Read The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights: (Sir James Knowles Masterpiece Collection) by James Knowles Online

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King Vortigern the usurper sat upon his throne in London, when, suddenly, upon a certain day, ran in a breathless messenger, and cried aloud- "Arise, Lord King, for the enemy is come; even Ambrosius and Uther, upon whose throne thou sittest-and full twenty thousand with them-and they have sworn by a great oath, Lord, to slay thee, ere this year be done; and even now they mKing Vortigern the usurper sat upon his throne in London, when, suddenly, upon a certain day, ran in a breathless messenger, and cried aloud- "Arise, Lord King, for the enemy is come; even Ambrosius and Uther, upon whose throne thou sittest-and full twenty thousand with them-and they have sworn by a great oath, Lord, to slay thee, ere this year be done; and even now they march towards thee as the north wind of winter for bitterness and haste." At those words Vortigern's face grew white as ashes, and, rising in confusion and disorder, he sent for all the best artificers and craftsmen and mechanics, and commanded them vehemently to go and build him straightway in the furthest west of his lands a great and strong castle, where he might fly for refuge and escape the vengeance of his master's sons-"and, moreover," cried he, "let the work be done within a hundred days from now, or I will surely spare no life amongst you all." Then all the host of craftsmen, fearing for their lives, found out a proper site whereon to build the tower, and eagerly began to lay in the foundations. But no sooner were the walls raised up above the ground than all their work was overwhelmed and broken down by night invisibly, no man perceiving how, or by whom, or what. And the same thing happening again, and yet again, all the workmen, full of terror, sought out the king, and threw themselves upon their faces before him, beseeching him to interfere and help them or to deliver them from their dreadful work. Filled with mixed rage and fear, the king called for the astrologers and wizards, and took counsel with them what these things might be, and how to overcome them. The wizards worked their spells and incantations, and in the end declared that nothing but the blood of a youth born without mortal father, smeared on the foundations of the castle, could avail to make it stand. Messengers were therefore sent forthwith through all the land to find, if it were possible, such a child. And, as some of them went down a certain village street, they saw a band of lads fighting and quarrelling, and heard them shout at one-"Avaunt, thou imp!-avaunt! Son of no mortal man! go, find thy father, and leave us in peace."...

Title : The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights: (Sir James Knowles Masterpiece Collection)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781500322823
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 96 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights: (Sir James Knowles Masterpiece Collection) Reviews

  • Sarah
    2018-12-17 07:16

    I have this affliction. If I start a book, I HAVE to finish it. All my life, pretty much. I'm not sure I remember when I last (or ever) didn't finish a book. Until now.All my knowledge of the Arthurian legends is hearsay or pop-culture interpretations, so when I bought a Kindle and saw all the classics I could get for free, I jumped right on this one as a chance to get some more "original" references to King Arthur in my cultural experiences. Oh, how I wish I hadn't bothered.Firstly, the writing. It's abysmal. Complete stream of consciousness rubbish. Knight X went here. He met this person. They fought to the -death. He met this woman, she was beautiful. He helped her. She was grateful. On and on and ON in this vein. 100% tell and 0% show.Secondly, the knights are all arrogant, judgemental pricks. E.g. Knight X sees 4 men chasing 1 man. He immediately assumes that the 1 man is in the right and the 4 men are in the wrong. Without asking anyone involved why the chase/fight is even occurring, he beats the other 4 men to a pulp to save the lone man.Thirdly, the knights are all thick as two short planks. All any knight has to do is wear the armour of some other knights and when he then meets his closest bosom friends, they have no idea who he is.Fourthly, the women are all completely one-dimensional and exist only to be saved (such beautiful damsels!) or to be saved from (evil wicked sorceresses!).I could go on, but I won't. I forced myself to get just over half the way through and simply could not go on. I suggest you never even give yourself the trouble. Go watch BBC's Merlin and enjoy the slashy subtexts, historical it may not be but at least it's FUN.

