Arthur at the Crossing-Places


A lovely deep green cover for the middle volume of Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthur trilogy, Arthur At the Crossing-Places. Unfortunately the spine of my copy has faded to a nondescript shabby blue. 

This book, excellent as it is and beautiful as the writing is, suffers a little from middle-book syndrome in that both the Arthurs, King Arthur-in-the-stone and young Arthur our narrator, are marking time between the beginnings and ends of their stories. Arthur de Caldicot has discovered he is not his parents' child, and while he knows his true father is William de Gortanore, they mystery of his mother's identity has not been solved. But not much progress is made on this front, and Arthur spends most of this book waiting, waiting to find out more, waiting to join a Crusade, waiting to see if he and Winnie will be betrothed, waiting for an adventure to begin. 

Inside the magical stone, too, not much is happening that directly concerns King Arthur. Merlin has vanished and there is a procession of stories about various knights and ladies, jousts and dragons, deceptions and romance, which all blur into each other after a while. I'm more interested in young Arthur's personal story than all these indistinguishable battles and stolen kisses, so I admit I glazed over from time to time. Which won't put me off the last volume, King of the Middle March.

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