Saturday, 14 September 2013

Review: The King Arthur Conspiracy: How a Scottish Prince Became a Mythical Hero by Simon Stirling

When this nonfiction of King Arthur came up for review. I jumped at the chance to read it. I mean….how could this be nonfiction, right? Isn’t there some parts to the legend that is mythical and people’s imagination? Like a bed time story for children of knights on horses and magic swords and so on? How many of us really think Arthur was real? I thought I knew it all about Arthur. Well, I was wrong. Stirling reveals so much more to the story of Arthur and what we “thought” we knew about him and where he came from.

The beginning of the book starts with Avalon, where Arthur is buried. It explores the subject of where it is and how it was hidden from us for many years. Stirling also brings light to the conspiracies surrounding Avalon that I found really interesting. He even discusses if Arthur was in fact a mythical character or if there is more to the story. Which by now from my introduction you know there is…

While reading this book I couldn’t get over how the legend evolved and all the myths and gods from different places play a part in the story of Arthur. Even the different countries. I would have never thought.... Very fascinating. I have to admit that many of the names and words are a bit of a tongue twister to me! And I was finding myself trying to pronounce them out loud.

There are so many intricate parts to Stirling’s book, such as his mention of what Toulouse says. “That if Arthur had really existed there would be more concrete historical traces of him.” Well, I found that a bit interesting and presumptuous statement. Aren’t we still constantly uncovering history on a continuous basis? There are is still so much to be discovered in all parts of history. So she definitely hasn’t explored all the avenues-if you will-in my opinion.  Another thing that stood out for me was about Arthur’s family, including his sisters and how their names came about. Stirling even mentions the Lady of the Lake. Another part of the story, I thought was made up.

He also had some interesting things to say about Geoffery of Monmouth and his History of the Kings of Britain. As we all knew his interpretation was very popular. I remember his story well. There is so much to Arthur’s story that I could go on and on about. But I leave it up to the reader to discover it for one self. You will be enthralled!

He certainly gives you a vivid picture of how legends are made from real life events and people. He is meticulous with detail-- as a non-fiction should be. A truly fascinating read. I have learned so much! So forget everything you knew about Arthur and read this book. You will be glad you did. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Stephanie


  1. This is a superb review and I certainly intend reading this book. Geoffrey of Monmouth is interesting and the first mention of the story in a history. Yet so fictional! He writes of an earlier king and knights who battle with monsters and so on. And in the early story there is cannibalism. It is fascinating too how the King Artthur story morphs throughout history particularly the Middle Ages to reflect changing times. In the beginning and I am sure the book brings this out the story is told to reflect the first crusade and somehow make cannibalism forgive able. I really look forward to reading this book so thank you for bringing us a well written and fabulous review.

    1. Thank you so much, Carol! I'm delighted you like it!