The Once and Future King (hardcover)

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F&S Note

The book I would take to a deserted island? ‘The Once and Future King’ by T.H. White. Why? Well, there’s of course the three shipwrecked survival ingredients: adventure (Wart and Kay meeting Robin Hood), history (Merlyn living backwards in time), and humor (all the dramatic-sarcastic quirks of the characters), but most and foremost the book is a continuous invitation to what makes the world go round, or in Merlyn’s wise words, “Learn why the world wags and what wags it.”


T. H. White’s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as the sword Excalibur and city of Camelot that are found within its pages. This magical epic comprises The Sword in the Stone (1939), The Queen of Air and Darkness—first published as The Witch in the Wood (1940)—The Ill-Made Knight (1941), The Candle in the Wind, and takes Arthur from the glorious lyrical phase of his youth, through the disillusioning early years of his reign, to maturity when his vision of the Round Table develops into the search for the Holy Grail, and finally to his weary old age. With memorable characters like Merlin and Owl and Guinevere, beasts who talk and men who fly, wizardry and war, The Once and Future King has become the fantasy masterpiece against which all others are judged, a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.

  • A deluxe hardcover edition, 736 pages.
  • 21.6 x 14.6 x 5.2 cm (8.5 x 5.8 x 2 inches)
  • Language: English
  • Published by Penguin Classics


T. H. White, (born May 29, 1906, Bombay, India—died Jan. 17, 1964, Piraeus, Greece) was an English novelist, social historian, and satirist who was best known for his brilliant adaptation of Sir Thomas Malory’s 15th-century romance, Morte Darthur, into a quartet of novels called The Once and Future King, published in a single volume in 1958.

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