  • Chris
    2018-11-24 12:17

    I was able to read this by myself so apparently I'm an 'advanced' reader. Take that, middle school accelerated reader tests!Anyhow, when I was younger I really liked this book. Exciting fights, quests to save princesses, rescuing villages from giants, etc. It was a lot of fun.Now that I'm older it seems more like the story of a bunch of sociopaths wandering the countryside and picking fights with each other because their 'honor' demands it.Okay, that's an exaggeration. The cannibalistic giants needed to be killed and plenty of the false knights were really evil. But that doesn't change the fact that even the good knights pick fights with each other whenever they don't recognize each other (and then hugging and crying when they do). And there's very little characterization. Galahad's incorruptibly pure, Key is a coward, Gawain is hot-headed and Lancelot is a boss but everyone else seems to be roughly the same character. That being said, I did enjoy rereading it if only for the nostalgia and because my knowledge of European history and geography is better so I know where more of these people are from and where the stories are taking place.And a side note that I found funny. When I was a kid I thought this was actual history. Despite the preface talking about how it's all legends, morality tales and chivalric romances. I think I realized I was wrong about the same time I realized that the Soviet Union didn't exist anymore. Ah young, dumb me.

  • Robert
    2018-12-06 07:30

    It is good to read one of the sources that inspired later renditions. I am depressed to hear some disrespecting the story because they have trouble with an older style of writting. Folks, this is the bedrock and foundation of the later tales which have been such a mine for later authors. (That is, grist for the mill.) This is that which inspired the later tales, if you can't see what inspired the authors of later ages, then perhaps you lack the deeper vision.

  • Andrew Obrigewitsch
    2018-12-10 09:19

    I'm going to be charitable and give this 2 stars. These stories may have been entertaining 400 years ago, but literature has greatly advanced, and societally has advanced from being mostly illiterate to highly literate. These stories may be fun to read one a night to your kids, but when done rapidly they wear on one, the characters have no personality and the action consists of sentence after sentence of who smote who with their sword, and then at the end a helm gets cleaved in two, rinse repeat every ten pages.

  • Dejanira Dawn
    2018-11-26 12:23

    I'm going to go back through this and find all the parts where the women were killed because men love their pride.Other than that it was a great read/listen!

  • Duncan
    2018-12-12 05:21

    The story itself is pretty dull: fight a battle, do great deeds, slay the enemy, rescue a damsel or escape from an evil sorceress, fight another battle, do great deeds, slay the enemy, go hunting or jousting, fight another battle...There's little character development. The men are pretty much all brave and heroic and little more, and the women are virtually all either fair maidens in need of rescue or enchantresses trying to do something awful. The story doesn't really develop either. Arthur becomes king, he and his knights build a great empire by fighting endless battles for 80 or 90% of the book, then it all falls apart very quickly at the end from out of nowhere.I found the archaic language in this book delightful and frequently found myself quoting passages to friends who'd appreciate this form of English which has now passed out of usage but is still easy enough to understand without much need for a dictionary.IMO, that's the reason to read this book and the reason why I'd guardedly recommend it to others.

  • Ellen Trautner
    2018-12-11 06:22

    This took me awhile to read because it was my bedtime reading book, and it kept putting me to sleep! More than normal reading does, that is. The whole first half of the book was boringly repetitive, if it was just that, it would have only earned 2 stars from me. The second half picked up, thankfully, and was a much quicker read. It was more what I expected.I chose to read this because I am very unfamiliar with the Camelot story. I've seen Monty Python... and that's about it. Never read any more recent books (meaning from later than the 11th century), never seen the musical, never even seen the Disney movie. I get confused about which knight did what, what's the difference between Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone, the Lady of the Lake, Queen Morgan, Merlin... who does what exactly? After reading this, I can now say: I'm not sure?

  • Meg
    2018-11-26 04:05

    Artù è un altro dei vecchi amici con cui non andavo a parlare da un po' di tempo, e che un po' mi è mancato, via, anche se ci sono momenti in cui io, al proprietario di Excalibur, darei anche un paio di ceffoni... Ma questa è una faccenda tra Artù e me. ;)Ogni tanto, con quello che sentiamo in giro, con le persone che incontriamo, con il valore che viene dato a lealtà e sincerità (dicavallerianon parlerò nemmeno), sognare con i Cavalieri della tavola Rotonda fa bene.

