King Arthur and His Knights by Maude L. Radford WarrenMaude Radford Warrens King Arthur and His Knights is actually very similar to The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles (https:///book/show/1...). Being that both books are retellings of the Arthurian Saga, that much is to be expected, of course, but if you choose to read only one, I highly recommend Maude Radford Warrens version.
Many of the stories of Arthur and his knights related by both authors are in fact strikingly similar, and so much so, that at times one may feel a serious case of deja vu creeping in. Even the dialog seems to be suspiciously identical in some cases. Yet there are at least two very clear reasons why Warren tells these time honored tales somewhat better than Knowles.
For starters, Knowles prose is written in a much older style, with grammar, syntax and even numerous old English spellings that are often closer to Shakespeare than to the much more easily decipherable late nineteenth century works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for example. Warrens King Arthur is much more palatable because her writing is not only the familiar early twentieth century variety of English, but the tales are told in a very simple, straightforward fashion that really makes the text genuinely accessible to modern audiences. To be sure, as a voracious reader of Grail Lore, I certainly cant complain about reading old English. Its all perfectly clear to me in most cases, but certainly does take a bit more time and effort to digest.
In fact, Knowles book is probably more than twice as long as Warrens, and the former naturally includes more material, but what really impressed me most about the latter version was the way Ms. Warren managed to personalize the characters and situations - particularly in the ending, which is told in a much more evocative fashion than I recall having read in the Knowles book. Seriously! Not only were the dialog and story details more interesting than in Knowles version, but in more than one instance, Maud Radford Warrens words even brought tears to my eyes - something that I do not recall experiencing when reading Knowles.
All in all, this is a great book. If you have even a passing interest in medieval folklore, or the King Arthur legend, I highly recommend this version of the saga. Its well written, easy to read and highly engaging. Although told in more or less modern prose, it should be noted that if youre used to reading stuff by George R. R. Martin or the like, you almost certainly will not have the same experience reading this book. King Arthur and His Knights is NOT a modern styled medieval soap opera full of sex, gore and twenty-first century style easy morality, with characters that are suddenly and unceremoniously offed for the sake of keeping the narrative interesting.
Rather, these are the time honored tales of King Arthur and his knights of the legendary Round Table. No more, no less. Maude Radford Warrens skillful retelling of the Arthurian Saga is accessible to anyone, young or old, and thats a very, very good thing. Martins Song of Ice and Fire series is of course stellar stuff, written for a modern audience spoiled by blockbuster movies and big budget HBO series, with gratuitous nude scenes and all that, but Ill take a good retelling of the story that started it all any old day.
For without these wonderful tales, there might not even be a Martin, much less a Tolkien. And even the Star Wars saga might have turned out quite a bit differently. Naturally, I love all the assorted myths and legends of mankind, old or new, but this story of a good king, his magical sword and his legendary realm of a bygone era has certainly been around for a long, long time. And even if it doesnt take place in a galaxy far, far away, it will no doubt still be influencing writers for countless years to come. So heres to the future as well the past. Heres to King Arthur. And Maude Radford Warren too, of course. She did a better than average job of retelling these wonderful old stories.
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