Posts filed under ‘CJ Stone’

CJ Stone: Why I (re)wrote The Trials Of Arthur

I wrote the original version of The Trials of Arthur between 2000 and 2003.

It was a book I’d wanted to write for a long time.

CJ Stone

I’d originally come across Arthur Pendragon in the mid-nineties, through my good friend Steve Andrews, while I was working on my first book, Fierce Dancing.

There was something about the story which caught my imagination.

Just to give you a brief outline: Arthur Pendragon is this ex-soldier, ex-builder, ex-biker who had some sort of a brain storm back in 1986 and decided he was King Arthur. When I heard about him he was already moderately famous, not only as a media figure – he had been on the Clive Anderson show and had had a number of radio and TV documentaries made about him – but he was also central to the campaign for open access to Stonehenge and heavily involved in the road protest scene of the time. By the time I met him, late in 1996, he was living on-site at the Newbury bypass, then the most prominent and fiercely contested of the road building schemes.

Fierce Dancing  had featured a road protest and I had already acquired the status of a sort of spokesman for the movement through my columns in the Guardian and the Big Issue.

It was more than just a protest scene. There was something profound and archaic at its heart. It seemed to evoke feelings and ideas that came from a very deep place. It was tribal. It was animistic. It was archetypal. Arthur’s story seemed to fit in well with the general ethos. I spent the better part of 1996 chasing all over the UK looking for him.

I finally met him in August of that year, at Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire, where we both got very drunk, after which, still drunk, I drove him and another bunch of drunken people over to Bath, where we got even drunker.

That was something Arthur and I did a lot of in our early days.

At the time my writing style was very tongue-in-cheek, and Arthur seemed a very tongue-in-cheek kind of hero. He often referred to himself as “the nutter who thinks he’s King Arthur”, which tells you a lot about Arthur’s approach to his identity. Had I written the book then it would almost certainly have been a comedy. I would have played it for laughs. It still is a comedy to a large extent, meaning that there are a lot of funny bits in the book. But it also has a serious point, something I’m not sure I would have been so clear about back in 1996.

So, then, the book didn’t get written in 1996. Other things got in the way. And by 2000, when I finally got round to starting work on it, my life had taken an uncomfortable turn. I was no longer a Guardian writer, and I was no longer writing for Faber & Faber either. The book was commissioned by Thorsons/Element, a New Age imprint of Harper Collins. I felt I was going down in the world. And it wasn’t me who got the commission, it was Arthur. So I was going to have to accept joint authorship, and I no longer had complete control over the end product. This was difficult. I was writing to please Arthur, not writing to please myself, which had a detrimental effect upon my style. I was never anywhere near as confident writing this book as I had been with the others.

Arthur’s view of himself is conditioned by his own self-mythologizing, of course. This is something we all do, but it is greatly compounded when you are not only self-mythologizing in the normal way but also identifying yourself with a mythological hero who is attempting to bring the mythology up to date. This is like mythologizing cubed. Mythology times mythology times mythology.

Arthur thinks he’s Arthur because he always has been Arthur. But clearly there had been a life before this which I insisted on exploring. As I said at the time, it will make the book all the more believable if we know where Arthur comes from. This tends to give the book a kind of hagiographical quality at first as in Arthur’s mind he was always destined to be Arthur. This is one of the prime weaknesses of the original book. Arthur emerges as a hero because of some sort of inherent quality he was born with, rather than as someone who stepped up to the mark and took on the role, which I now think is much nearer the truth. It’s not that Arthur is Arthur because he always was Arthur. It’s that he’s Arthur because he’s made himself Arthur. He’s worked at the role and made it come true. He’s evoked the name and taken the consequences. He adopted the name without necessarily knowing what it would involve. But then the name turned round and bit him and he’s never really been the same since.

Arthur Pendragon and the sword in the stone

So I was never very happy with the first part of the book. It was too much “Arthur did this” and “Arthur did that” and “good old Arthur”, without looking into the context or paying very much attention to anyone else.