  • Lisa
    2018-11-29 09:22

    I think this material is much better handled by filmmakers and TV producers than lowly readers like myself. I had trouble with the language, and it was not helped by the fact that this kindle edition was sloppy, with many repeats and restarts. I like the underlying adventure, but the writing was far too ornate for my taste.

  • Gaile
    2018-12-08 11:26

    If you haven't read this, you're a loser, You won't understand our culture, the underlying myths and legends in Literature. You may as well be an outcast!

  • Barb Middleton
    2018-12-02 07:10

    Harumph. I didn't expect that. I've read so many books based on the Arthurian legend that I thought it would be a sword and sorcery fantasy plot with the character development of King Arthur. Scrap that thought. Character development takes a back seat to a series of chain-linked mini adventures connected to the knights of the Round Table fighting battles or single combats. King Arthur is hardly even in it. Or Merlin for that matter. The sword and the stone, the quest for the Holy Grail, and the Guinevere and Lancelot tragedy are just small pieces of one gigantic story on fighting. I was mixing my fantasy tropes with legends and the two operate differently. While this legend has magic, the focus is on being a chivalrous knight at all costs. In King Arthur's world, a knight is a disciplined soldier who follows certain military strategies and functions as part of a national army, or in this case, King Arthur's army. From what others say James Knowles retelling is close to Sir Thomas Malory's, Le Morte d'Arthur, except it sounds like Malory used even more battle descriptions. There are so many variations on the tale that I did not realize it is a legend that has influenced fantasy versus the other way around.Historically, there is no denying the importance of this work in literature, but this retelling is not going to appeal to most modern readers. The antiquated language and battles or single combat scenes get monotonous after awhile. The knights prove their valor, courage, and chivalry over and over again. I found it engaging, funny, irritating, fascinating, and tedious. The women are one-dimensional nincompoops. I guarantee you will be offended. They get their heads chopped off either for love or because the rules of the game (whether evil or not) require it. This is one of the major characteristics that defines a chivalrous knight. The rules are more important than death even if they are evil.In one adventure, a good knight, accompanied by a woman, comes to a castle where dwells an evil knight and a lady. The evil knight insists that the beauty of the two be compared and the uglier one have her head chopped off by the winner. The good knight vehemently disagrees with the terms of this because it is an evil custom. He is the good and chivalrous knight, while the other is dishonorable. The two women's looks are compared and the good knight chops off her head because she did not speak against the evil knight's rules. Another adventure involves a knight who accidentally chops off a woman's head that was trying to protect her knight who had cried for mercy after losing a combat. The knight was dishonorable because he lost his head and was unable to stop. Honorable knights don't kill defeated knights asking for mercy. The errant knight is repentant afterwards and carries the woman's head on a rope around his neck to tell King Arthur of his foul deed. The women of King Arthur's court judge his actions and sentence him to protect them whenever they call upon him. He is their knight forevermore. Ugh. Welcome to the bloody Middle Ages folks, when this tale that was first put to paper. Not that the feminine portrayals are surprising. Male heroes dominated the legend genre in literature during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.According to Norton's Anthology of Children's Literature, legends represent historical times and have an oral tradition. Legends were a way of people understanding the unexplained and history of their country. To understand the variations, readers need to understand the sociohistorical context of the times. I won't get into all of that, but it helps knowing it because King Arthur wants to take over lands from the Romans and Saxons. The superiority and snobbery shows how he represents the feudal lord, with the knights as his vassals. No one knows if King Arthur ever existed. He might represent a warrior that fought against the Saxons in 600 C.E. The King Arthur of this legend doesn't make an appearance on paper until ca. 1135 when Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of England). According to this tale Arthur killed hundreds of Saxons, married Guinevere, and held court at Caerleon. His nephew, Mordred, rose up against him and although Arthur defeated him, he was mortally wounded and carried to the island of Avalon. Successive writings added Merlin and the magical sword, Excalibar. Sir Thomas Malory's retelling during the Middle Ages is reminiscent of some heroes found in the Knights-Templar and British history. His books were transformed into short narratives called chapbooks for children in the 1800s. Later James Knowles wrote this particular version for children.Some knights carry white shields or mantles with red crosses, the same clothing of the Knights-Templar, a group of elite knights considered the best fighters during the Crusades. The Templars protected Christians on pilgrimage to Jerusalem from marauders. The knights of the Round Table seem to be a bit like them having religious ascetic ideals mixed with a military role. The knights' actions are always measured against a code of honor. They are flawed and courageous to the point of stupidity. King Arthur is warned to wait for Lancelot and not fight Mordred in battle because he would die. Arthur tries to wait for Lancelot, but a series of events put him in battle against Mordred's army. Even when Arthur's knight tells him to not fight Mordred single-handedly, Arthur does because it is the noble thing to do. He foolishly insists on killing Mordred with his own hands and dies as a result. While these are flawed heroes that make mistakes over and over again, their courage is commendable.This legend is one to be studied in a historical context. It is not your typical read and requires some research. It helped me better understand the legend and what other children's authors were doing in modern versions. I want to reread Gerald Morris' satirical Knights' Tales series again. They are hysterical and would be even funnier now that I've read this retelling. The first book is The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great. A new book that has more of the fantasy element of King Arthur is The Eighth Day, by Dianne K. Salerni. The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland has King Arthur as a young boy struggling to find his path during the Middle Ages. He is the second son of a landowner and cannot inherit the land. He decides to become a squire and then a knight so he can own his own manor at some point. Next I want to read Mark Twain's version and T.H. White's, Sword in the Stone.

