The year is 1199, the place the Welsh Marches, where young Arthur de Caldicot practises his tilting and archery, learns to be a dutiful page to his father, and waits impatiently to grow up and become a knight. One day his father's friend Merlin gives him a shining black stone. When Arthur starts to see stories in the stone, his life quickly becomes entwined with that of his namesake, the boy who pulls the sword from the stone.
In this many-layered novel, King Arthur is seen as a figure for all time ¿ an exemplar to his namesake, a mysterious presence influencing not just one time and place but many. The 100 short chapters are almost like snapshots, not only of the mythical past of King Arthur but the real, earthy, uncomfortable Middle Ages. The turn of the century; uncertainty about the future; war and peace; Christianity and Islam; rationalism and superstition; the sharp contrasts in the lives of rich and poor; all these issues impact on the life of a boy in a medieval manor and give the book its uniquely contemporary feel.
Gatty the bailiff's daughter, Arthur's jealous older brother, Tanwen the serving-girl and Lady Alice, who entrusts Arthur with a terrible secret, are just a few of the characters we engage with as the story unfolds to reveal the mystery at the heart of Arthur de Caldicot's life. Shot through with the legends of King Arthur, it merges with them in a thrilling climax.
The Seeing Stone is a unique and brilliant new take on the Arthurian story-cycle. The author is a magician with words and his light, speedy narrative is as readable as it is poetic.
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