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King Arthur, known as “The Once and Future King,” has long been prophesied as destined to return in the hour of Britain’s greatest need—in fact, people thought he might return during the Battle of Britain in World War II. But currently, his return remains something we dream of and hope for in the future. What that return will be like and how to depict it in fiction is a true challenge that only a few novelists have attempted, such as Stephen Lawhead in Avalon and Susan Cooper in her The Dark Is Rising series. However, in my opinion, no novelist has succeeded in creating a plausible and enjoyable return for King Arthur.

Is there a Prince Arthur in England's future - and will he bring about King Arthur's return? Read "A King in Time" to find out.

Is there a Prince Arthur in England’s future – and will he bring about King Arthur’s return? Read “A King in Time” to find out.

The problem is if Arthur returns in a novel, then we in the real world are left realizing it’s just a novel—and at least this reader is upset that he missed that return as part of reality. However, I believe Mary Enck has come the closest to solving this problem in her novel, A King in Time, by doing two ingenious things.

First, she sets her novel in the future—the year 2100 A.D., a time that may seem far into the future to her readers until she draws us closer by telling us one of her main characters, Prince Arthur, is the great-grandson of the current Prince William of England, so this is a royal family with which we are familiar. This Prince Arthur is destined to become King Arthur of England. I was ready to expect then a novel completely set in the future in which Prince Arthur becomes King Arthur, so that his return is carried out through a reincarnation of his earlier self.

However, Enck had another plan up her sleeve—time travel. After she introduces us to some of her other main characters—Prince Arthur’s mother, Queen Elizabeth III, a man recently released from a psych ward who has lost his memory, and a mysterious man in flowing robes among others—strange events begin happening. A series of magnetic shocks occur, signs of bizarre weather change. One day the characters find themselves walking on the royal grounds when they again experience these magnetic shocks; afterward, they realize they are still in the same place but that some aspects of the landscape have changed. Ultimately, when they find a castle in the distance, they realize they have been transported back in time.

I won’t go into all the details here; the point is that Enck solves the problem of how to depict Arthur’s return by having the reincarnated Prince Arthur go back to meet the earlier King Arthur. The issue then arises that if people time travel and interact with the past, they can change the future. Prince Arthur knows that such interaction is considered a taboo, but he decides that he will interfere regardless to see whether he can stop how things play out between King Arthur and Mordred and thus prevent the fall of Camelot.

You’ll have to read A King in Time to find out what happens, but I thought Enck’s concepts for handling Arthur’s return to be quite enticing. The novel might sound a bit like Back to the Future meets Excalibur, but this concept worked for me. Of course, Enck isn’t the first author to create time travel in Arthurian literature—I’ve done it in my own Children of Arthur series, and so have many other authors—and in that respect, we all owe a debt to Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; I was pleased that Enck gives a nod to Twain in her book.

Enck also takes quite a few liberties with the Arthurian world, expanding especially on the concept of the two dragons under Vortigern’s tower—dragons that generally represent the Saxons and Britons in their battles, or simply the forces of good and evil—but Enck’s dragons become major characters in the story with surprising results.

I admit I thought the plot a bit complicated with quite a few minor characters and subplots going on so that it wound about a bit more than I liked, but it’s definitely a novel worth reading and one that will bend some readers’ minds for how it pushes the limits of Arthurian legend. So many Arthurian novels are retellings without anything really new about them. A King in Time is a refreshing surprise of new ideas and new energy.

Perhaps best of all, a cliffhanger ending suggests a sequel will be forthcoming. I can’t wait to see where the story will go next.

For more information about Mary Enck and A King in Time, visit http://www.amazon.com/King-Time-II-Mary-Enck-ebook/dp/B00SRFRDIW

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and award-winning author of The Children of Arthur series

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I first heard about the book, The Revelation of King Arthur: Deceit, Intrigue, and the Guard’s Account, after its author, Robert Bruce Fruehling, posted a comment on my blog and told me he believed the story of King Arthur’s return would be used to bring about the coming of the Antichrist. I was intrigued but skeptical by that statement and first thought Fruehling meant King Arthur would be the Antichrist. His argument is not that radical but rather that the Antichrist will present himself as being King Arthur.

The Revelation of King Arthur Robert Bruce Fruehling

The Revelation of King Arthur by Robert Bruce Fruehling

Fruehling has an M.A. and M.Div. from Ashland Theological Seminary and ministers through “aviv Ministries.” And he clearly knows the Bible well from the way he has researched his theories and quotes from the Bible in this book.

The Guards’ Account in the subtitle refers to theories, based on lies spread by Roman soldiers following the Crucifixion, that Jesus’ body was stolen and that he did not rise from the dead but simply had not died. This story spread as a lie throughout the ancient world and Fruehling shows it is the origin to more recent works like The Da Vinci Code and Holy Blood, Holy Grail that claim Jesus had children with Mary Magdalene. Basically he explores in great detail the reasons why these stories are not true and debunks these myths.

I have never bought into these fantastic theories about Jesus’ descendants, although Jesus’ siblings were likely to have descendants, among whom King Arthur is usually included. And in my research for writing King Arthur’s Children, I never came across any legitimate claims that King Arthur was directly descended from Jesus, nor do I believe that to be the case. Fruehling does an effective job of showing how unbelievable these theories are.

