Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review of #2 The Queen of Air and Darkness By TH White

Name of Book: The Queen of Air and Darkness

Author: TH White

ISBN: 0-425-06310-395

Publisher: Berkley

Part of a Series: The Once and Future King

Type of book: King Arthur, government, round table, incest, Medieval Europe possibly 1100s or 1300s?, myth, fantasy

Year it was published: 1939


The Queen of Air and Darkness, originally titled The Witch in the Wood, is the second book in his epic work, The Once and Future King. It continues the story of the newly-crowned King Arthur, his tutelage by the wise Merlyn, his war against King Lot, and also introduces the Orkney clan, a group of characters who would cause the eventual downfall of the king. First published in 1939, it was re-released under the new title after some editing.


The author tries to make the characters round and interesting, but I feel he doesn't do a good job of it and the characters tend to blur in my mind, or perhaps the plot and story are dead which causes me to lose interest. The author does more telling than showing, or at least there is more lecturing than there should be in my opinion.


I honestly have no idea what I should have learned from reading this book.


This book is from multiple points of views; that of the Orkney brothers, the mother, and King Arthur. Mostly these are Arthur's early years and his struggles to establish the government that is just and fair, where fighting can be an outlet as protecting the innocent and so forth. Its written in third person narrative.

Author Information:

May 29, 1906 in Bombay, India

January 17, 1964


Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Historical Fiction

Thomas Malory

About this author
Born in Bombay to English parents, Terence Hanbury White was educated at Cambridge and taught for some time at Stowe before deciding to write full-time. White moved to Ireland in 1939 as a conscientious objector to WWII, and lived out his years there.


This was far more entertaining than the first book, and more readable too. For one thing the vocabulary wasn't very foreign and was readable, but I felt it left out too much once more. I wanted to understand more about the Orkney brothers as well as Morgause and why nothing came out of the scene where she was boiling the cat, (literally.) I can't recall if its this book or other books that drove me nuts with some historical inaccuracy. Here Arthur struggles with implementing "might is right" motto and there is also a creation of the Round Table and Merlyn meets a woman who is destined to lock him in a cave. Of course the author does include the part where Arthur slays Lot and sleeps with Morgause who happens to be his half sister and Mordred was begotten. I would guess the three stars is accurate since the only thing I recall about the book are the brothers and the cat scene and the incest scene.

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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