Few tales cast a spell quite as lasting as the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The timeless saga of medieval magic and adventure, passion and betrayal has been shared throughout the ages, inspiring everything from hit movies and Broadway musicals to a kingdom’s worth of fantasy literature.
Ready to embark on your own epic literary quest through this magical realm? The following King Arthur books and Camelot books capture the splendor and sorcery of King Arthur’s world, spanning sci-fi and fantasy to probing works of history and bold new narratives of the queens behind the throne. Whether you’re charmed by Merlin’s wizardry, intrigued by Arthur’s adventures, or captivated by the forbidden love of Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot, you’re sure to find a magical read in the selections below. Suit up and go forth, good knight!
The Queens of Camelot
Award-winning author Sarah Zettel combines sorcery and passion with epic adventure in this four-part fantasy romance series focused on the legendary women of Camelot. Drawing on Arthurian tales of old to craft her fresh perspective, Zettel captures the intrigues and interior lives of the ladies, maidens, and queens of the realm, from the magical Elen and Lady Risa of the Morelands to High Queen Guinevere.
Jane Yolen is a wizard at tapping into the magic of myth to craft her enchanting narratives; after all, the multiple award-winning author is known as America’s modern-day Hans Christian Anderson. In Merlin’s Booke, Yolen revamps the Camelot legend to conjure King Arthur’s enigmatic tutor and sage: the great magician Merlin. Comprised of short stories and poems, Yolen transports you to the dark and enchanted world of King Arthur’s court, capturing its splendor and sorcery while summoning new tales about its famed “shape-changer, Druid high priest, wizard extraordinaire.”
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King Arthur's Wars
Curious about the wellspring of ancient history that flows through the Arthurian saga? In this sweeping work, lecturer and military historian Jim Storr surveys the English countryside in search of the evidence and artifacts left behind by Anglo-Saxon conquerors as they vied for control of post-Roman Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries. Meticulously researched and enriched with maps and illustrations, King Arthur’s Wars illuminates the military and political landscape of Dark Ages England and explores the lasting spell of Camelot and King Arthur, delivering an engrossing read for fans of ancient history and Arthurian lore.
Acclaimed author Thomas Berger is best known for Little Big Man, his sprawling and satirical take on the outsized myths of the American West. In Arthur Rex, the author applies his wit to the tales of King Arthur and Camelot. Berger breathes new life into the warrior king’s fabled journey: from Arthur’s rise and grand reign to his demise in the battle against Modred. The result is a “splendid” (New York Times Book Review) spin on Camelot’s classic heroes and villains, and a fresh and funny reimagining of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and the Knights of the Round Table.
Richard Monaco looks to the legend of Parsival, one of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table who quested for the Holy Grail, to craft this thrilling Arthurian narrative. Set in an extraordinary realm of myth and magic, yet written in a lean and contemporary style, Monaco delivers a gripping tale of heroism and heartbreak that beats with a modern pulse.
In sci-fi and fantasy, Andre Norton reigns supreme. The SFWA Grand Master published over 100 works throughout her career, often drawing on myths to craft her stellar narratives. Steel Magic, the first in the author’s Magic Sequence series, follows three siblings as they travel to the world of King Arthur and embark on a wondrous quest. Sara and her brothers are exploring their uncle’s Hudson Valley estate in search of a rumored lost lake when a gray mist envelops them. When the mist finally clears, the siblings find themselves transported to the age of Camelot and King Arthur. To save the realm from the encroaching darkness, Sara and her brothers must recover three magic talismans—or remain forever lost in time.
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Brutus of Troy
Fans of antiquity will find much to love in Anthony Adolph’s quest through the centuries in search of Brutus of Troy, the mythological founder of Britain and ancestor of King Arthur. Brutus was said to have led a voyage from Greece to Britain, where he vanquished giants to become the first king of the island realm. During his fabled rule, Brutus laid the groundwork for what would become London and established a regal bloodline that flowed through King Arthur to the ancestors of today’s Royal Family. Adolph, a professional genealogist and broadcaster, explores the enduring legend of Brutus of Troy through history and fiction, revealing the crucial role it played in establishing England’s identity and the ways in which it inspired playwrights and poets from Shakespeare to Blake.
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King and Raven
In this dark tale of fantasy and revenge, Cary James leaves the exalted halls of Camelot and introduces us to a peasant farmer named Micah of Greenfarm, better known as Raven. Raven lives in the shadow of Camelot, toiling in the fields and having little to do with the royal life of King Arthur. But that all changes when a gang of Arthur’s knights descends upon Raven’s sister, raping and then murdering her. Raven swears an oath of vengeance, embarking on an elaborate mission to infiltrate the high courts of Camelot and King Arthur’s inner circle to exact his revenge.
