The Once and Future King

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T. H. White’s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.
 
Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values. A future that would see him crowned and known for all time as Arthur, King of the Britons.
 
During Arthur’s reign, the kingdom of Camelot was founded to cast enlightenment on the Dark Ages, while the knights of the Round Table embarked on many a noble quest. But Merlyn foresaw the treachery that awaited his liege: the forbidden love between Queen Guenever and Lancelot, the wicked plots of Arthur’s half-sister Morgause and the hatred she fostered in Mordred that would bring an end to the king’s dreams for Britain—and to the king himself.

“[The Once and Future King] mingles wisdom, wonderful, laugh-out-loud humor and deep sorrow—while telling one of the great tales of the Western world.”Guy Gavriel Kay
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This magical account of King ArthurÕs last night on earth, rediscovered in a collection of T. H. WhiteÕs papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, spent twenty-six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list following its publication in 1977. While preparing for his final, fatal battle with his bastard son, Mordred, Arthur returns to the Animal Council with Merlyn, where the deliberations center on ways to abolish war. More self-revealing than any other of WhiteÕs books, Merlyn shows his mind at work as he agonized over whether to join the fight against Nazi Germany while penning the epic that would become The Once and Future King. The Book of Merlyn has been cited as a major influence by such illustrious writers as Kazuo Ishiguro, J. K. Rowling, Helen Macdonald, Neil Gaiman, and Lev Grossman.

ÒArriving from beyond the curve of time and apparently from the grave, The Book of Merlyn stirs its own pages, saying, wait: you didnÕt get the whole story. . . . It gives us a final glimpse of those two immortal characters, Wart and Merlyn, up close, slo-mo, with a considered and affectionate scrutiny. The book is an elegiac posting from a master storyteller of the twentieth century. Its reissue in our next century is just as welcome as when it first arrived forty years ago. . . . Certainly the moral questions about the military use of force perplex the world still. . . . The efficacy of treaties, the trading of insults among the potentates of the day, the testing of weapons, the weaponizing of tradeÑthese strategies are still front and center. Rather terrifyingly so. We do well to revisit what that old schoolteacher of children, Merlyn, has been trying to point out to us about power and responsibility.Ó
ÑGregory Maguire, from the foreword

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Nov 1, 2011
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Pages
656
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ISBN
9781101657546
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Fiction / Fantasy / Arthurian
Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“One of my favorite fantasy series.” —George R. R. Martin 
“Groundbreaking.” —Patrick Rothfuss 
“One of the great fantasy epics of all time.” —Christopher Paolini

New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ landmark epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle with THE WITCHWOOD CROWN, on sale now!
 
With The Dragonbone Chair, Tad Williams introduced readers to the incredible fantasy world of Osten Ard. His beloved, internationally bestselling series Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn inspired a generation of modern fantasy writers, including George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Christopher Paolini, and defined Tad Williams as one of the most important fantasy writers of our time.

This edition features a brand-new introduction from Tad Williams' editor as well as the original introduction from Williams himself! 

BOOK ONE: THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR
 
A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.
 
Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.
 
After the landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, the epic saga of Osten Ard continues with the brand-new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost. Then don’t miss the upcoming trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard, beginning with The Witchwood Crown!
 
Praise for Osten Ard:
 
“Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy.... It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.”
—George R. R. Martin, New York Times-bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
 
“Groundbreaking...changed how people thought of the genre, and paved the way for so much modern fantasy. Including mine.”
—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times-bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
 
"Tad Williams is a master storyteller, and the Osten Ard books are his masterpiece." —Brandon Sanderson, New York Times-bestselling author of Mistborn

“Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is one of the great fantasy epics of all time.”
—Christopher Paolini, New York Times-bestselling author of Eragon
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