'Each of us must have a dream to light our way through this dark world...'
It is an absolute honour to launch the blog tour for the incredible 'Arthur: The Always King' by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Chris Riddell. This is a luminescent treasure of a book; one to be cherished and revered for generations as a new definitive text on the legend. Below is my full review. I'm also delighted and grateful to include a fascinating Q&A with Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Reading 'Arthur: The Always King' is a wonderful, gleaming joy. The unity of text and image is one of the very best I have seen - like a seamless dream with the beauty and reverence of an illuminated manuscript. Kevin Crossley-Holland's prose is full of energy and immediacy, bringing the legend of Arthur and his knights to glorious life for a new generation. As with his Arthur trilogy, he utterly transports the reader to a quasi-medieval, magical Britain by embellishing the stories with sumptuous, vivid detail without losing the pace and urgency demanded of the tales. There is also room for humour and wonder and contemplation... And then there are Chris Riddell's intricate, bright and dynamic illustrations which dance and shock and curl around the text - bursting out - panoramic and breathtaking. What a collaboration!
Honestly, this is an absolute treasure of a book; the holy grail of bringing the Arthurian cycle to the masses. Kevin Crossley-Holland has really thought about what these tales mean to us, and his Arthur is complex, flawed but powerful too. Each tale flows into the next and there is a real sense of impending doom, particularly in how certain characters brood and change. The dialogue between the King and Merlin is full of wisdom while crackling with excitement and strangeness. These are strange, beautiful and timeless tales, and I salute Kevin Crossley-Holland and Chris Riddell for making them shine like gold. A monumental achievement.
Thank you to Walker Books for kindly sending my copy to review and for allowing me the privilege of asking the author some questions, especially as the Arthurian legends are currently informing my own middle-grade work-in-progress. This has inspired me even more!