This week’s book is The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland, the first book in the Arthur Trilogy

The Seeing Stone stars a young page named Arthur, who both is and is not King Arthur. Merlin gives him an obsidian stone that let’s him watch the lives of another boy named Arthur who lived two hundred years ago.

The book is a slice of life story. Arthur has to deal with things like his older brother’s insults, getting in trouble for helping the field-hands, and his general desire to find his place in the world. In the mean time, there is odd parallels with what he sees in the seeing stone, sometimes very similar events and sometimes quite opposite ones.

The story itself is a bit erratic. It’s not that it doesn’t know where it’s going, it’s just not in any hurry to get there. It’s split into one hundred chapters, some of which are only a page long (and some of them even shorter).

This defines Arthur’s character, though. At thirteen, he’s a bit unfocused himself. He longs to be a squire, but his father seems to have some hidden plans for him. He want to be betrothed to his cousin, but he also has a deep relationship with Gatty, one of the field-hands. This dichotomy of youthful spirit helps make Arthur seem real.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, but I can’t recommend it for everybody. The flitting style of the book might be offsetting to some. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to pick up the book and read a few chapters to determine if you’ll like the rest or not.