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The Once and Future King Audiobook

The Once and Future King

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Publisher's Summary

The complete "box set" of T. H. White's epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five 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".

Merlyn instructs the Wart (Arthur) and his brother, Sir Kay, in the ways of the world. One of them will need it: the king has died, leaving no heir, and a rightful one must be found by pulling a sword from an anvil resting on a stone. In the second and third parts of the novel, Arthur has become king and the kingdom is threatened from the north. In the final two books, the ageing king faces his greatest challenge, when his own son threatens to overthrow him. In "The Book of Merlyn", Arthur's tutor Merlyn reappears and teaches him that, even in the face of apparent ruin, there is hope.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©1939, 1940, 1958 T. H. White (P)2008 Naxos Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

  • AudioFile Earphones Award, 2009

"For those who have never read these five books, prepare to be surprised by their adultness, their laugh-out-loud humor and tongue-in-cheek commentary on modern life; for those who know them well, prepare to be delighted with Neville Jason's transcendent reading. The lovely timbre of his narrative voice, his rhythmic, easy pacing and host of individual characterizations transport listeners into White's weird and wonderful otherworld as quickly as Alice slipped through the looking glass. This long production is so entrancing that one wishes it would never end." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2611 )
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4.3 (2269 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 04-22-12
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 04-22-12

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "King Arthur's story from birth to ?"
    Where does The Once and Future King rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best books on Audible! It is a classic story told with a fantastic narrator, made to read aloud. A wonderful listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The many characters both animal and human that make up the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Every time an animal is mentioned we learn how humans could do a better job if we only learned to follow the animals.
    This was a great book to end on Earth Day as the last book has Arthur the old man embracing "his England" and realizing he loves her more than any one else in his life. Beautiful sentiment.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I think the scene that stands out the most is when Arthur as Wart runs into Madame Mim and Merlin has to save him and Kay from the mad witch woman. It's a very funny scene and is told with lots of witty lines. I laughed out loud!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Guenevere and Lancelot realize that Mordred is outside the door ready to arrest them and they realize they will never have that special something between them and Arthur anymore. Very sad.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book. It is the source for Camelot the Musical and Disney's Sword in the Stone. It is much more than just a story. I learned so much about different animal species and political parties besides being told a great epic.
    The Narrator is top notch and has his characters down pat.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Acker Ozark, MO, United States 05-02-12
    Mark Acker Ozark, MO, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2011

    Husband, father, nurse, geek culture affianado, tech junkie, late-blooming history lover, armchair theologist, Lego enthusiast, and follower of Christ.

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    "Buy it for the first book."

    The narration in this story is outstanding! I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and was pleased to learn how true to the story Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" movie acutally was. The rest of the story focuses the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere. The moments when Arthur comes into the story are touching and my favorite parts, but they are few and far between. There are also several great side stories along the way that make it worth reading.

    The final book, as others have said is completely different. It doesn’t really add anything to the story. It’s interesting, but only if you are really into sociopolitical theory, anthropology, and biology. That doesn’t make sense to you? Give it a try and see what I mean.

    17 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Amherst, MA, USA 07-13-12
    Jessica Amherst, MA, USA 07-13-12 Member Since 2017
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    "What Pleasure!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Once and Future King the most enjoyable?

    This is a book I read several times as a youngster, over 40 years ago. I so enjoyed listening to it because the recording brought back former associations. The narrator of this book, Neville Jason, is delightful to listen to--his characterizations are astute and his accents a joy.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I haven't finished, but I already know what it is. It is sad.


    What does Neville Jason bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His pacing is outstanding. When reading, my eyes race along to the next word, but he, most appropriately, gives some characters very slow speech, bringing out new aspects of their personalities.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Films have been made of this book.


    Any additional comments?

    Audible needs to tell people what version of the text the author is reading. In the case of The Once and Future King, there are textual variations because each part--The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, the Ill-Made Knight, The Candle in the Wind, and the posthumous Book of Merlyn-- was published separately over time, then combined with the previous parts that were edited for the newest, longer edition of The Once and Future King. And by edited I mean that whole episodes were changed or deleted and new episodes included. So, it is important for listeners to know that the text they are hearing is not necessarily the same as the one they would get if they bought the book in a bookstore. Audible, please add publisher and publication date for the book texts--it's important!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 07-21-14
    Sher from Provo Utah 07-21-14 Member Since 2015

    Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.