Later I started writing about the protest movement, and this is when the original book starts to get really good. In that version of the book, it takes off around the half-way mark, and in the rewrite I’ve virtually done nothing to change the second half. It was always very good and it still is very good.

The book came out in 2003 and then quietly died a death. By 2009 it was out of print, and Arthur had managed to get the rights back. That’s when he approached me and asked if I could get the book back into print.

Thus it was that in early 2010 I started rewriting the book.

The first thing I did was to get rid of the introduction, which I had never liked. It was slow and clumsy and introduced you to characters that later were to play very little part in the book. It rambles all over the place while never locating you anywhere in particular. Later in the book I had made a decision that whenever a place is evoked we would really enter that place. We would step across its threshold and visualise it. If anyone reading this is ever planning to write a book, I would suggest this as good advice. Be there. Make it live. Make the pages come to life. This is very much what I failed to do in the original introduction.

So the new first chapter takes you right into the heart of an adventure: on the Prescelly Mountains in Pembrokeshire, at Halloween in 1994. We are introduced to people as archetypes. It’s not only Arthur as an archetype, but everyone else as an archetype too. This is a much more satisfying way of entering the book. Arthur is seen as one of many, not one on his own, and his story seems all the more profound for that. It is the story of a whole culture.

We also bring in another innovation: the story of the pagan calendar which runs like a thread throughout the book. Each of the pagan festivals is invoked, starting with Samhain, and ending with the Autumn equinox. This is absolutely precise, as Samhain represents the pagan New Year.

The book still has Arthur at its heart, of course, but it is also much more about the people around him too. It’s about people remaking themselves, just as Arthur remade himself. It is about the making of a culture as much as the making of a man.

The new book has 24 chapters whereas the old book had 17. This makes a difference of seven chapters. But two of the old chapters have been jettisoned, so in fact there are nine brand new chapters in this book. Two of them were written by Arthur, and the rest by myself. You’ll be able to tell the difference. Arthur’s chapters are very much more tongue-in-cheek than mine, meaning that he’s continued the book I might have written in 1996 and proved to me that he still is a tongue-in-cheek hero.

As for its relevance: it is not about contemporary events, but about things which happened back in the 90s. However, it is about protest, and there are even more things to protest about now than there ever were. The book is virtually a handbook for successful protest. We could subtitle it: How To Protest And Stay Sane!

It is also about challenging the mores of the dominant culture. It is about forging a new identity, about seeking something authentic in a world of dross, about finding something real in a world conditioned by advertising slogans. In other words, it is more deeply relevant now than it ever was.

At our first meeting with the publishers back in 2000 I had asked Arthur what he wanted the message of the book to be.

“If I can do it, anyone can!” he said.

Which doesn’t mean you have to wear a dress and a crown to emulate him. It just means you have to be authentically yourself.

July 5, 2012 at 9:44 am 4 comments

The Trials of Arthur – now on Kindle

Yep, The Trials of Arthur by Arthur Pendragon by CJ Stone is now available on Kindle priced £2.05, and just in time for the Solstice too. Image

But it’s not the Trials of Arthur that you may already know. This is a new, revised version containing seven new chapters from both authors and much that is rejigged, reworked and generally loved up. To give you a sense of how much revision there has been, the new version is over 20,000 words longer than the original.

All this raises the question of whether it is worth spending £2.05 for people who have already read the paperback. And to be honest, it is – this wasn’t the original intention, you understand, originally we were only going to tweak a few bits for the Kindle. But something possessed the authors and they got carried away, to the point that they are now ecstatically happy and convinced that the book is “everything it could possibly be.”

The Trials of Arthur was already an extraordinary book – a biography that is equal parts heroic and mad as all hell, a deep insight into what it means to be alive, and the definitive book about the protest scene of the late twentieth century. Anyone not already familiar with the story is strongly advised to at least have a glance at the free sample.

We’ll get Arthur or Chris on here soon to explain themselves soon but if you want to quiz them sooner, you’ll find them at Stonehenge by the Heel Stone for the Solstice. Happy Midsummer!


