Mary Stewart / Arthurian trilogy

I found myself in possession of a few small but sturdy boxes recently. Ideal for packing books in I thought because as you well know, bigger boxes are useless for books because they quickly become too heavy to budge.

So I decided to pack some books away in them and started having a rake around bookcases where I have books ‘double parked’ on wide shelves. I had thought that I could take the opportunity to weed out unwanted books to pass on to a charity shop. Some hope!

I think I must have already parted with everything which I’ve read and didn’t want to keep. I couldn’t even part with my old Penguin Classic books, Bronte, Hardy, Eliot and such, most of which I bought when I was about 13 or 14. Since then I’ve inherited lovely old editions of a lot of them, but I had an inkling that charity shops don’t cherish classics, preferring to have best sellers donated to them. So I thought my old books probably wouldn’t be given good homes and decided to keep them.

But I did unearth my copies of the Arthurian trilogy by Mary Stewart

The Crystal Cave
The Hollow Hills
The Last Enchantment

I remember that I really enjoyed reading those books and others by her way back in the 1970s, I think they’re due a re-read by me. They set me off on an Arthurian phase and I went on to read and enjoy The Once and Future King by T.H. White and being keen on Mark Twain I just had to read A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur, both of which I still have.

I can’t think what else I read though so I suppose I must have got others from the library.

If you’re interested you can read an interview here in which Mary Stewart answers questions about the trilogy.

Although Mary Stewart was born in the north of England, she married a Scot and has lived most of her life in Scotland so I think she can be regarded as a Scottish author.

10 thoughts on “Mary Stewart / Arthurian trilogy

  1. Oh, how I loved this trilogy! I gobbled them up, one right after the other. I believe she published a fourth book long after the trilogy, and I can’t remember now if it was a “prequel” kind of book or one that belatedly continued the trilogy. And I don’t recall the title. Big help I am!

    Reader in the Wilderness

    • Judith,

      I didn’t realise that there were another two books in the series so I’ll have to get a hold of them: The Wicked Day and The Prince and the Pilgrim.
      Of her other books I remember Touch Not the Cat, My Brother Michael and The Moon-Spinners. I think they might be out of print though. A trip to a second-hand book shop is required, soon!


  2. Thanks for the reminder of a writer I, too, enjoyed back in the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t often re-read, but I think I’d like a bit of Mary Stewart again. And maybe some Daphne Du Maurier.

    • Joan,
      I think I can remember what happened in the trilogy so I’m going to try to get a hold of the 4th one The Wicked Day. I’ve got quite a few du Maurier’s scheduled for some time this year.
      What about The Claverings? If you want to read it at the same time as me, let me know when is convenient for you. I nearly e-mailed you about it but wasn’t sure if that would be seen as some people don’t check often.

      • I can read The Claverings any time it’s convenient for you. I have the book, so it’s only a matter of taking it off the shelf and telling everyone to go away.

        On second thought, perhaps, after this weekend. I have a brand new grandniece, Grace, who’s coming home from the hospital today with her mother (my niece) and I’ve offered to be on call this weekend to walk their dogs. I dislike snot-nosed children, too, and infants make me very nervous. I’m much better with animals!

        So, any time after this weekend.

        • Joan,
          I’ll make The Claverings my book from the list for next week then. If you don’t get around to reading it in that time, I’ll wait until you get finished.
          Congratulations on baby Grace. I think I’d prefer to look after the dogs though, it’s a long time since I held a baby. I haven’t seen my latest grandniece yet (Juliette) because they live in Holland. It makes me feel ancient being a great-aunt!

          • Next week will be fine for The Claverings. I’ll do my best to stay apace, but thanks for the offer to wait up for me! Unless I scan, which I don’t consider to be ‘reading’, I’m not a particularly fast reader.

            I have two grandnephews (12 & 10), but this is the first grandniece. I think this will be it for my nieces. The boys are funny and smart, but Grace is lovely. I’m not crazy about children, which is why I have none of my own, but I can love my nieces’ children just fine! And, yes, I do feel ancient having ‘grand’ anyones!

          • Joan,
            I don’t scan either so I am quite a slow reader too. There’s no hurry though. My copy of The Claverings has 514 pages of quite small print.
            Between Jack and myself there are quite a lot of grandnieces and nephews but they’re all quite far away so we only ever see two grandnephews (8 & 10). It doesn’t seem long since ours were that age. I’m not crazy about children either, I was never one of those pram-hanging baby worshipping women, but my own were great of course!

  3. For a very long stretch I read everything I could get my hands on about Arthurian legend(s). Did a paper on it in college. Still enjoyed Stewart’s take the best. A close second was Mists of Avalon

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