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The Once and Future King | [T. H. White]

The Once and Future King

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".
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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

3.8 (1465 )
5 star
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3.8 (1229 )
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4.1 (1227 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kenneth 10-18-12
    Kenneth 10-18-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Story
    "Wonderful fantasy for adults as well as children"
    What did you love best about The Once and Future King?

    I've only listened to the first 2 parts which is titled "The Sword in the Stone."


    What about Neville Jason’s performance did you like?

    His ability to give everyone in the story a recognizable voice that seemed to fit the character in the book


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

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I've never read this book before and have nearly always wanted to know more about the legend of King Arthur.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich 09-25-12
    Rich 09-25-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A YAWNER!"
    What disappointed you about The Once and Future King?

    I just never got drawn into it, and I'm pretty easy. Just not my cup of tea.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Patterson or Ludlum


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Orange, Australia 06-29-12
    Todd Orange, Australia 06-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow, boring. Not what was expected"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I was looking for a gritty, epic telling of the King Arthur legend. This book - despite being considered a great work and having many stellar reviews - was not what I was looking for.


    Would you be willing to try another book from T. H. White? Why or why not?

    Probably not. If he wrote other books in the style he wrote this one, then they are far too targeted-at-all-ages for my liking.


    Have you listened to any of Neville Jason’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment and annoyance. The entire first book consists of Arthur being turned into small animals in order to curb his sense of adventure and to teach him. After the fourth time, I was getting aggravated.


    Any additional comments?

    Those readers looking for a gritty, epic retelling of the Arthur legend should look elsewhere. The thing that most annoyed me about this book was how Arthur's sense of boyish wonder about everything not only made him appear like a complete dunce, but left me wanting him dead. He was a truly annoying character. This was made worse by the narrator, who still used the same childish voice for Arthur halfway through Book 3. That's as far as I got before realising the story wasn't going to get any better.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Ballan, Australia 04-30-12
    A Ballan, Australia 04-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "very wordy"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    it is simply too long; would be better abridged. You can't skip paragraphs in an audiobook and so much of what is read is not relevant to the main storyline.


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

    I have been listening for a very time and STILL haven't reached any where near the end. I read this book as a child and can't imagine how I had the patience.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    Was The Once and Future King worth the listening time?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I remember the book fondly, and I am sure I would be much more appreciative of an abridged version. I am enjoying the characters, King Pellinore is adorable and i want to see what happens to him

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stewart Delaware, OH, United States 03-24-12
    Stewart Delaware, OH, United States 03-24-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Boring"

    The story drags out too long with so many side and unimportant details. I quit after the third part.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer CATSKILL, NY, United States 03-30-12
    Amazon Customer CATSKILL, NY, United States 03-30-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "Not Entertaining!"
    What disappointed you about The Once and Future King?

    The story dragged on and on on unimportant speeches made by unimportant characters. I would find myself wool gathering for 10 minutes at a time during my commute and realize that I didn't miss anything!


    What could T. H. White have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    After 10 hrs of book one, nothing interesting happened. Wort was changed into a few animals as a learning excersize, he met Robin Hood, and saved some people from the Faeries. You would think that it would be interesting?!? NOT! The writing is just so....Over worded (is that a term?). White writes as if he got paid by the word.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy Brandon Sanderson, Tolkien, King, Koontz, Goodkind.....White dissapointed.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kyle Poway, CA, United States 01-14-13
    kyle Poway, CA, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    0
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    "Horrible Narrator"

    I understand that this is a children's book, but the narrator reads it as if he's playing peek-a-boo with an infant. I shut the book off after a few minutes because I couldn't stand it. Do yourself a favor and listen to the sample before buying.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. R. Staton MOORE, OK USA 08-22-12
    J. R. Staton MOORE, OK USA 08-22-12 Listener Since 2009

    jrs4osu

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not at all what I expected"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I did not expect a comedy/fantasy. I though this was a novel. Did not finish it.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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