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The Sword and the Circle: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Paperback – November 1, 1994

3.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Middle Grade Action & Adventure
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992) wrote dozens of books for young readers, including her award-winning Roman Britain trilogy, "The Eagle of the Ninth", "The Silver Branch", and "The Lantern Bearers", which won the Carnegie Medal. "The Eagle of the Ninth" is now a major motion picture, The Eagle, directed by Kevin MacDonald and starring Channing Tatum. Born in Surrey, Sutcliff spent her childhood in Malta and on various other naval bases where her father was stationed. At a young age, she contracted Still's Disease, which confined her to a wheelchair for most of her life. Shortly before her death, she was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE) one of Britain's most prestigious honors. She died in West Sussex, England, in 1992.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1210L (What's this?)
  • Series: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (November 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140371494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140371499
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Rosemary Sutcliff's adaptation of the King Arthur legend is truly a unique and inspiring work, told in a highly descriptive yet very concise format. It is not only powerful and thought-provoking, but creates a sense of the ancient and medieval time it owes its existence to. Starting years before Arthur comes to power, Sutcliff tells the story of young Merlin and how Arthur came to be, following him through his rise to High King, the meetings of such brave and infamous knights such as Lancelot, Tristan and Gawain, right up to just before the quest for the Holy Grail begins. Sutcliff not only tells the traditional and time-honored stories, such as the sword in the stone, but also adapts other variations of the quests that individual knights took upon themselves to maintain peace and honor in Britain. For example, although he may not have actually been a knight of the round table, Sutcliff tells the tragic and romantic story of Tristan and Iseult, the ironic tale of Beaumains, and the humorous story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, all of which reflect the honor and love which bounded King Arthur's kingdom together. This book easily stands alone, but simultaneously lays solid groundwork for the next two books, The Light Beyond the Forest and The Road to Camlann, two other excellent books written by Sutcliff on the rise and fall of Arthur. By taking her stories to a level above just the basic story-telling, Sutcliff also helps put King Arthur's place in history into perspective and gives an excellent reason for retelling this timeless legend again for this day and age. The book is really a medieval romantic story at heart, but has enough battles and swashbuckling adventures to keep readers more interested in action than a rambling story hooked.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The Sword and the Circle is a great book about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The story begins with how Arthur actually became king. The story then continues on with adventures of Arthur and how he assembles his Knights of the Round Table. The book tells about the many quests of Arthur, his knights, Guenever, and Merlin, the magician. During the story Arthur adds many knights to his group, but none stand out more than Gawain and Lanccelot. I enjoyed this book and thought it was very well-written. This book is very exciting and full of adventure. I had a hard time putting this book down because it told so much about the journeys of the knights, such as the mystery between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The book was also quite interesting and gave adequate information and detail without having excessive writing. This book kept me interested because it was so in depth and full of fascinating information, such as the feelings Sir Lancelot was forced to hide from others. The only negative aspect about the book was that it jumped around between characters. I had a little difficulty following what each character was doing, so I had to look back in the book to see what was happening. I would definitely recommend this book because it is an epic story of adventure that people of all ages would enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
I am teaching Sutcliff's The Sword and the Circle to a 7th grade class. I do find the descriptive language incredibly beautiful, and I like how thorough the collection is. However, I'm finding that this book is entirely too difficult for my 7th graders (and they are a bright bunch of kids). I'm frustrated that this book is marketed to such a young audience, because I think it would be more appropriate for high schoolers and for adults. (The Sword and the Circle in the 5th grade?! I'm glad I'm not teaching that class!)

Does anyone know of a collection of Arthurian legends that is well written, but more appropriate for a younger audience? I want my kids to get excited about legends, not to find them grueling and tedious.
4 Comments 13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
The book "The Sword and the Circle," is about King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. King Arthur is a young man who was crowned King of Britain at an early age. He is a brown haired boy with a slight build, who became king at age 15. He is a king and courteous perosn. He was given the Round Table and 100 good-trained kinghts as a gift from Queen Guenevere's father. This book is mainly about King Arthur and his knights. It is based on the stories of the adventures the kinghts go on. Every chapter is a different adventure for a different person in the story, but all the small chapters are connected by being part of the "brotherhood," the "knights and King Arthur." I thought one very interesting part was when King Arthur went out on his own adventure and was challeneged for a jousting by a knight. King Arthur could not defeat the knight, so the knight gave the High King a chance to live. The deal was if King Arthur could find the answer to a riddle, by the next year, then he would live, but if he did not find the correct answer, he would die. I really enjoyed reading this book because it was very exciting, and it was hard to put the book down. I thought the characters in the book were really admirable. They were fun, and their personalities made the book thrilling. I found the story magnificent because the charaters were always going on exciting adventures. They would always come back to King Arthur's Court and share their story with everyone. It was fascinating to learn that King Arthur invited strangers into his castle. He trusted everyone, and anyone that needed shelter was invited to come into the castle. In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book and I think anyone would if they like adventures. It was a great book!
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The Sword and the Circle: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
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