The Death of King Arthur – retelling by Peter Ackroyd

The readable retelling of Sir Thomas Malory’s classic, Le Morte D’Arthur, introduces the cast of characters in Arthurian tales.  I particularly enjoyed reading the introduction about Sir Thomas Malory and the colorful life that he led.   Peter Ackroyd includes all of the essential Arthurian tales from Malory’s book and follows Malory’s format, but using straightforward prose.  When the knights feel like fighting they get right to it with plenty of quick deaths by beheading.   The narrative is succinct and crisply flows from one story to the next.  I initially intended to pick and choose a few of the tales but ended up reading the book straight through.  I was caught in a cascading waterfall of stories, blissfully floating and tumbling from tale to tale.  Malory’s classic and this retelling, provide the Arthurian framework for embellishment by countless authors over the years.  I highly recommend reading this retelling as an overview of the traditional Arthurian legends.  Teens interested in a more in-depth series of Arthurian legends, try Gerald Morris’s The Squire’s Tales series.  A viewing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail is an absolute must when reading anything to do with King Arthur. 

Netgalley review  Publication date 11.14.11

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