Wolf and the Crown

Wolf and the Crown

by A. A. Attanasio


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Wolf and the Crown by A. A. Attanasio

The Warrior King

Arthor, Eagle of Thor, has triumphed through war. Now Britain—and destiny—are his to claim. Already rolling on the roads from Tintagel to Camelot is the great wheel that will become the Round Table.

But the perilous order promised by Arthor's victory is threatened by forces beyond human ken. For Merlin has descended into Hell, to fend with the Fire Lords who give the Universe its shimmering form. And for the young king himself, there is a sacred Graal, and an Earthly love, to seek...

A. A. Attanasio's epic retelling of humankind's most beloved legend weaves into one magnificent tapestry the hallowed warp of Arthurian lore, the shaggy woof of Druidic myth, and the shimmering strands of quantum science.

Author Biography: A. A. Attanasio is the author of The Wolf and the Crown, The Eagle and the Sword, The Dragon and the Unicorn, Solis, Kingdom of the Grail, Hunting the Ghost Dancer, Wyvern, Radix, and The Moon's Wife. He lives in Hawaii.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061057762
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/28/1999
Pages: 410
Product dimensions: 4.32(w) x 6.94(h) x 1.14(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Arthor Draws the Sword

The sword came away so easily from the stone that Arthor could only stand there startled, with the gold hilt in his trembling hand and the silver blade flashing with sunlight. Immediately, he tried to return it to the black rock in whose cleft it had stood undisturbed and immovable for so long. But the rock would not hold the blade anymore. The sword slid from his grip and would have clattered across the anvil-shaped stone and fallen to the ground had he not quickly seized it again.

The hilt of gold felt preternaturally shaped to his palm and fingers, and the blade swung lightly through the air, a natural extension of his arm. From farther down the hill, on the slopes of Mons Caliburnus, a small crowd uttered cries and shouts to see the sword drawn so readily from the stone. They were the swordsnuths and their patrons, the merchants and warriors who had come to Camelot for the third of the five-year festivals to commemorate the setting of this sword in the stone by the wizard Merlin.

Only moments before, Arthor had attempted to purchase a sword from them for his brother Cei, who had damaged his weapon on the dangerous trek from White Thorn, their home in Cymru. The swordsmiths had mocked him, a ragged servant with no coin and nothing of worth to barter. He had shuffled uphill dejectedly, kicking at the hawkweed and dandelions in the yellow clover. He would not even have tried his hand at the swordexcept that he had remembered seeing this marvelous weapon once before.

Just days ago, on his journey to Camelot, Arthor had been diverted into the hollow hills, the realm of the pale peopleof Celtic lore known as the Daoine Sid. Those Celtic gods were more real than mere lore-he knew that now-but that knowing sorely troubled his Christian mind. In the hollow hills, he had seen marvels that rocked the very foundations of his faith: Faeries had deceived him and vampyrical lamia had nearly torn him to pieces; Bright Night, prince of the elves, had conversed with him; and, worst of all, he had confronted the vehement god that the north tribes called the Furor and stared terrified into his one mad eye. The Furor would have slain him on the spot but for Merlin, who at the last moment appeared to wield this wonderful sword and fend off the rageful god. Thus, Arthor had escaped with his life intact-and his wits nearly shattered.

This was that sword, he realized as the sundering truth staggered him and he leaned back against the black stone. Was it a dream? he queried his frightened soul. Is this a dream?

The loud voices now clamoring from below assured him he was awake. And the sunlight smashing off the clear blade hurt his eyes and branded his brain with the precise shape of the sword that he remembered from his trespass of the underworld. How can this be?

From below, the swordsmiths and warriors came running, yelling at him, "Boy! Boy! Put that sword down!"

He moved quickly to obey. But, again, the stone would not receive the sword. He turned and lifted the blade in a hapless shrug to show that he had tried and failed.

Merlin and Arthor

The scowling crowd edged closer, then stopped their shouting all at once. Arthor thought for an instant that the beauty of the sword had silenced them. Suddenly, a dark voice opened from behind him, and he jumped and nearly dropped the blade.

"The sword is drawn!"

Merlin rose from the cliffside of Mons Caliburnus as if hoisted by invisible wings. His midnight blue robes furled in the river breeze, and his wide-brimmed hat, its conical top bent askew, cast a dark shadow over his long face.

"The sword is drawn! Bend your knees before your king!"

"But he is a boy!" one of the warriors shouted, even as most in the small crowd genuflected reflexively before the imposing presence of the wizard.

"This is no mere boy." Merlin strode to Arthor's side and placed his long arm across the lad's shoulders. Garbed in a hempen sack-shirt, with his short hair stiff as a hedgehog's and his pale, rosy-cheeked face slack-jawed with awe, Arthor indeed appeared a callow youth. "This young man is Aquila Regalis Thor-high king of all Britain. Kneel before him or be banished!"

The command in Merlin's vibrant voice brought everyone to their knees. Arthor, startled speechless, turned to look at the wizard. This close, he could see the subtle crimson stitching of astrological sigils and alchemic devices in the blue fabric. And within the shadow cast by the wide-brimmed hat, he beheld a strong, aged profile, pale and pocked as if carved from stone,

"Say nothing," the wizard whispered to him. "Hold the sword high and march downhill to your palfrey. Slowly. Remember--you are king. Carry yourself with regal bearing."

Arthor complied, though his heart stammered in his chest and his mind blurred with questions and doubts. All eyes trained on him stared in wonder and befuddlement. None dared speak, except for one swordsmith's apprentice, a boy no older than the king himself, who cried out meekly, "Long live King Arthor!"

The sound of his name married to the tide king cramped his heart tighter in his chest, nearly squeezing all his breath out of him with astonishment. And if he could have, he would have blessed that smith's apprentice for not mocking him.

Merlin led the way down the hillside to Arthor's palfrey, which still held the youth's dented shield on its saddle peg. The...

The Wolf and the Crown. Copyright © by A. Attanasio. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Wolf and the Crown 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The Wolf and the Crown was a good book, but there were times when the book dragged. I liked the previous book The Eagle and the Sword a lot better. This book follows Arthor on his first year as king. Its about him trying to unite his kingdom. I loved Arthor in this book. He grew a lot from the last book and showed real leadership and love. My favorite parts of the book is when Arthor prays to Mother Mary, and you get to here his thoughts your heart just breaks for him. I also thought that the last part of the book the warriors of the round table was the best part of the book. The middle of the book had too much of Merlin as Rex Mundi and really dragged the book down. Merlin's actions also really disappointed me. Over all a pretty good book. I look forward to reading the last book in the series The Serpent and the Grail.