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Publisher's Summary

This is one of the most popular re-tellings of the story of King Arthur. Like The Lord of the Rings, this fantasy novel has been equally popular among younger readers and adults. White takes an inventive approach that involves animals who speak and Robin Hood! A true Arthurian classic.

©2008 Naxos Rights International; (P)2008 Naxos Rights International

Critic Reviews

"Jason...delivers fully developed characters with such warmth and spark that listeners are instantly transported to Sir Ector's castle." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

I've been waiting for this...

I've been waiting endlessly for this cherished childhood favorite to be released as an audiobook. This edition is the first section of T.H. White's epic "The Once and Future King." This part encompasses King Arthur's early years growing up under Merlin's tutelage at Sir Ector's castle. This book is more lighthearted and joyous than the sections that follow in "The Once & Future King," which are available on Audible as "The Witch in the Wood" and "The Ill-Made Knight." Although this book and the others are meant to go together as an epic work, "The Sword in the Stone" can easily stand alone as an enjoyable novel in its own right.

If I tried to tell you how superbly T.H White writes, you probably wouldn't believe me. The narrator does a smashing job of bringing the dialogue to life. I know I'll be listening to this book again and again over the years.

Sadly, at the time I'm writing this, the final section of "The Once & Future King," which covers the last years of King Arthur, is not yet released in audio format. Hopefully this will be soon be remedied!

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Hudson, WI, United States
  • 04-27-09

Great! Even for adults

This was super-dooper fabulous!! Ok, I have never seen the whole animated film, so I wasn't "tainted" with the images of the film, but even if you had seen it, the narrator is going to give you a completely new view of it. He was simply wonderful, the different characters were completely brought to life. I wish he would do more "fun" narrations. The story too, oh my gosh, action packed and gets all of your emotions. I laughed out loud too many times to count. The scene with the jousters (well you'll just have to listen to it!!) Give this one a try even if you consider yourself a "serious minded adult" -trust me, you'll love it.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Kimberly
  • Pinole, CA, United States
  • 05-22-08

So good I wanted more

I read this book several years ago and really loved it. I purchased it as an audiobook on a whim - think it was on sale. I am SO glad I did! Listening to it was a completely different experience, largely because the narrator was such a fine performer. Many times I laughed out loud at his verbal antics, but I was also often caught by his pathos, especially in the section where Wart grows up a bit. I had also forgotten what a lovely writer White is - some of his descriptions of the forest or of the beauty of a summer day are breathtaking. This would be a good listen for parents and children together, but is also great if your a 40ish woman who just likes a good story.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Lauren
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 05-05-08

Wait until the full version is released

This is a great book and a great recording. I know that I'm not the only person who's been waiting what seems like a ridiculously long time for this extremely popular novel to be released on audio. However, for those who haven't read the book, I would suggest waiting until Naxos releases the full version, which is supposed to occur December 2 2008. It really is a continuous story, and you're bound to be disappointed if you have to wait months for the subsequent parts. I understand that it builds "drama" and "buzz" to release this way, but given that the entire book has been recorded, it's frustrating that we all have to wait until December to have access to the complete recording.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Most delightful story & narration EVER!

I can't say enough good things about how enjoyable this book was. The writing is imaginative and superb; the narration mesmerizing and delightful. I will listen to this again many times in the future. Can't recommend this book highly enough. Would have given it 10 stars if it had been possible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Reuel
  • South Bend, IN, United States
  • 12-26-10

very enjoyable

This is an excellent, occasionally whimsical retelling of the beginning of the King Arthur legend. Outstanding narrator captures many different characters. I look forward to hearing more of the legend told from this perspective.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Bit of a struggle

Would you try another book from T. H. White and/or Neville Jason?

Possibly, giving the benefit of the doubt

Would you ever listen to anything by T. H. White again?

Perhaps if a different topic.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Unfortunately I found the narrators voice to be a little monotonous in this instance.

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

I had to draw myself back on some occasions from a state of eye glaze where I had stopped listening!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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good but not The Once and Future King

It's a well done audiobook, but unfortunate it's only part of the usual bundling of "The Sword in the Stone", "The Queen of Air and Darkness/The Witch in the Wood", "The Ill-Made Knight", and "The Candle in the Wind" (and sometimes "The Book of Merlyn") as "The Once and Future King".

Like I said, it's good, but if you're expecting the bigger bundle you might be disappointed.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Delightful story

Not sure how I have missed reading this wonderful story. Excellent narration, clever and often comedic events. Enjoyed it immensely.

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this books end is amazing

loved it so much, buying number 2 now super excited wish i was wart why, favorite part was the ending

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  • Billybreitling
  • 05-12-11

Buy it, now!

Anyone who dismisses this as a children's story, fairy tale, or -worse - only knows the Disney cartoon... should be locked up in Galapas's dungeon & made to listen to this fine audiobook until his brains bubble.
There is a tradition of intelligent, absurdist British comedy, which - if you drew a line from Douglas Adams, back through Monty Python & the Goons, would go slap bang through the middle of T.H. White. Not just witty & erudite but laugh-out-loud funny.
Fantasy, Natural History, Science, Philosophy & observational comedy all wrapped up in a whacking good adventure yarn, stuffed with more mediaeval detail than you'd get after an evening drinking mead with an Oxford history don.
I'm going to listen to the remaining 4 books in what began as a trilogy ... now, where have I heard that before? Come back Douglas, comedy needs you. It's all just rockstar stand-ups, now, filling the O2 arena!
Beautifully read, too. Don't ever download the standard audiobook files. I paid £81 for Lord of the Rings & got something that sounds like it was recorded through Tom Bombadil's old sock! That was before Enhanced (CD) quality was available.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-11-17

Well worth purchasing.

This has already become a favourite book of ours and we've listened to it several times while traveling in the car. it is a wonderful performance of a great old book. I first read this book as a child and have revisited it many times. This rendition brings another facet to the overall experience of the story. White had a knack of creating such an intimate bond between the reader and the characters so that an.amazing sense of pathos could permeate the story. His authorial style was both light and profound. A lot of the humour derives from the anachronisms that proliferate throughout the text, such as Merlin wishing he was still on the company water, or performing psychoanalysis on the unfortunate Wat. White also had a remarkable way of slipping between tenses, narrative points and prose styles, and thus is an extremely sophisticated piece of writing from a literary point of view. This is something often overlooked by contemporary literary critics who lionise Wolfe or Molly Bloom for much the same thing. Yet White was able to write with as much literary wit
as anyone. His choice of genre, in this case, was both his undoing and his greatest accomplishment, first because the novel falls within the fantasy genre which critics don't take seriously enough; and the second because this genre is immensely popular with people who actually read books for enjoyment and not just for a living. Reading work of this calibre and complexity is a challenge and the producers and Neville Jason have done a fine job. This audio rendition is enjoyable to listen to and manages to convey a great deal of the warmth and charm that undergrids the original text. I highly recommend this audio book. To steal a phrase from Bernard Black, this book will make you laugh - it'll make you cry. It might very well change you too.

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  • Sophie
  • 02-27-16

An all time favourite made even better as audio.

A childhood favourite of mine, this book is even better read ( listened to ) as an adult. Enchanting. Reader good, though not exceptional, but the words and characters have their own magic and I loved it from start to finish.