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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Seeing Stone (Arthur Trilogy) Hardcover – October 1, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Arthur Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Tumber Hill! It's my clamber-and-tumble-and-beech-and-bramble hill! Sometimes, when I'm standing on the top, I fill my lungs with air and I shout. I shout."

As The Seeing Stone opens, exuberant young Arthur has no idea what adventure lies ahead. A 13-year-old growing up in 12th-century England, Arthur soon discovers that his life parallels that of another Arthur, son of Uther centuries past, the legendary boy king "who was and will be." The second son of Sir John de Caldicot, lord of a manor near the Welsh border, Arthur narrates his everyday life in the Marchland in 100 clipped chapters of crisp, melodic prose. But his destiny entwined with that other, ancient Arthur is revealed only in snatches, after he receives (courtesy of our old friend Merlin) a piece of obsidian, a seeing stone, through which a well-woven story within a story unfolds.

But rather than the fantasy of T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone, Kevin Crossley-Holland offers a convincing and meticulously researched account of what life might have actually been like for a curious, capable, earnest young man in this peculiar time and place, with all its customs, rituals, and regimented routine and social structure. In a well-paced story that alternates between drama, comedy, and even a little mystery, Arthur tackles some surprisingly sophisticated topics, whether he's questioning the pompous priest Oliver (is the poverty on the manor truly part of God's will?), pestering his father over his plans for him (will he become a squire, as he wishes, or a monk or priest or school man?), or just contemplating his place in the scheme of things under the blue sky atop Tumber Hill. The Seeing Stone is a fun, involving read for kids, but will hold grownup attentions, too, with its flowing language, dense period detail, and all the questions that it asks--and doesn't always answer. (Ages 9 to 12) --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

In this first volume of a planned Arthur Trilogy, British author Crossley-Holland inventively reworks the legend of the Round Table through he diary of a 13-year-old boy named Arthur, living in an English manor in the 12th century. One day, his friend Merlin gives Arthur a magical stone that shows him visions of the once and future king, whose story parallels narrator Arthur's so closely that at first the stone seems to depict the hero's destiny. More accurately, though, "Arthur-in-the-stone is not me. We look and talk like each other. But he can do magic, and I cannot Sir Ector and Kay are not exactly the same as my father and Serle, either." The boy recording the events is not King Arthur, but rather someone infused with the king's spirit, living a largely parallel life. Told in 100 very short chapters, the plot builds slowly, laying the groundwork of chivalric codes and court etiquette, and the character list in the opening pages is essential to keeping track of various personalities and their hierarchical relationships. Some readers may wish for more jousting and less of the domestic squabbles and local politics, but many will revel in Crossley-Holland's portrait of the period and the humorous observations conveyed through the diary entries. A clever, ethical and passionate hero plus several intriguing loose ends will have readers itching for the sequel. Ages 13-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Series: Arthur Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439263263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439263269
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Fred R. Eichelman on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I began reading this series as a dear friend in England gave me the third book as a birthday gift. Now when you get the second or third book in a series you can either close your mind to what went before or make it a point to buy the books before. This I did and I was not let down. I will say that it is a double story, the tale of a young man named Arthur who lives in 1199 and a repeat of well known King Arthur tales. The Arthur of 1199 is the possessor of a special stone from Merlin, yes The Merlin, which reveals the legends behind King Arthur. The book goes back and forth between two worlds and it is the world of 1199 that is most fascinating. Kevin Crossley-Holland covers no new ground in Arthurian history, if anything it is a repeat that those of us who are Arthurian buffs have read over and over. What makes this book a lovely read is how the Arthur of 1199 relates to it and the parallel's between the two worlds. The characters in the "real" world of Arthur who tells the story are more real and the background as true as any historian could hope for. The only letdown would be that those of us who have studied the life of King Arthur will feel that the author has based too much on things that have been over told and are likely far from the truth. As one who has no doubts that there was a King Arthur, I can't feel a real service to the legend has been given. Hence four rather than five stars. A warning. The author is associated with children's works and there is a hint in the writeups promoting the book that it is for chiuldren. I would say it is more a young adult to adult book and not one I would give a pre teen to read. I speak here as an educator for over 40 years.
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By A Customer on October 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A joy to read, aloud as well as silently.
Each chapter - and they all beg to be read aloud - is almost a snap shot into Arthur's life - and the end of the 12th century. People and places have great reality. And, for both readers and listeners, the seeing-stone offers the delight of recognition as the world of Arthur-in-the-stone unfolds.
Somehow, I am reminded of both Rosemary Sutcliffe and Dylan Thomas; this is a book that will only be lent to people guarranteed to return it! And now to the second volume (which is already available in Australia).
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Format: Hardcover
This is must-reading for Arthurian lore lovers and makes a great "while we're waiting" pleasure for the Potterphiles. KCH is a sublime authority on the Anglo-Saxon and a talented fabulist as well. His characters are engaging, even when they're busy being less than wonderful and the plot twists and turns, even though the storyline rings with familiarity. This take on the Matter of Britain is different and by the end of this first of a proposed trilogy, the reader still isn't entirely sure where it'll all end up, but that just makes 'em want the next volume all the more. Not just for the 'tween-agers it's been marketed to; another fine holiday or anytime read. Intriguing prose style and narrative techniques.
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Format: Hardcover
Hi. I am a 6th grader. I am writing a review on Amizon.com about the book Arthur: The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland, one of the major legends of the world. I think the book was a very interesting book. I would give the book a 9 out of 10 because of the books interesting vocabulary and the imagination contained in it. The book starts with King Arthur when he was 13 and the adventures of hunting and yard-skills and whatever Arthur becomes and faces. The story starts in the Manor of Caldicot where Arthur lives. The book is a good book for ages around 7 or higher because of a little violence. I hope people will read this book because this book will open the readers mind into a powerful joyful imagination and they will visualize a wonderful world of fantasy and adventure. That is my review on my book.
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A Kid's Review on May 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Arthur is the son of a knight from the Middle March, the strip land in-between Britain and Wales. This young boy's life is about to change forever. This book shows the beginning of his new beginning. Merlin once told him that crossing-places aren't quite sure of themselves; like midnight, the beach, bridges, and the March itself. Arthur is about to venture into his own crossing-place.
One of the many things in this book that I found that was put to extremely good use was the diary form in which it was written. It was very unusual about it was that each entry had no date attached. Arthur treated it like a friend that could confide his thoughts and the daily happenings to. Through this sort of writing you almost start to think of Arthur as an old friend that you have known for a very long time. He doesn't address you as a person but often says things such as, "I like my Nain's [his grandmother is called Nain] stories"
I'll admit that at the beginning this book is a little confusing if you don't first understand that it is a diary without dates. Also another part that might throw the reader into udder chaos is that Arthur never really fills you in on who he is, where he is, and what has been happening in his life before he started writing, but it is all clarified as you read on. The entries headings are a cross between a journal entry and a title of a chapter in a novel. The first thing you read is the title of the first entry, "Arthur and Merlin [speaking of himself and the mysterious old man who lives in the village]",
And then it goes straight into the writing.
This book interested me because I had never actually read a book about King Arthur before, but this one meet and exceeded my expectations of what this type of book should be.
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