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The Once And Future King

Staff Review

Staff Pick

Original
Connie
HPB Staff

The Once And Future King

by White, T. H.
An aging but still wonderful retelling of the Arthurian legends.

The Once and Future King is a compilation of 4 novels, each dealing with a different point in King Arthur's life. Based heavily on Le Mort d'Arthur by Malory, White takes the old stories and offers a modern retelling with some of his own embellishments. White's story is in turns funny, touching, noble, romantic, and terribly tragic. The story is so broad in scope that it's difficult to summarize. Interestingly, Arthur is one of the less memorable characters in the novel. One is more likely to remember the lively Merlyn, who lives his life backwards and almost certainly offered inspiration for Harry Potter's Dumbledore. Also featured prominently is the noble and tortured Sir Lancelot. A homely man who is the best knight in the land and believes in the idea of justice over might, his noble and pious ideas are at odds with his love for Guenevere, his best friend's wife, and many tear-stained pages are dedicated to his attempts to extinguish his passion. As is alluded throughout, it isn't justice that wins in the end, but the might and trickery of the unsavory characters, who are still remarkably sympathetic. The five Orkney brothers, presented as antagonistic allies throughout the entire novel, eventually bring everything to ruin, but not before making the reader see their side. Along the way, we see many tournaments, quashed rebellions, quests, magical detours, deaths, spurned lovers, animal transformations, and much hand-wringing about what is right and just. Written between 1938 and 1958, The Once and Future King is a slow and slightly cumbersome read due to the language used and the repetition of points throughout. Additionally, the frequent and jarring anachronisms are made worse by the fact they reference early 20th century phenomena and are sometimes difficult to understand. Unrelated to the writing style, another problem was White's attempts to reconcile the legends with his own sympathetic characters. White's kind and patient Arthur is not the man that sent a boat of infants to their deaths, but it has to happen. Having said that, it's still a rollicking tale, and if you can make it past the first few chapters, it comes highly recommended.

 
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Describes King Arthur's life from his childhood to the coronation, creation of the Round Table, and search for the Holy Grail



  • Condition: Used - Good
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): Book may have been read. Looks new and has no defects. May show remainder marks. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Near Fine (NF): Clean, with no defects, but may show slight wear at edges of book or dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows signs of wear. May have minor defects: clipped or chipped dust jacket; owner’s inscription; remainder mark; minor foxing or bumping. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. May have any of the defects above to a greater degree, including highlighting, library markings, or loose bindings. Rare and collectible books may have cocked spine, cracked hinges, water stains; torn or repaired dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): May be very worn, soiled, torn, or barely holding together. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): May have extensive damage from moisture or insects; detached boards; parts may be missing; marginally salable unless very unusual. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Sold by: HPB Hamburg Pavilion
  • Seller rating:
  • Language: --
  • Publisher: Ace Books
  • ISBN-13: 9780441627400
  • ISBN: 0441627404
  • Publication Year: 1987


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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): Book may have been read. Looks new and has no defects. May show remainder marks. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Near Fine (NF): Clean, with no defects, but may show slight wear at edges of book or dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows signs of wear. May have minor defects: clipped or chipped dust jacket; owner’s inscription; remainder mark; minor foxing or bumping. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. May have any of the defects above to a greater degree, including highlighting, library markings, or loose bindings. Rare and collectible books may have cocked spine, cracked hinges, water stains; torn or repaired dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): May be very worn, soiled, torn, or barely holding together. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): May have extensive damage from moisture or insects; detached boards; parts may be missing; marginally salable unless very unusual. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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