prose with Ackroyd's characteristic charm and panache. Just as he did with his fresh new version of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Ackroyd now brings one of the cornerstones of English literature to a whole new audience.
a deep bow. He saluted her in turn. ‘Fair lady,’ he said, ‘whose sword is that, being held above the water? I wish that it were mine.’ ‘Arthur,’ she replied, ‘the sword is mine. But if you will present me with a gift, for which I will ask you soon, then I will give the sword to you.’ ‘What is this gift you desire? It will be yours.’ ‘Go into the barge over there. Row yourself to the sword, and take it with its scabbard out of the water. I will ask you for my gift when the time comes.’ Arthur
wonder,’ Bagdemagus said. ‘This herb cannot be seen in the ordinary light of day. It is visible only in the light of holiness. No man could find it if he were not blessed.’ It so happened that on this same journey he came upon the great rock where Merlin had been consigned by Nineve. As soon as he heard the magician wailing and sighing, he dismounted and strode over to the rock. He tried to lift it, but it would have taken the strength of a hundred men to move it one inch. Merlin told him to
of the field, and told them that two good knights had come close to killing each other. ‘If I had known who he was,’ he said, ‘I would never have raised my sword against him.’ Then Accolon called to all the spectators. ‘Kneel down. This is your king. This is Arthur.’ They all fell to their knees and cried out for forgiveness. ‘I grant you mercy,’ the king said. ‘You see what happens when two knights are led astray. I have fought here with one of my own men. We are both badly hurt. I crave
went to Tristram’s chamber. He found him fully armed, and ready to depart; he knew that his identity had been discovered. His horse was waiting for him in the courtyard. ‘It will do you no good, sir,’ the king told him, ‘to thwart my anger by trying to escape. Out of love and respect for you, I promise you this. I will allow you to leave this court in safety if you tell me who you really are. And if you tell me the truth about the killing of Marhalt.’ ‘I will not lie to you, sir,’ Tristram
truth. I shall love you all the more for your honesty.’ ‘I will speak the truth to you, my lord. On the night that my husband died a stranger came to Tintagel in his shape; he had the same speech, and the same countenance, as the duke. There were two companions with him, whom I thought to be Sir Brastias and Sir Jordanus. So I was deceived. I did my duty, and lay beside him in our bed. I swear to God that, on the same night, this child was conceived.’ ‘I know, sweet wife, that you are speaking