The Seeing Stone

by Kevin Crossley-Holland

The structure of this latest addition to the ever-growing body of Arthurian-based... read more

The structure of this latest addition to the ever-growing body of Arthurian-based fiction — 100 short chapters — is ideally suited to the interwoven stories of Arthur de Caldicot, a young boy in the year 1199 who has the ambition of becoming a knight. His namesake is King Arthur of Camelot fame. When Merlin, a friend of his father’s, gives young Arthur an obsidian “seeing stone,” Arthur begins to view excerpts from King Arthur’s history in its shiny surface. As the vignettes accumulate, Arthur sees striking coincidences between his own life and King Arthur’s past. Tension mounts as political and social events in the current time reflect the unrest of the past. The Caldicot household is portrayed in gritty Middle Ages realism, including the amputation of the hand of a supposed thief, the death of Arthur’s infant brother, a serving girl’s relationship with Arthur’s older brother, and the resulting pregnancy. Young Arthur struggles to accept the rigidity of the class and economic structure of his time. Poised on the brink of adulthood, he is plagued by the uncertainty of his future and rising questions about his past. At the story’s conclusion, Arthur heads out to Jerusalem and the Crusades, leaving readers eagerly anticipating book two of the Arthur Trilogy. (Ages 10–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002

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