This book is an exciting introduction to the Arthurian legends. In the opening essay, Geoffrey Ashe traces the historical development of the King Arthur story from its ancient Celtic origins to recent archeological evidence. Ashe underscores Arthur's potency as an archetype: "Arthur symbolizes a deeply rooted factor of human nature" (p. 32). In the second part of the book, the artistic representations of Arthur and related figures tease out some of the ambiguities in this rich system of legends. In the final section, "Themes", Ashe uses text and images to show the parallels of Arthur in other cultures and the echoes of the myth in the modern age.