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Arthur : At The Crossing Places Hardcover – 23 Aug 2001
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"The Seeing Stone is being heralded as a classic in the making and pre-publication reviews include: "it is of course wonderful to read such a lyrical, authoritative and accessible retelling of the Arthurian legends.. best of all is the figure of Arthur de Caldicot, a true child of his time, would-be man of action and poet in spite of himself. I truly love this book." Jan Mark; "another sparkling tale from this master storyteller." Tara Stephenson in The Bookseller"
The second magnificent volume in the ARTHUR trilogySee all Product description
Top customer reviews
King Arthur was reduced to a cardboard 'Arthur-in-the stone', equally cardboard were Guinevere, Lancelot and the clichéd knights of the round table.
the author should have focused on Arthur De Caldicot, his relationships with variuos engaging young girls including the lovable Gatty (some truly touching scenes with Gatty and Arthur) the young noblewomen Winnie, Grace, Rowena and Izzie and the chambermaid and young mother Tanwen. As well as his training as a squire, and the spiteful jealousy of his foster-brother Serle, Arthur's discovery of his real origin, search for his mother, and preparations for the crusade.
I did not like the stereotyping of Jews in the hook-nosed money lender Jacob but thought the touching on of his orphaned little daughter Miriam held promise. but none of this could be devloped properly because of the constant references to the cardboard Arthur-in-the stone
Just as in "The Seeing Stone", the story is narrated by Arthur over the course of 101 short chapters, each one no more usually than a handful of pages in length. In these he describes not only daily life on the manor at Holt, but also the visions he receives through his obsidian seeing stone, of his namesake King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Compared with the previous volume, however, the sections set within the seeing stone lack coherence, and do not seem to bear as much relevance to Arthur's real life, even though they take up a greater proportion of the book. This can prove frustrating at times, particularly since Arthur's own quest takes some time to develop.
Nevertheless, the writing is still as poetic and evocative as before, with touches both of humour and of sadness, and an authentic feel which is never heavy-handed. Crossley-Holland has an exceptional eye for detail; the depth of his research as well as his passion for his subject are evident. Every location is expertly and clearly evoked - the splendour of Holt castle forms an excellent contrast to the humble manor of Caldicot, the place of Arthur's childhood. Meanwhile the characters - from kind Lord Stephen to two-faced Haket, the village priest - are well-drawn and each have their own characteristics. In particular it is hard not to be touched by Arthur's relationship with Gatty, the daughter of the reeve at Caldicot, especially as their close friendship blurs into love. Indeed it is the lightness of the author's touch that makes these scenes all the more powerful.
"At the Crossing-Places" is, all in all, an admirable sequel. While it may lack some of the drama of "The Seeing Stone", it nevertheless lays firm foundations for the final book in the trilogy, "King of the Middle March".
This book, like the first in the trilogy, is cut short into 101 chapters, and the chapters chop and change between the story of Arthur of the Marches and the myth of King Arthur in the stone. Being used to the short chapters from the previous novel, I barely noticed them. Unfortunately, though, I just couldn't enjoy the story of the mythological Arthur in this novel. I found the sections about the legend of King Arthur seemed muddled and didn't have any continuity to them, making them difficult to read and follow. There also seems to be a greater emphasis on the mythology story in this novel as well, whereas in the first book it was used less often.
In all, although I still enjoyed the story of young Arthur in the Marches at his crossing point between boyhood and manhood, and the vivid descriptions of medieval life, I felt the legend of Arthur sections could have been used to tie the book together a lot better. As it is, they are just a confusing muddle and I was left disappointed.
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i love the way the story never stops; the first chapter continues where the last...Read more
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