Corus the Champion Day 3: The Lore of Arthur

Christian Fantasy CSFF Blog Tour

Corus the Champion falls into the category of epic fantasy, as Becky Miller explored in depth, and it borrows from various folk traditions, including Welsh mythology, and Norse lore. Yet perhaps the most popular source of legend Briggs borrowed from is that of King Arthur, which places it under the umbrella of Arthurian fantasy (tales which incorporate elements of the Arthur mythos into their storylines). It remains to be seen if the rest of the series will continue in this vein, but Corus the Champion made inventive use of this mythology–and the book is in good company.

In the general market, Arthurian books abound, and even in the Christian market numerous titles explore different aspects of the legend. If you’re looking for more Arthurian reading, I’ve listed some of these here:

The Pendragon Cycle (5 book series consisting of Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, and Grail)
By Stephen Lawhead

An epic retelling of the Arthurian legends. The story of Taliesin, his son Merlin, and Merlin’s protégée Arthur is wrenched from its medieval setting and returned to the place where it must surely have originated: fifth-century Britain after the departure of the Roman armies.

Avalon: The Return of King Arthur
By Stephen Lawhead

It has been fortold: In the hour of Britain’s greatest need, King Arthur will return to rescue his people.

In Portugal, the reprobate King Edward the Ninth has died by his own hand.

In England, a dark scenario conceived by the power-hungry Prime Minister, Thomas Waring, is about to be realized: the total destruction of the British monarchy in the twenty-first century.

And in the Scottish Highlands, a mystical emissary named Mr. Embries–better known as “Merlin”–informs a young captain that he is next in line to occupy the throne. For James Arthur Stuart is not the commoner he has always believed himself to be–he is Arthur, the legendary King of Summer, reborn. But the road to England’s salvation is rocky and dangerous, with powerful waiting to ambush: Waring and his ruthless political machine…and the agents of an ancient, far more potent evil. For Arthur is not the only one who has returned from the mists of legend. And Merlin’s magic is not the only sorcery that has survived the centuries.

That Hideous Strength
By CS Lewis

The final book in C. S. Lewis’s acclaimed Space Trilogy, which includes Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, That Hideous Strength concludes the adventures of the matchless Dr. Ransom. The dark forces that were repulsed in Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra are massed for an assault on the planet Earth itself. Word is on the wind that the mighty wizard Merlin has come back to the land of the living after many centuries, holding the key to ultimate power for that force which can find him and bend him to its will. A sinister technocratic organization is gaining power throughout Europe with a plan to “recondition” society, and it is up to Ransom and his friends to squelch this threat by applying age-old wisdom to a new universe dominated by science. The two groups struggle to a climactic resolution that brings the Space Trilogy to a magnificent, crashing close.

Legend of the Emerald Rose
By Linda Wichman

Legend begins where truth ends . . . or is it the other way around?

King Arthur is dead. Guenevere has been slain. Merlin has vanished. And Camelot seems lost forever. The servants of the evil one are intent on capturing the Isle of Might no matter the cost—but the remaining Knights of the Round Table have a plan. . . .

The unlikely princess: Protected from the knowledge of her birthright by the Knights of the Round Table, Emerald Rose Rayn is a high-spirited lass and a skilled warrior with an unshakable faith in God.

The reluctant apprentice: Embittered by his father Merlin’s betrayal, Shadoe un Hollo Tors abandons God and Camelot, until a dream returns him to his childhood home to fulfill his destiny and appoint Arthur’s rightful heir to the throne.

Bound by Divine providence, divided by distrust, and threatened by sorcery and demons, Shadoe and Rayn must overcome their instant dislike and mutual attraction to save the isle.

So if you’re a fan, you’ll find plenty to explore in the Christian market alone. I’m sure I’ve missed some, so add any you wish in the comments (Christian or general market). And I’m curious–do you enjoy Arthurian mythology? If so, do you have any favorite Arthurian tales?

I’m always on the lookout for book recommendations!

Comments

  • Rebecca LuElla Miller
    December 7, 2011 - 3:45 pm · Reply

    BTW, Bryan Davis used the Arthurian myth in his Raising Dragons series, too. He re-images Merlin as a prophet rather than a wizard, and he ties the whole thing with his dragon twist — dragons in the form of humans. Quite inventive.

    In the end, I’m not a fan, though. Generally, if I know there’s an Arthurian angle, I inwardly groan. Yet I really enjoyed the movie Arthur (I think that was the title), which supposedly told the “real” story. And I loved the TV show Merlin which was about Merlin and Arthur when they were teens and neither of them had come into their own.

    So the new look at an old story can be interesting if well executed.

