The first half of this book was the basis for Disney's A Sword in the Stone, and is a great tale about an orphan boy who, with the help of Merlin, goes on a series of adventures to learn what he needs to know to be a the great King Aurthor. That being said the second half sort of follows the legend of Aurthor but not really. Instead of enjoying the story, I found myself saying " that's not right" and running for Google. I would just buy the first half and leave the rest.
These are just lovely. Especially the first book and the last one. The middle books are sadder. But still quite good.
I adore the first book and have listened and re-listened to it many times.
The reader is fantastic.
Neville Jason does an excellent job narrating this beautiful book. My only qualm here is that this audiobook contains "The Book of Merlyn" as it's final portion. I think this is a mistake, and that the original publishers were in the right, and the book as a whole worked better without the addition of Merlyn's final lessons.
This was the first book I had ever read on my own at the age of 14 and I only remembered how much I loved it. This audiobook rendition brought it to life beyond what I could have hoped for. I wish everyone could have the chance to listen to this story as told by Neville Jason because not only has it has brought me to laughter and tears within minutes but tells a profound story and philosophy that should be required reading for a full and meaningful life!
The reason I didn't enjoy this book is that it seemed to be going nowhere. It was a series of adventures, like a bunch of short stories, but there was no over-arching plot that kept me wanting to move forward. The little adventures were all pretty silly, and I did not like the portrayal of Merlin.
Neville Jason does a delightful job with the narration, and is good at differentiating characters through voice and tone (which is helpful in some of the dialogue-heavy passages). He also has exactly the right sort of voice to communicate an aura of chivalry in his reading.
T.H. White wrote The Once and Future King in five distinct parts -- The Sword in The Stone, The Witch In The Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, The Candle In The Wind and The Book of Merlyn. Before compiling these into a final volume, he made significant edits to the structure and story -- especially in the first two books. This collection presents the five books as they were originally written, NOT in their final, edited form. This means, for example, that the Sword in The Stone preserves episodes such as the battle with Madam Mim and the stories of the Snake and the Trees, but omits Arthur's encounters with the Wild Geese and the Ants (which do appear in The Book of Merlyn). I honestly prefer this format, because while it is a bit structurally muddled, and forgets to present its central thesis in the first book, it preserves some very charming episodes that are cut from the final volume. (Some of the more objectionable language of the final edition is also lacking. I don't know if this is the narrator's choice, or reflects White's text ... either way, it is a welcome change.)