The Sword in the Stone is the first novel in The Once and Future King, T. H. White's epic fantasy re-telling of the Arthurian legend. A cartoon adaptation by Walt Disney made it into an enduring favourite for the young. But like Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, it appeals to adults and children alike. Here is an abridged version for Junior Classics readers.
Neville Jason's approach, he says, is to be "humble to the material" he is working with and to let the "powers of absorption work." It is apt that in this classic retelling of the King Arthur legend, the wizard Merlin often teaches the boy Arthur (aka Wart) by changing him into other creatures-a fish, a bird-to learn by absorption, by being, with empathy being the least of the lessons taught. It is a perfect fit of sensibilities. Jason, who was awarded the Diction Prize by Sir John Gielgud at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, delivers fully developed characters with such warmth and spark that listeners are instantly transported to Sir Ector's castle. Originally written in 1938, this audiobook is perfect for any J.K. Rowling fan, as its humor, intellect and playfulness feels as contemporary as a Harry Potter novel. In fact, Rowling has described White's Wart as "Harry's spiritual ancestor." Combined with the brilliant performance by Jason, what more could a fantasy fan want? (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.