Arthur the King by Scottish author Alan Massie was first published in 2003 and has been waiting in my TBR pile for absolutely yonks and I sort of wish I had just left it there. I usually love books involving King Arthur, the Mary Stewart Merlin series is my favourite but I’ve also really liked T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, which I know some people have found to be very dry.
I’ve enjoyed previous books by Allan Massie but for some reason he decided to employ a really clunky and archaic writing style in this one. His take on Arthur and Merlin and a lot of the minor characters is unusual in that he has them having same sex relationships. It’s all very ‘right on’ I suppose but I don’t think it adds anything to the story. Arthur’s relationship with Morgan Le Fay is a long standing one, not a one off aberration as in most versions of the tale.
I suppose I just prefer my Arthurian tales to run along the more traditional lines but if you haven’t read those ones then you might find Arthur the King to be acceptable, it just wasn’t for me, but as I almost always finish a book which I’ve started to read in the hope that it’ll improve, I struggled on to the end, then was annoyed with myself for doing so.
Ah well, let’s hope the next book is more enjoyable. At least this one counts towards the Read Scotland 2014 challenge. I’ve lost count now, I think this is number 23 or 24.