  • Paul Lovell
    2018-11-20 09:03

    What a disappointing read. Basically what was said in chapter one was rehashed and regurgitated over and over again throughout the book. Read like a list, he said she said. I only finished it because I wanted to see if ANYTHING other than Good Cheer and Smiting went on... It didn't.

  • Althea Ann
    2018-12-06 04:25

    Highly recommended for fans of Arthurian lore. Inspired by the 19th century popularity of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (the introduction makes much of the author’s friendship with Tennyson), this retelling is based on Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. I grew up on the Malory edition edited by Pollard (with Arthur Rackham’s wonderful illustrations), so these two books ought to be quite similar. Are they? Hmm. I haven’t read my old book in a while – though it’s now available free from archive.org: https://archive.org/details/ofkingart...From a quick perusal – yes, there’s a similarity, but not so much that it’s not worthwhile to read both books. Both update and abridge the text, making it bit easier for a modern audience to read, while maintaining the medieval flavor of the language. Even if the text were identical, this edition would be worthwhile just for the illustrations. Louis Rhead was an extremely popular illustrator, up until the 1920s, and the images here show why. He does a great job of meshing the romantic style of the day with historical detail and Celtic design elements. Absolutely gorgeous.Revisiting the content for the first time in many years reminds one how many layers have been laid over the original legends. While the illustrations reflect the romance and chivalry that we expect from these stories, the stories themselves are another thing. These are not stories that reflect the romantic ideals of the 19th century, and certainly not the attitudes of the 21st. The attitudes displayed here are literally right out of the middle ages. His knights pay lip service to honor and courtesy, and not much more. These are petty, jealous, violent men. They quarrel constantly and for no reason. It’s dishonorable to kill your own brother, but pretty much anyone else is fair game. Women are frequently treated as property. Combat is the expected way to resolve any dispute, and a way to prove one’s worth. (Although noble blood is also expected to ‘tell’ – a low-born boy who shows talent at knightly pursuit must, of course, actually be a knight’s bastard.) These attitudes are woven in with a mystical/magical view of Christianity which is also very alien to a modern conception of the religion. It’s fascinating!Aside from giving an accurate glimpse into the culture and issues of another time, this book would also lend itself quite well to a drinking game. A shot every time someone’s head is either ‘smote’ directly off or cleaved in two, would get you wasted pretty quickly! ;-)A copy of this Dover e-book edition was provided by NetGalley - which affects my opinion not at all. THANKS!