Arthur Pendragon & CJ Stone

June 19, 2012 at 9:42 am 2 comments

‘The Trials of Arthur’ now back in print

To help celebrate the longest day, The Trials of Arthur by Arthur Pendragon and CJ Stone has finally been republished!

It’s available from Amazon and from The Big Hand (with free p&p in the UK and £3 off.)

Go and look here for more information about the book – or download the complete ebook and read it for free.

You can also download the press release, if you are that way inclined.

Have a wonderful solstice everyone!

June 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm 2 comments

CJ Stone interview

The Trials of Arthur tells the story of how a biker and ex-squaddie decided that he was King Arthur and that his quest was to free Stonehenge from the government’s exclusion zone. This he eventually achieved – after first finding Excalibur, being crowned a Druid King and being arrested over 30 times.  It is an extraordinary book and, as its co-author CJ Stone is currently hammering away at a sequel, it seemed time to ask him to explain himself.  To that end, John Higgs, the author of I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary, tracked him down and spoke to him at length:

JH – I’m delighted that Trials of Arthur is being republished, Chris, and that a sequel is on the way.  Why are you writing about Arthur again?

CJS – Because I always said I would, and the re-release of Trials has reminded me how much I left out of that book, how much more needs to be said. What you don’t get in that book is what it felt like to be Arthur, and that is what we’re hoping to capture in this new one.  Mostly, though, because it is all still relevant; to seek the roots of who we are as beings, and to find that in the mythological and the legendary. Arthur and I, between us, as resurrecting the legend of Arthur in this 21st century context in the hope of acting as a signpost for where we think humanity should be going. It’s up to other people to decide whether they want to follow it or not.

JH – This sounds like it’s coming from a more certain place than the first book. Is it true you were fairly cynical about Arthur when you started?

CJS – John, I was never cynical about Arthur. I’m not a cynical person. I’m a sceptic, which I think means something else. But at the same time I have this capacity to believe two contradictory things at the same time. I’ve always done it. So, while I was sceptical about Arthur at first, I was also fascinated by the whole story and wanted very much to explore it. I believed it on one level, while disbelieving it at the same time.

Being a sceptic, I reserve my judgement on the whole reincarnation thing. You ask Arthur, and he’ll tell you he believes he is the reincarnation of the historical Arthur, but I just don’t know about that. I don’t have enough perspective to judge. So my formula has always been: it’s not who he says he is that matters, it’s what he does, and if he acts in a way that you think Arthur would act, if the things he does live up to the ideal, then it doesn’t matter if Arthur is the reincarnation of some legendary King: what matters is that he fulfils the role in a modern context.

Arthur himself says a number of things which suggest this idea. Like that line about there being three King Arthur’s: “There was the pre-Roman Arthur, and the post-Roman Arthur, and the post Thatcher Arthur and that’s me.”

JH – So focusing on what he does is the key to taking him seriously?

CJS – I always took him seriously on one level, but I also always saw him as a comedy figure too. You know: he can be very funny about this weird role he’s taken on, and there’s a kind of glint in his eye when he’s fired up about something. He won’t take shit, but he does it all with a sense of humour. So I guess when I first was thinking about him it would have been as a form of comedy: “the nutter who thinks he’s King Arthur”, which is his own occasional take on himself of course.

But then there’s a sort of magic that kicks in. Things happen around Arthur that I think even Arthur can’t explain. So on the one hand he is just a mad biker druid-type who thinks he’s King Arthur, on the other hand there’s a self-activating portion of him on some deep, deep level – the term is “archetypal” – that calls on a something deep in you. I mean: you talk about something “higher”, but I think it might be something “deeper”.

JH – I think we’re talking about the same thing.

CJS – Absolutely.  Maybe there’s no contradiction there. Naturally the higher you go the greater the depth you create.

Anyway: so Arthur activates that and “things happen”. This is that level of synchronicity that Arthur refers to as “the magic”. The magic kicks in. Coincidences happen. The right people turn up at the right time. The Warband isn’t an organisation as such. It is just a loose conglomeration of these “activated” beings. There’s no formal gathering. So people arrive on the scene and then they disappear and it’s as if Arthur, on the magical level, is making this happen. The main occurrence of this for me, which I mention in the book, was when I rang up Thorsons looking for a book deal, and the editor had Arthur in the room with her at that exact moment. So we just came together through the ether, as it were. It was the magic that brought our skills into conjunction.