    My preference though is, no, I’d rather have a new story, even if the author based it on Arthur but didn’t advertise it as such. I’ll be interested what others think about this.

    Becky

    • Sarah Sawyer
      December 8, 2011 - 3:38 pm · Reply

      Becky, as I was writing the post I kept thinking that there was another relatively well-known Christian fantasy author who made use of King Arthur lore, but it kept eluding me. It was Bryan Davis…thanks for jogging my memory by mentioning his books. 🙂

      I have strong interest in fairy tale retellings, but I’m neutral on Arthurian lore. If borrowing from that mythos adds something to the story, that’s great, but it doesn’t particularly interest me. I agree with you that so much depends on the execution. Does it feel fresh or just a rehashing of other stories?

      Your mention of a writer crafting a new story based on Arthur but not advertised as such reminded me of Cyndere’s Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet. There were some definite Beauty and the Beast parallels there, even though the book wasn’t a retelling. Later, I seem to recall him talking about deriving inspiration from the fairy tale, and I can imagine an author taking inspiration from Arthur in the same way–a subtle influence to the story, not an overpowering force.

  • Kessie
    December 7, 2011 - 3:58 pm · Reply

    I’m forever ruined on all Arthurian legend by Mary Stewart’s series starting with The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills. They are first person, told by Merlin, and they’re absolutely fantastic. I’ve tried to read other Arthur books, and I have to quit because I keep comparing them to Stewart’s. Merlin is more of a prophet than a wizard, and his prophecies come and go, and he has very little control over them. I’ve heard that Lawhead’s series is very similar.

    When it comes to Arthurian retellings, I imagine they’re like your first Doctor Who: the first one you read will always be your favorite.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      December 8, 2011 - 3:44 pm · Reply

      Wow, that’s quite an endorsement of Stewart’s books. I’ll have to check them out. I like the intimacy of first person, so that’s a plus. 🙂

      It’s funny that you should mention Dr. Who. Though I’ve heard many raving endorsements over the years, I’ve never watched it until earlier this week. I started with the series re-launch (Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor). I haven’t had time to get far, but what I’ve seen, I’ve quite enjoyed! Already I’m having difficulty imagining the replacement of the Doctor with another actor. It seems like it would require a bit of an adjustment with each switch.

      • Kessie
        December 8, 2011 - 10:25 pm · Reply

        I have trouble with the initial Doctor switches. But after a while, you realize that it’s the same character, just with a different face, and then it works. Like when you were a kid and they’d change the voice actor of the cartoon character. 🙂

        As for Mary Stewart, her books are wonderful in general. Romance/mystery, always female first person. Merlin is her only male first person character, I think, and I enjoyed him so very much. She really goes into detail about the Roman influence, and how Ambrosius was Roman and trained his troops like one. I read the summaries of Lawhead’s series, and it sounds so similar … I don’t think I could enjoy it as much.

        Now, Lawhead’s Byzantium book is absolutely fabulous. I think it’ll become one of the books I’ll read once a year.

        • Sarah Sawyer
          December 12, 2011 - 5:01 pm · Reply

          Ah, that makes sense. I’m hoping that it won’t take me long to make each adjustment. Time will tell, I suppose. 🙂

          I haven’t read Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle yet, though I have enjoyed many of his other books. I really liked what he did with the Robin Hood legend in the King Raven trilogy, so I suspect he did a good job retelling the Arthur legend–but if it’s similar to one you already loved, it might be difficult to enjoy no matter how well-executed. 🙂

      • Kessie
        December 8, 2011 - 10:34 pm · Reply

        Oh, I just thought of another Arthur book that took me by surprise. It’s Hexwood, by Diana Wynne Jones. Although you don’t find out that you’ve been hanging out with the Arthurian characters (and a few other myth heroes, too) until the very end.

        Hexwood, however, is a puzzle book. Chapter 1 actually takes place near the end of the story, and you don’t catch up to the beginning of it until the end. In the middle, everything is all scrambled around. Reading it is a delightful puzzle as you start figuring things out. I can’t imagine trying to write it. (Eventually it does become linear, and that’s when you start going, “Oh my gosh! You mean THIS character is really THIS character?” And so on and so forth.)

        And Mordion is one of those hugely damaged characters whom you just love to pieces by the end of the book. Sigh. Now I want to read it again.

  • Sulya
    November 23, 2012 - 3:41 am · Reply

    I read Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles a few years ago and liked them a lot. They reminded me of “The Mists of Avalon”. There are three books in the seiers: “Winter King”, “Enemy of God”, and “Excalibur”. I also would recommend Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy: “The Crystal Cave”, “Hollow Hills”, and the “Last Enchantment”. You can usually find them in one volume.

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