The second part of Fruehling’s book explores the Arthurian legend. Fruehling relies on some unreliable scholarship—especially that of Norma Lorre Goodrich, although he assumes her work is impeccable—but ultimately, her often contradictory theories have little bearing on Fruehling’s main argument. Nevertheless the book wanders about in places talking about Martin Luther’s opinions of the Jews and how they influenced Hitler, how the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was a secret society (highly questionable) and misunderstanding history—such as attributing Princess Diana’s ancestor being a King of Jerusalem to refer to her being descended from Jesus via the Merovingians—I guess he never heard of the Kingdom of Jerusalem set up by the crusaders. He also acts like Laurence Gardner, the late author of Bloodline of the Holy Grail, was a legitimate scholar—something I have yet to believe considering he could never document anything properly in his books.

Aside from such wanderings and relying upon weak sources, Fruehling’s primary focus is upon how the images in the Book of Revelation relate to King Arthur—particularly the image of the red dragon on the flag of Wales being the beast in Revelation, a sign of the AntiChrist.

I won’t go into detail about the comparisons made between King Arthur Book of Revelation, but those interested can explore all the evidence Fruehling cites there. I have to admit that while Fruehling gives plenty of evidence to back up his theories, I remain skeptical simply because plenty of biblical scholars have tried to explain Revelation ad nauseam. Frankly, I don’t believe the biblical book of Revelation accurately depicts how the end of the world will happen and I think the book has done more harm than good. If only the Church fathers had been wise enough to leave it out of the Bible.

Fruehling also takes issue with novelists who depict King Arthur’s return, primarily Stephen Lawhead, who is generally regarded as a Christian author, and influenced by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis—also considered Christian authors. He shows how all of these authors strayed from orthodox Christianity and introduced and blended pagan myths with Christianity which is not acceptable as a belief system for a true Christian. Fruehling is completely correct in these charges against these authors, but they wrote great fiction nonetheless.

I can’t say that I agree with Fruehling’s religious beliefs wholeheartedly, but he makes a solid argument that will win over orthodox Christians, and it does give much pause for thought. I suspect we will never see the return of King Arthur in reality, or the events of Revelation, but perhaps both will result in some new fiction depicting a false King Arthur as the Antichrist. I don’t wish to be cynical, but after two thousand years of waiting for Jesus to return and countless people trying to analyze the book of Revelation to determine when and how that will happen, despite Jesus himself stating that no one will ever know that hour, I remain skeptical. Still, I have to admit I found myself wondering why the legend that King Arthur will return is so fascinating to us—perhaps because we want a savior who does not have a religious context. Much as I am a fan of the King Arthur legend, and I am more than willing to write fiction about his return because it makes fabulous fiction—it would be just that, fiction. Jesus is, by comparison, a much more likely to be historical person, and from all written about King Arthur and Jesus, King Arthur could in no way compete with Jesus to be the better savior.

Fruehling closes by saying “We are on the eve of the revelation of King Arthur. We are also on the eve of the return of Jesus of Nazareth. Which ‘messiah’ will you choose? May we choose our hero wisely.” I imagine most of us would choose wisely—I’m just skeptical, after centuries of hearing we are “on the eve” that we will need to make a choice. As I said, Revelation has probably done more damage than anything else the way it has held our imaginations hostage for all these centuries.

Despite my personal qualms with the arguments in Fruehling’s book, I did find it compelling reading and I encourage people interested in Christianity and King Arthur to read The Revelation of King Arthur and make decisions for themselves.

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Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, available at www.ChildrenofArthur.com

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Check out my recent interview with Irene Watson at Inside Scoop:

http://insidescooplive.com/author-pages/Tichelaar-Tyler_King_Arthurs_Children.html

Topics of conversation:

  • Is King Arthur folklore, legend, or did he exist?
  • What is significant about whether King Arthur had children?
  • Genealogical aspects of King Arthur and his descendants
  • Current royal family links to King Arthur through his children
  • Arthurian society compared to current society

After earning a Ph.D. in British literature, Tyler R. Tichelaar began writing and publishing a series of historical novels including “The Marquette Trilogy” and “Narrow Lives,” which won the Reader Views Literary Choice award for best historical fiction for 2008. These novels are family saga type pioneer stories about the growth of America and specifically the town of Marquette, Michigan. Tyler’s interest in genealogy has inspired his novels and his study into the Arthurian legend. He first fell in love with the legend when he was fourteen and read “The Boy’s King Arthur” by Sidney Lanier with N.C. Wyeth’s marvelous illustrations. His reading of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon” made him begin to see the fictional possibilities in the story beyond simply retelling it and inspired him to write his own fiction about King Arthur.

Tyler’s newest book “King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition” is a scholarly work that explores treatments of King Arthur’s children from the Middle Ages to twenty-first century novels, including claims by several families to be King Arthur’s descendants, a claim that if true, Tyler can claim for himself. He is currently working on a novel about King Arthur.

King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition

Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D.
Modern History Press (2011)
ISBN 9781615990665
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (2/11)

Read interview with author on ReaderViews.com

Read the review on ReaderViews.com

Synopsis: Did you know King Arthur had many other children besides Mordred? Depending on which version of the legend you read, he had both sons and daughters, some of whom even survived him. From the ancient tale of Gwydre, the son who was gored to death by a boar, to Scottish traditions of Mordred as a beloved king, Tyler R. Tichelaar has studied all the references to King Arthur’s children to show how they shed light upon a legend that has intrigued us for fifteen centuries.

King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition is the first full length analysis of every known treatment of King Arthur’s children, from Welsh legends and French romances, to Scottish genealogies and modern novels by such authors as Parke Godwin, Stephen Lawhead, Debra Kemp, and Elizabeth Wein. King Arthur’s Children explores an often overlooked theme in Arthurian literature and reveals King Arthur’s bloodline may still
exist today.

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Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, available at www.ChildrenofArthur.com

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