JH – Looking over what he’s achieved, the name ‘Arthur’ has both given him visibility but also robbed him of credibility – for many people, anyway.  Do you think the pros of taking that name have outweighed the cons?  Could he have achieved the same without becoming Arthur?

Another one of Arthur’s sayings is: “I’m the best Arthur we’ve got, and if a better Arthur comes along, then I’ll get out of the way.” This is a variation on that old exhortation to “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Arthur is, both on an individual level, and a symbolic level, a leader. He leads from in front, he doesn’t push from behind. And in a sense maybe, this is the true meaning of the name “Arthur”: it’s as much a title as a name. It means leader.

JH – Absolutely.  That’s one of the better ways to get your head around him, I think, to view the name ‘Arthur’ as a strange type of title.

CJS – There was this dysfunctional boy from an army family, a soldier and then a biker, who, at some weird juncture in his life adopts this name and then it’s as if all the responsibility for living the life that the name represents is dumped on his lap. At this point he “becomes” Arthur. It doesn’t matter if he is the reincarnation or not. If he hadn’t lived up to the role none of that would matter, and by living up to the role he activates it on a magical level: he makes it real. I’ve adopted the role as writer, and by living up to it to the best of my ability I am making it real. You’d know that too, John.

Of course, by going round calling yourself King Arthur you are opening yourself up to ridicule, and to me, this is Arthur’s bravest act. He knows he will be laughed at. He knows people will point fingers and snigger at him, but, as he says, there’s one thing that unites all of his detractors and this is the fact that they haven’t met him yet. You meet him and you can’t help but be charmed by him; and I mean that in both senses of the word: he is both charming on a personal and on a magical level. He charms you into believing his crazy story.

I saw this at first hand once: this “charm”. We were in the Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, the year I started writing the book. It was a Fellowship of Isis meeting. Someone had made a film about Arthur, and had asked him to introduce it. It was a crazy day all round. It was the Year of the Snake in Chinese astrological terms and the Fellowship of Isis people were passing snakes around, all these crazy bohemian spiritual types in pagan fancy-dress and in the same building the Iraqi Communist Party were having a meeting. I’d noticed this when I first came into the building, as there was a sign in the hall telling you which room they were in. And then later, I could see these two faces peering in through the round window into the hall and I knew immediately it was the Iraqi Communist Party. I would have been the only person there to have made that connection and acknowledged them for who they were: these two, quiet, serious-faced Iraqis in western dress. I wonder what they would have made of all the strange goings-on in the hall? This was before the invasion, of course. Before 9/11 and all of that. That’s just an illustration of what that day was like.

But me and Arthur being who we are – or were at the time – we sloped off to the pub. It was Sunday afternoon and Arthur was in his full Druid outfit. And we walked into the pub which was full of Geordie steel erectors down from Newcastle on some building project, and it was as if we’d stepped onto a stage: everybody turned to look at him, and then immediately everyone was screaming with laughter. Someone actually pointed at him and said, “look, it’s King Arthur.” They were all pissing themselves at him. It was like he’d become a comedy routine – and you wonder why he drinks? And within half an hour he’d won the whole pub over. He walked into the pub with no money and now the whole world wants to buy him a drink. That was the charm. He charmed all of those drinks out of them, and then charmed them into at least a sceptical acceptance that he was who he said he was: not crazy at all. Real shit.

I remember one conversation I overheard. Arthur was telling some guy that he used to be a steel erector – which is true, another of those coincidences – and the guy said, in his Geordie accent, “so that was before you’s went loopy like?” But half an hour later Arthur was persuading him to come along to Stonehenge to take part in the solstice celebrations that year and you could see: the guy was fascinated by it all. He was lapping it up.

