Graeme Fife


Arthur the King – The Themes behind the Legends

BBC Books, 1990 (UK), Sterling Publishing, 1991/2 (USA)

     Arthur the King is a wide-ranging study of the Arthurian romances in many aspects – chivalry, courtly love, arms and armour, hunting, the Crusades, the mystery of the Holy Grail, Celtic myth and folklore, the French and German literature about a legendary king who sleeps under the hill…

     During the first Gulf War, there appeared in a newspaper a photograph of an American marine, in battle gear, sitting on an ammunition box in the desert, reading TH White’s The Once and Future King. And what did the Americans call the invasion of Kuwait? A Crusade.

      “Your book is one of the most stimulating books I’ve read. Much of it was new to me; what wasn’t was conveyed more effectively than anything else. From you, in both my book [Excalibur: the Search for Arthur] and the TV series, I got Camelot losing its glamour after Jerusalem fell and all that valuable detail on knighthood (usually buried in academic tomes). If I’d been permitted footnotes, you’d have been all over the first section of my book”.
— Gwyn A. Williams, former Professor of History at University College, Cardiff