  • Daniel Carr
    2018-12-07 12:21

    I was unfortunately disappointed with this collection of stories. I can appreciate the attempt to render a tale of these classic figures with accuracy, but the genre and style seemed so rambling and dry that it ruined much of the magic. It seemed fixated on telling assorted tales one after another without much character or plot development. Also, we see a clearly simple anthropology - man and woman are stereotypes and good and evil look a certain way.One thing I did appreciate was the clear connection between these stories and their Christian background. It would be impossible to accurately describe these accounts without their roots in Christian liturgy, feasts, and moral perspective, despite most of our modern renditions omitting this connection.I wish I could say that I enjoyed these stories - generally I liked the beginning and the end, but the tales of individual knights seemed to drag on throughout the middle portion and it became an exercise of simply finishing for completion's sake.

  • Ben Hilburn
    2018-12-02 09:13

    I've always wanted to read the King Arthur tales, and this appeared to be the "real original" set of stories, passed down hundreds of years ago and finally recorded for posterity.Unfortunately, I have this problem where once I start a book I feel like I have to finish it, even if it's killing me. These stories are atrocious.The one lesson from this book is that if anyone ever complains that "chivalry is dead" or wishes for the return of "chivalry", they have clearly never read this book. Apparently, chivalry is trying to kill anyone you happen across to prove yourself, treating women as either damsels to save or witches to burn, and generally just calling each other "worshipful" instead of arrogant and barbaric.Also, the stories are horrible. Just, save yourself the trouble. Go watch "First Knight" with Sean Connery. It might not be the "original" stories, but I promise it's better.

  • David
    2018-11-19 06:28

    James Knowle's retelling of the classic stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table, taking in Arthur's birth and upbringing, the Sword in the Stone, Merlin, Excalibur, the Green Knight, the Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot and Guineveire, the Quest for the Holy Grail and even Arthur's final battle and (supposed) death.As such, it covers pretty much all the bases - it's just a pity that the prose itself isn't really all that engaging. For a better take on the same subject matter, readThe Once and Future King byTH White (or, if you prefer silliness, watch Monty Python and The Quest for the Holy Grail).

  • Brittani Ivan
    2018-11-24 11:14

    The lengths to which this would go to avoid the more unsavoury bits of Arthurian Literature were hilarious. This is definitely an abridgment meant for children, but it retains much of the spirit of the original tales it compresses (although, as one commenter noted, his abridgment has lost some of the thematic depth that prevents the knights from always coming across as murderous psychopaths). I would recommend it to other readers of Arturian literature and to scholars of the Victorian age, as it has much to offer as a text for study of the evolution of those tales and the period it came from, and to children as a way to get them used to the sort of language emlpoyed by Malory and most translators of de Troyes and the lays.

  • Anne Lydolf
    2018-12-12 08:24

    A very long, very repetitive story about a bunch of hotheaded idiots that only care about fighting and killing. They fight whoever they meet over the smallest things and without asking names. That leads to many misunderstandings of killing friends and family... Every other line of this story is someone starting a fight and killing someone over nothing. Its a wonder any grown men are even alive still. Plain horrible.

  • Rina
    2018-12-10 07:18

    This was an awesome series! I just loved it. There are many things about elves, faeries, enchanted creatures, and even romance. This was totally the kind of book that I like, as I love things about the medieval times.

  • Morgan Frey
    2018-11-17 12:32

    Can anyone recommend to me an un-Christianised version of King Arthur? If he was real, he's dated just before the arrival of Christianity and in any case, I highly doubt he conquered Rome *eye roll*

  • Orla Agnew
    2018-11-24 09:22

    Tbh didn't finish this which is like totally out of character for me but it was a bit boring and I was having to force myself to read it so it wasn't as enjoyable as I'd have hoped