You see, its adventure isn’t it? It’s a life outside the routine. Arthur represents that. And then he unites people. First of all by making them all laugh at him or sneer at him, and then by calling on the spirit of adventure that lies within us all: the spirit that will challenge the forces of repression, but not in a dark or an angry way, in a funny way, in a fantasy way. Not by marching up and down and shouting, but just by living out this crazy life on the front line between fantasy and reality.

Could have achieved the same under another name? Of course not. It’s the name that has the magic. The name is resonant of so many things. For a start, it represents something ancient in the British landscape and in the British psyche: something real and authentic. So what Arthur does is to challenge the modern world – this criminal world of corporate irresponsibility – from the position of something more ancient, more authentic, more true. True justice as opposed to fake justice. Real truth, real honour. So when the man, Arthur, calls upon the name he is activating some deep reality which calls us all to rise up and challenge the corporate takeover of our world and to get back to our deeper selves.

No, he has to be Arthur, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. Otherwise he’s just a politician. It’s like when he stands for election. He’s got this keen political and legal brain. He’s very bright, and he could easily be a politician. If he wasn’t going round calling himself King Arthur, if he had a shave and joined some political party – maybe the Green Party – you could even imagine him getting himself elected. But this is the point. The whole political world is fake. Politicians are fake. Political parties are fake. They’ll say anything to get elected. They lie to you. And then you have this guy who says he’s King Arthur – claiming to be some imaginary King, some legendary figure from a mythological past that might not ever have existed – and he’s more real than they are. He’s not fake. He’s not lying. He’s never going to get elected, of course, but he’s there, offering the alternative, this grubby biker-king who lives in a caravan on the outskirts of Amesbury and who smells of damp and decay, who is simply not tempted by money or the corporate world, who is living his life according to his beliefs and not according to someone else’s greedy agenda.

JH – One of the most interesting things about Arthur for me is how the way he lives forces you to question how well you live up to your own higher values.  Have you gone under the sword, and pledged yourself to Truth, Honour and Justice?

CJS – I’ve actually been under the sword three times. I think I’m the only person to have done that. In case our readers don’t know what that is: Arthur has a sword which, on a variety of levels, qualifies as “the Sword of Britain”, not least because it has been acknowledged as such in the British Courts. All of that is in the book. Anyway, he knights you with this sword, making you swear to truth, honour and justice. Well you can’t argue with that, can you? Who can say they are against truth, honour and justice?

JH – I’m all for Truth and Justice. I’m not that arsed about Honour.

CJS – The first time I went under the sword was at Avebury, I think around Lammas time 1996, when I was just a sceptical journalist looking for a good story, I did it in such a way that I accepted the spirit of the oath without taking it too seriously. You’re on your knees when you take the oath, and then what Arthur does is he “raises you up” to an embrace, and then gives you your rank. There are three ranks as you might know: brother-knight, quest-knight and shield-knight. So the first time he raised me as a brother-knight, which is as someone whose feet are firmly established in the modern era. As Arthur says, it is our quest as brother-knights, to save our world and to bring back the ideals of truth, honour and justice, that the original knights have returned to help us fulfil.

Then later, after we’d got the book deal, he raised me up again at Stanton Drew stone circle just outside Bristol, with Ronald Hutton as a witness, and this time he raised me as a quest-knight, because I was on a quest to write this book.

JH – He raised me as a quest-knight too. It came out of the blue, he just sort of lunged at me. What was interesting about that was I had no time to think about it, I was just presented with this vow and had to react instinctively.  He didn’t have his sword though as we were in a London pub – the Kings Head in Southwark, suitably enough – so he used his hand, which I think makes me a handmaiden as well as a quest-knight.  So I’m in this quantum state where I’m both greatly honoured and a lowly wretch, which sounds about right.

