The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland

The Seeing Stone

Written by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Part of the Arthur Series

9+ readers   Books vs Films   11+ readers   

The Lovereading4Kids comment

In a nutshell: Immerse yourself in brilliantly described medieval adventure | In 100 short, beautifully written chapters Kevin Crossley-Holland tells the story of young page Arthur de Caldicott, interspersing descriptions of Arthur’s life in his father’s manor house, its domestic and family dramas, with stories from the saga of the legendary King Arthur. There are parallels between the lives of these two Arthurs, each has a friend in the mysterious Merlin, both are truly chivalrous, keen to do the right thing for those around them. The story-telling is superb, characters, landscape, history brought equally vividly to life, and this is spellbinding fiction. The first in a trilogy this is highly recommended for readers of all ages.

King Arthur provides the inspiration for Philip Reeve’s book Here Lies Arthur, also full of action, adventure but much more than a ripping yarn, while Philip Womack’s Darkening Path series is likewise inspired by T H White’s classic The Sword in the Stone. ~ Andrea Reece

**** Charlie Hunnam stars in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie - in cinemas May 12, 2017.

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The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Medieval life meets Arthurian magic in a novel that transcends boundaries of time and age, appealing to children of 9+ and older readers alike.The winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Smarties Prize bronze award in 2001, this timeless novel is stunningly reissued for a new generation.

The year is 1199, the place the Welsh Marches. Young Arthur de Caldicot is given a magical shining stone in which his legendary namesake is revealed. In 100 short chapters that brilliantly evoke life in a medieval manor, stories of the boy King Arthur begin to echo - and anticipate - the secrets and mysteries that emerge in his own life ...


As bright and as vivid as the pictures in a Book of Hours. Deep scholarship, high imagination, and great gifts of storytelling have gone into this; I was spellbound. - Philip Pullman, The Guardian

This is an imaginative reworking of the Arthurian legends for young adults, setting glittering chivalric fantasy within a fictional framework that creates a realistic depiction of medieval life in 1199. It is this contradiction between the ideal and the real that the young hero Arthur de Caldicot faces as he grows towards manhood on the borderland of the Welsh March. Arthur is the younger son and desperate to become a squire, the first step towards knighthood, but is afraid that his father intends him for the priesthood. The enigmatic Merlin gives Arthur a black obsidian stone within which he can see the life of his legendary namesake played out. As the unfolding destiny of the once and future king is revealed, the course of Arthur's own life becomes a mirror to what he sees in the stone. The pace and suspense of the story is maintained with 100 bite-sized chapters that balance the unfolding drama and Arthur's familiar teenage fears with a well researched account of life on a medieval manor. The crusades, King John and feudal inequalities are the historical backdrop with enough blood, romance and magic to maintain interest as the expertly written narrative successfully walks that fine line between fun and education. (10 - 14 years) Kirkus UK

About the Author

Kevin Crossley-Holland

Kevin Crossley-Holland was born in 1941 in Mursley, North Buckinghamshire, and grew up in Whiteleaf, a village in the Chiltern hills of western England. He attended Oxford University, where after failing his first exams, he developed his passion for Anglo-Saxon literature. After graduating, he was the Gregory Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds, and from 1972–1977, he lectured in Anglo-Saxon for the Tufts University of London program. He worked as a children's book editor while beginning to write his own poems and reinterpretations of medieval legends. He has also taught for extended periods in America. He now lives in Norfolk, England.

Kevin Crossley-Holland has published six volumes of adult poetry and several libretti for opera. In the world of children's books, he is best known for his numerous retellings and anthologies, and in particular his version of Beowulf. "Storm," his novella, won the Carnegie Medal in 1985.

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Book Info


352 pages


Kevin Crossley-Holland
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Author's Website



Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

1st June 2001




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