  • Rocky Sunico
    2018-12-05 09:02

    I read this book because of our on-going Pendragon campaign and admittedly I was a little surprised. Sure, this is a highly Christian-slanted spin to the legends but on the whole our "modern" understanding of Arthurian mythology based on popular media is rather far from how some of these stories have been told over the years.A key difference lies in defining what exactly was the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot as more recent movies have glamorized this to the point of heightening the scandal when in this version it was more a confusion as part of a larger plot to put Mordred in power. Fascinating stuff.All that aside, too many of the individuay stories follow the set pattern of a knight hiding his identity, then jousting anyone in his path and later the big reveal is one that as defined many of the stories. That makese sense of course as I'm sure this involved the merging of stories from diferent areas that followed a similar structure.It's not an easy book to read and it's too easy to get confused with the characters as you'll encounter names that pop up in the background in many stories without getting a true spotlight moment. But as a royalty-free read, it's a fair enough experience.

  • Roberta
    2018-12-03 11:28

    So I had to stop reading this book because it was driving me crazy! I rarely give up on a book. At one point, Arthur slew a giant (um, like David and Goliath...?)At another point, Arthur and his knights traveled to Rome where he was crowned Emperor and all of Rome--citizens, legions, Senators, and the current Emperor were all thrilled to acknowledge him as their supreme leader (must have missed that in the history books). And then there were the descriptions of the knights -- who struck their opponents so hard that both they and their horse tumbled to the ground (over and over and over). I read approximately 60% of the book, but just couldn't go any further! Maybe you have to be in the right frame of mind to take this one on? Sigh!

  • Rachel Lankester
    2018-12-03 09:21

    Being a fan of Arthurian Legend I thought I would read this book to give me more of an insight into the actual stories, rather than limiting my view to just that of the media! However I really had to force myself to read it as it was particularly dull and difficult to follow, no doubt due to the understandably incredibly old writing style. I enjoyed some aspects that I was previously more familiar with, such as the sword in the stone, the round table, Guinevere and Lancelot, Merlin and the Lady of the Lake etc, but found it hard to really get into the stories and felt I was ultimately forcing myself to read it for the sake of it.

  • Pierre
    2018-12-05 10:13

    I was curious about the Arthurian legends, and I wasn't sure I wanted to take on Thomas Malory's 'Le Mort d'Arthur' on the back of quite a few heavy books recently. So instead I tried Knowles' victorian abridged version, only to have to wade through a child's stream-of-consciousness while having a chivalry based magical fever dream.It sort of satisfied my interest in the broad strokes, but it's really poor as something for an adult to read. At some point I might give Malory a go. But not for a while.

  • Nathan Clarke
    2018-11-19 12:04

    Knowles rewriting of Mallory's 1470's legend carries with it the thoughts and morals of the 15th century. For modern readers the book most often leaves the reader wanting. The value of the text lies in the historical context of it's writing. If one desires to enjoy a book for the stories and adventures, they would be better served with more modern versions. If one desires to gain insight into how medieval elite thought and prioritized, there may be some worth to it.

  • Tagcaver
    2018-12-09 09:19

    Not what I expected!One of my favorite old movies is Camelot with Richard Burton and Vanessa Redgrave, so I thought this book would be enjoyable. Boy was I in for a surprise. Yes, the story of Camelot is in there but you have to get through all the battles and smiting that goes on. It’s very tedious reading, especially with the archaic language that the book is written in. I think I’ll just watch the movie again.

  • Christa
    2018-11-23 05:13

    Yeah, I'm good with never reading this again. It's tedious and repetitive. I should have kept track of how many times one of the knights smote someone. These aren't legends. They are poorly written stories with no point. A knight goes here and smotes someone and then he goes there and saves a damsel. On and on for 200+ pages.

  • Glenn
    2018-12-17 12:02

    Yes, it is somewhat monotonous, and yes the characters are very simple, however this is literature that is six hundred years old based on legends nine hundred years older than that. You have to take it for what it is. If you are at all interested in Arthurian legends and modern interpretations, you should read this, or at least the beginning and end of it.

  • Alex Hayden
    2018-11-23 06:32

    Archaic language makes this a challenging read. But if you can get past it, this language barrier actually serves to further draw you into the chivalry, romance and magic of this classic story. I highly recommend.