CJS – My third time was in Glastonbury, after we’d finished the book, at some wild drinking party at a mutual friend’s house. I’d sort of retired downstairs with the drunken spins, while everyone else was upstairs, and I suddenly had this weird revelation about me being the reincarnation of Chretien de Troyes, and how I’d written about Arthur in a past life but had never actually met him, and now I was meeting him for the first time. So I kind of stormed upstairs to where the party was going on, filled up with this revelation, and, as I burst into the room everything kind of kicked into place. I looked, and there was my friend Denny with a silver goblet in her hand. And then my eyes settled on a silver platter on the table, and then on a stave leaning on the wall, and then onto Arthur’s sword. If you know about Chretien you’ll know that in his Romance of the Grail, the grail is actually four objects, called The Four Hallows of the Holy Grail: a sword, a lance (or stave), a cup (or grail) and a silver platter. So that was what I was looking at in the room: the Four Hallows of the Holy Grail made manifest in the 21st Century.  This is the thing that Arthur always refers to as “real shit”. Something is really happening here.

The third category of knight in the Arthurian hierarchy are the shield knights. These are the guys who, like Arthur himself, supposedly remember their past lives. So that’s what I did at this point. I insisted on being raised up as a shield knight, having rediscovered my true identity as Chretien de Troyes.

JH – I didn’t know any of this.

CJS – OK, I know that might sound a bit crazy, and I’ve never been quite sure of the exact meaning of the revelation after that night – I was very, very drunk – but on a symbolic level it still works. Just as Arthur embodies the spirit of Arthur as it was passed down to us through the generations, so I embody the spirit of Chretien.  And there’s an interesting thing here, because it was Chretien who popularised the Arthurian romance. Without Chretien it would just be a Welsh folk-tale. It was Chretien who gave it international fame and so brought Arthur and the “Matter of Britain” to European attention. Without Chretien we might well have forgotten Arthur.

JH – Going back the Matter of Britain, the Sickness on the Land and all that – that still seems relevant today, but for me it would relate to the greed of the bankers, the hypocrisy of Fleet Street, the short-termism of our politics and so on.  Arthur’s very much a part of the Druid world and the issues he takes on are very much Druid ones – such as the return of the human remains removed from Stonehenge by archaeologists.  As a non-druid I can see how that may be admirable but I’d personally like a King Arthur who goes beyond that and concerns himself with bigger issues in the wider society.  Do you think he’ll ever concern himself with things like this, or would he just not work in that context?

CJS – I must admit I agree with this one. I think this is where he sells himself short as generally I don’t have much time for the Druid thing. It’s the weakness in the book, as far as I’m concerned. The Druids – the modern Druids, as we don’t know anything at all about the ancient Druids – are basically gentleman dilettante types. Ronald Hutton refers to them as Romantics, one of the last flowerings of the Romantic movement, and I can see that, but a lot of these current Druids are just vain egotists more intent upon blowing their own trumpet than taking on or challenging any of the establishment values. It’s all about personal power for them, about their own individual status. Arthur is much bigger than that, and he’s at his best when he is part of a larger movement. That was the whole thing about the protest movement of the 90s: Arthur just fitted into that so well. It suited his lifestyle and his way of being. So he was fighting for the land – that’s a key Arthurian theme – but at the same time you have all these Situationist anarchists, like Reclaim The Streets, and Arthur fitted into that as well. He was part of a broad political and spiritual movement. He was showing people how to go about things, being a real leader. That was his great time.

Trouble is, the last time he took to doing anything like that it almost killed him. He was involved in a protest at Winchester and all that living outside and digging tunnels etc, he got pneumonia and almost died. Partly that was my fault. I wrote this article in the Independent about him being too fat and too old to going down holes, and, being Arthur, he took that as a challenge and proceeded to go down the tunnels. Sort of: “I’ll show you.”

But, you see, from Chretien’s perspective he shouldn’t be doing any of that anyway. If you read Chretien, Arthur is not the central figure. He’s sitting there feasting and carousing. It’s like a big party happening all the time. It’s his knights who go out on adventures. His job is to send them out there on their quests. That’s what I think Arthur should be doing now. He should be sitting and enjoying himself, and letting the young knights come to him, and then sending them on their way with whatever quests he thinks would suit them. So yes, taking on the banks and corporate greed and the corporate colonial takeover of our country, those sorts of things, but it should be the knights doing this. Arthur has a great strategic brain, and can think of all sorts of campaigns, but I think it’s up to others to go out and fulfil those things now.