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    "Not quite as I had remembered it"

    I loved this book when I read it as a teenager and so when I saw it on Audible, I couldn't wait to get at it. I can't say I was disappointed, but it was a lot different than I had remembered it. It is a well written book about the Arthurian legend, and I did enjoy it, but not as much as that first time when I could not put it down. However, Neville Jason's performance was wonderful, and I totally enjoyed listening to him read it.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 01-27-14
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2017

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a Delight"
    What did you love best about The Once and Future King?

    Just because I didn't give this five stars doesn't mean it's not close to perfect. This is as close as it gets. A brilliant narrator makes this classic playful, funny, smart. This is an emotional and suspenseful romp through one of the most legendary times of history. When I read the book the first time, yea high to an ant, I loved it. The audiobook is icing on a pretty perfect cake. You'll rediscover whatever you loved in the book, if you've read it before. If you haven't read it? Be prepared for a delightful experience. It has extraordinary writing that can make you laugh, that can make your toes curl, that can make you shout out, "NO! Why, oh why are you choosing that?"
    In short, your engagement with the literature is all but complete immersion.
    I LOVE that in a book!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    All of the characters are so well-fleshed out, it's a matter of choosing for yourself. Of course, Wart is the favorite. But then there's Merlin. Then there's...! And so and so! And I can't forget...! All wonderfully drawn.


    What does Neville Jason bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I'll be listening to more by Neville Jason. Magnificent voice styling. He brings a real joy and artistry to his characters, and he does well with pacing the story, with developing suspense. A narrator can make or break an audiobook. Mr. Jason definitely makes this one of my all time favorites.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Well, heavens. The title already says it all, doesn't it? Why change a good thing?


    Any additional comments?

    I usually listen to audiobooks, well, all the time. But sometimes I like to set them to fall asleep to. No matter what the book is, even the sublime and passionate "Endurance," however, I wind up falling asleep. Which I love to do. With "The Once and Future King," though, I found myself wide-eyed, desperate to hear just a little bit more, and a little bit more. This was a pleasure of a book!
    If you love audiobooks, treat yourself to this set.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth FLORENCE, AZ, United States 09-17-12
    Elizabeth FLORENCE, AZ, United States 09-17-12
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    "Classic knights in shining armor"
    What made the experience of listening to The Once and Future King the most enjoyable?

    I commute 1.5 hours one-way three days a week with my toddler and we listened to this book together. I doubt very much that he got a lot of it, but when it came time to buy a Halloween costume he said he wanted to be a knight, so it must have rubbed off! The book made my drive so enjoyable that I actually looked forward to my commute!


    What does Neville Jason bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Neville Jason is excellent! The voices for the various characters are well-done and the pace of the read is perfect. It was much more entertaining than what I might have heard in my head had I read it alone.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I forgot how witty this book is! Old King Pelennor always gives me a laugh.


    Any additional comments?

    You'll have to excuse the patriarchal slant of the book given the time it was written and the time in which it is set. Women were certainly not given equal consideration in either. However, the story does transport you to the medieval times and gives a good sense of life in that time and place. I loved it!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Ewing, NJ, United States 09-07-12
    Joseph Ewing, NJ, United States 09-07-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Classic King Arthur Book"

    If you like Arthurian legends and streamlined/rewritten TV shows and movies don't cut it, what are you waiting for?!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey C. Coyne Chapel Hill 03-25-12
    Jeffrey C. Coyne Chapel Hill 03-25-12

    Jeff Coyne

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    "A Classic"

    Beautifully written, well performed and quite enjoyable. If you have any interest in the King Arthur legend, it is a must read

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 03-11-12
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 03-11-12 Member Since 2012

    Breesmom

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    "Part 1: The Sword and the Stone Without Disney"
    What made the experience of listening to The Once and Future King the most enjoyable?

    The narrator was cheery and had an interesting voice, this really made a difference in the telling of the story. The story was interesting, fun, and familiar. A treat.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Wart, of course! He was the underdog in this one...knowing what we know, his future radically changes by the end of this book and beyond. He was also a very likeable character.


    What does Neville Jason bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His narration is 'right on'...exactly what is needed for this book. His accent, his cadence, his cheery voice. He was a perfect choice as narrator.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. It took two, though. I can hardly sit for hours on end!


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 05-26-12
    colleen ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 05-26-12 Member Since 2017

    My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos.

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    "Classic writing, great listen"

    Worth the time and credit. Beautifully written. A little longer than necessary but t'd recommend it to the whole family.

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful

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