It is 1202, and thousands of knights and footsoldiers are mustering in Venice for the Fourth Crusade. Among them is young Arthur de Caldicot, squire to Lord Stephen. It is thrilling to be part of this huge gathering; but as Christian falls upon Christian and Saracens draw their scimitars, Arthur's eyes are opened to the realities of war. Looking into his seeing stone for guidance, he realises that the exploits of King Arthur and his knights, like those of the crusaders, are as grim as they are glorious. Meanwhile Arthur has his own concerns: Gatty, his betrothal, his dream of finding his mother, his relationship with his violent father and his churlish foster-brother. When he finally returns to England, all he has lost and all he has won come together. War, romance, murder, family quarrels, power politics, the conflict between Christianity and Islam: all these are elements in a story packed with drama and colour. Its vivid picture of daily life in medieval times is shot through with earthy comedy and the magic of the Arthurian legends. Darker and deeper than the first two books, this is a marvellous ending to a trilogy that has utterly captivated its readers.
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(216mm x 138mm x 44mm)
Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The final volume in the acclaimed Arthur trilogy sees 16-year-old Arthur de Caldicot on his way to the fourth Crusade. The year is 1202. In Venice, a mighty army of knights and foot soldiers is being assembled as they await the completion of a fleet of ships. The twin powers of religion and politics are being played against each other in a bloodthirsty campaign against the Saracens, in faraway Jerusalem. Crusaders from many nations are gathering to spill the blood of the foreign infidels and liberate the Holy Land for the one true God. Plunged into this melee, the newly knighted Arthur discovers that his ideals of Christianity and nobility are brutally contradicted by the unruly violence he sees around him. Longing for his young betrothed wife in England and traumatised by the reality of war, he seeks refuge in his seeing stone, given to him by Merlin four years before. Watching the downfall of the Knights of the Round Table unravel, he comes to a gradual understanding of the wayward nature of men, a small comfort as he observes the murder, rape and pillage inflicted on innocent souls by the Army of Christ. Further anguished by the arrival of his loathsome father, who has constantly thwarted his efforts to find his real mother, Arthur is overwhelmed by confusion, trying hard to live up to his own high principles of chivalry in a world gone mad. As the story of King Arthur draws to its familiar, sad conclusion, the young knight must work out his own answers to the conflict he carries within him before he can find peace. Its intense graphic realism bringing the mediaeval world to life, supported by a richly descriptive text and crammed with colourful historical detail, this is a magnificent conclusion to the bestselling series, which began with the award-winning The Seeing Stone. Kevin Crossley-Holland brings history to life with his own magic touch, making this an absorbing story which cannot fail to satisfy his wide readership. Ages 12+ (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Kevin Crossley-Holland
Kevin Crossley-Holland won the Carnegie Medal in 1985 for STORM. His many notable books for adults and children include poetry, classic retellings and anthologies. He has written and presented many BBC radio programmes and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.