In this cosmic retelling of the King Arthur legend, Andre Norton returns to Camelot—infusing the medieval tale with sci-fi flourishes and celestial awe. A beacon buried deep within a cave on Earth calls out to space-faring lords of the stars; Merlin, a star-born sorcerer touched by an alien intelligence, seeks to restore lost technologies and revive humanity’s ascent to the heavens; the Lady of the Lake receives signals beamed down to her from an outpost in the cosmos; Arthur rises in the ranks to fulfill his celestial destiny. Vividly rendered, Merlin’s Mirror delivers a dazzling new vision of the adventures of King Arthur.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
No list of Camelot books would be complete without Mark Twain’s seminal time-traveling satire. After suffering a hostile blow to the head, Connecticut firearms factory supervisor Hank Morgan awakes to find himself in King Arthur’s Camelot in the year 528. Needless to say, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table are not particularly welcoming to this oddly dressed visitor; soon, Hank is sentenced to burn at the stake. Now, the accidental time traveler must use his wits if he hopes to escape. Published in 1889, Twain’s timeless tale lampoons both the swords and chivalry of Arthurian legend and the politics and concerns of late-1800s America. It’s also viewed as a foundational text in the subgenre of time travel sci-fi.
The Story of King Arthur and his Knights
Originally published in 1903, Howard Pyle’s illustrated narrative chronicles the intrigues and adventures of the heroes of Camelot over the course of two books, both of which are collected in this volume. Book one, “The Book of Arthur”, tracks King Arthur’s legendary rise: his encounter with the Lady of the Lake, his procuring of the magical sword Excalibur, his courtship of Guinevere, and his transformation into Britain’s hero king. The second book, “The Book of Three Worthies”, focuses on Merlin, Sir Pellias, and Sir Gawaine. Pyle was a celebrated visual artist and children’s book author, and is widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest illustrators. The Story of King Arthur and his Knights is a striking reflection of the Arthurian saga.
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The Fall of Arthur
In the early 1930s, fantasy titan J.R.R. Tolkien set out to chronicle the last battle of King Arthur in epic verse, in the style of Beowulf. Alas, he abandoned the project by the mid-1930s, instead turning his attention to the upcoming publication of The Hobbit. Tolkien’s poetic retelling of Arthur’s doomed campaign against Modred is now presented here—and while unfinished, it bristles with power, passion, tragedy, and promise. Accompanying Tolkien’s lyrical work are three revealing essays by the author’s son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien. Christopher’s essays explore Arthurian literary traditions, the evolution of The Fall of Arthur and Tolkien’s meticulous effort in creating it, as well as the unfinished poem’s connection to The Silmarillion and the mythology of Middle Earth.
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The Once and Future King
In this “richly imagined and unfailingly eloquent” work (Booklist), English author and historian T.H. White delivers a masterful adaption of the King Arthur legends. Suffused with humor, heroism, and human frailty, White presents Arthur’s journey in contemporary language while retaining its mythic sweep and splendor: from the future king’s early years under the tutelage of Merlyn to his ascent to the throne, his founding of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table, and, finally, King Arthur’s tragic downfall. The Once and Future King is a classic of Arthurian literature, inspiring both the Disney animated feature The Sword and the Stone and the Broadway musical Camelot. Readers interested in tracing White’s inspiration back to its source should seek out Sir Thomas Malory’s definitive 15th century chronicle of the stories of King Arthur, Le Morte d’Arthur.
Queen of Camelot
Queen Guinevere springs to life in this celebrated work by historical fiction author Nancy McKenzie. McKenzie recasts the Arthurian saga and the story of Camelot through the viewpoint of Guinevere, chronicling the future queen’s fated birth and early years in Wales, her courtship with King Arthur and their rise to power, and the crucial choices that lead to the kingdom’s downfall.
The Crystal Cave
British novelist Mary Stewart recounts the origins of King Arthur through the voice of sorcerer Merlin in this transfixing tale, the first in the author’s Arthurian Saga series. The Crystal Cave tells of the perilous early years of a boy named Myrdden Emrys, born the bastard son of a Welsh princess. The child struggles to fit in and understand the strange visions that beset him. As he comes of age, however, Myrdden will transform into Merlin, and use his growing powers to usher into this realm the king for once and always. Stewart followed The Crystal Cave with The Hollow Hills and The Last Enchantment. Both are narrated by Merlin, and chart Arthur’s ascent and kingship in Camelot. The Wicked Day, the fourth entry in the author’s series, focuses on the doomed battle between King Arthur and his son Modred. Stewart’s final Saga book, The Prince and the Pilgrim, is a self-contained novel set during King Arthur’s reign. Together, these fantasy narratives represent a fully realized version of the Arthurian legend, filled with adventure, magic, and romance.
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Sword at Sunset
Forget the gleaming suits of armor and high white towers of Camelot. In Sword at Sunset, Rosemary Sutcliff strips clear the chivalry and medieval make-believe, transforming King Arthur into the Dark Ages warrior king Artos the Bear. Old Britain is presented here in all its darkness and barbarity, a primitive pagan land where a few brave souls clash with Saxon hordes and fight for the future of the island realm. Powerfully written and lush with period detail, Sutcliff’s spellbinding epic “leaves you convinced that if the story of King Arthur is more history than fantasy, this must be the way events really occurred” (Green Man Review).
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