An excellent nonfiction source for background on the legend is Quest
for a King: Searching for the Real King Arthur by Catherine M.
Andronik (1989, Atheneum.). Named Best Book for Young Adults by the
American Library Association, this book tells how Arthur really
lived--if he lived at all. It traces the development of the myth
through the Middle Ages and has excellent illustrations of
archeological evidence, sites and objects associated with Arthur.|
T.H. White's The Once and Future King (Collins, 1958) has endured
since 1937 as one of the most popular introductions to the legends.
White also wrote The Book of Merlyn (University of Texas Press, 1977)
which has become very popular with young adult audiences. Rosemary
Sutcliff is one of the best and most prolific fiction writers using
Arthurian motifs. Her trilogy, The Sword and the Circle (Dutton,
1981), The Light beyond the Forest (Dutton, 1979), and The Road to
Camlann (Dutton, 1982) are the finest retellings of the original
legend for youth. Her adult novel Sword at Sunset (Coward McCan, 1963)
places Artos the Bear in the Dark Ages with meticulous historical
accuracy. In its prequel for young readers, The Lantern-Bearers
(Walck, 1959) fictional Romanized Briton Aquila meets the young Artos.
Thomas Berger's fat adult novel Arther Rex (Delacorte, 1978) makes
comedy of the legend's gaps between reality and romance.
Several fine trilogies top the list of other fiction: Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy includes The Crystal Cave (1970),
The Hollow Hills (1973), and The Last Enchantment (1979).
Stewart's The Wicked Day is also a treatment of the the Arthur myth
(Fawcett Crest Paperbacks, 1983).
The first volume of Patricia Kennealy's projected Tales of Arthur
is The Hawk's Grey Feather (Penguin/ROC, 1990), which connects
Arthur to her Celtic trilogy, The Keltiad (Dutton).
Persia Woolley's trilogy focuses on Guinevere in Child of the
Northern Spring (1987), Queen of the Summer Stars (1990) and
Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn (Simon & Schuster, 1991) as does
Sharan Newman in her three books: Guinevere (1981), The Chessboard
Queen (1983) and Guinevere Evermore (St. Martins Press, 1985).
Gillian Bradshaw's darkly lyrical trilogy which includes Hawk of
May (1980), Kingdom of Summer (1981), and In Winter's Shadow
(Simon &Schuster, 1982) differs from others by centering on Gawain
and drawing mainly on Welsh sources.
Parke Godwin's adult trilogy renders the entire legend in rich
historic detail in Firelord (Doubleday, 1980), Beloved Exile
(Bantam, 1984) and The Last Rainbow (Bantam, 1985). Invitation
to Camelot (Ace, 1988) is an anthology featuring stories by Tanith
Lee, Morgan Llywelyn, Jane Yolen, and others.
Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle focuses on the panoramic sweep
of the legend, beginning in Atlantis in Taliesin (Avon, 1987).
Merlin (1988), Arthur (1989), and Pendragon (1994) continue the series.
Other books that we have found Young Adults enthusiastic about:
Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey
Merlin's Dreams (Delacorte, 1988) by Peter Dickinson
The Elixir (Knopf, 1971) by Robert Nathan
The Book of Brendan (Holiday House, 1989) by Ann Curry
Excalibur (Ballantine, 1978) by Sanders Anne Laubenthal
Winter of Magic's Return (Atheneum, 1985) by Pamela F. Service;
also Tomorrow's Magic (Atheneum, 1987)
The Last Pendragon (1991, Walker & Company) by Robert Rice
In the last hundred years, at least two hundred versions of Arthur's
legend in fiction have delighted readers. Happy Arthur-hunting!