On the other hand, his current campaign at Stonehenge has a deeper significance I think. It’s to do with the ancestors, and the guardians and the spirits of the place: this place which is the very heart of Britain. It’s always been Stonehenge which has activated Arthur, ever since his biker days. So while it seems like a minor point on one level, on another, perhaps it is fundamental to what he is trying to do. By bringing the bones of the dead back to their rightful place, maybe he is helping to create the magic which is at the heart of the hope of a British national revival: helping to activate the magic at the heart of these islands, which is what Arthur, the mythological figure, the “once-and-future King” of legend, has returned to fulfil.

The Trials of Arthur is available as a free ebook (below), and will be republished as a paperback on June 21st.  It’s sequel, La Vie D’Arthur, will follow before the end of the year.

View this document on Scribd

April 22, 2010 at 6:07 am 6 comments

The Trials of Arthur in Automata form

The Trials of Arthur is now available as an ebook and will shortly be republished in paperback, but if you prefer your stories in a more physical form the full tale is told just as well here, in an automata built by Sophie Naylor:

Thanks to Susanna for forwarding the link.

April 19, 2010 at 6:16 am Leave a comment

The Trials of Arthur – free ebook and Vote Pendragon!

The Trials of Arthur: The Life & Times of a Modern Day King by Arthur Pendragon and CJ Stone will be back in print in a new paperback edition in the very near future. The ebook, however, is ready now, and is free to download, print, read online and generally do with what you will.  By clicking on ‘share’ in the top right hand of the widget below, you’ll be able to include it in your own blogs, social networks and webpages.

Arthur, meanwhile, is standing as an independent parliamentary candidate for Salisbury. Details of his campaign are here, and also on this facebook page.

View this document on Scribd

La Vie D’Arthur, the sequel to The Trials of Arthur, is coming soon.

April 14, 2010 at 3:13 pm 4 comments

Big Changes for La Vie D’Arthur

This lovely thing is the first copy of La Vie D’Arthur, which was to be published on May 1st.  It will be the only copy.  We’re not going to publish that book now.  No, we’re going to publish 2 books instead.

To recap: Arthur Pendragon, a notorious Druid King, and CJ Stone, a remarkable writer, produced a book called The Trails of Arthur which was published to much acclaim in 2003. The Big Hand intended to reprint this book.  CJ wanted to rewrite a few bits, Arthur wanted to use his preferred title, and The Big Hand wanted a less shit cover.  The result is what you see here.  And it is a marvellous thing in its own right.

Except… there was some concern that those who had read Trials might buy it, thinking that it was a new book.  And while it had new bits, it wasn’t different enough to justify buying twice.  Then there was the new cover, by photographer Vanessa Winship. Vanessa had managed to capture something about Arthur that CJ felt the original book had not.

Then something happened to CJ.  Christ knows what it was, he started to write about Arthur again and words just started pouring out.  A few short questions in an email would produce thousands of words in response. Longer essays about the original book followed.  A new book, a sequel, is starting to emerge.  It has to, really, he will burst otherwise.  Some strange Spirit has taken him.  It is best to stand back and not interfere.

Arthur himself is far calmer about the whole thing.  It turns out that he recently wrote another 70,000 words or so, which will form the basis of the bulk of his contribution.  Always ahead of the ball, that’s Arthur.

So, The Big Hand will now bring you two books.  This new book, which will reclaim that cover image and the title La Vie D’Arthur, should be on your bookshelf by the end of the year.  It will bring the story up to date and supply much new insight from older and wiser minds. Before then, we will reprint the Trials of Arthur, the definitive account of his life in the 20th Century, as the original text.  This should be available by the summer solstice, with the free ebook coming a little earlier.

So – much to look forward to. Expect updates over the coming months.

March 31, 2010 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts

Publishers of extraordinary books

The Brandy of The Damned

The Brandy of the Damned, by JMR Higgs

The Trials of Arthur: Revised Edition

The Nabob of Bombasta