The Trials of Arthur: The Life & Times of a Modern Day King – CJ Stone and Arthur Pendragon

It if fair to say that this book is unlike any other that I have read and that alone is a good enough reason to give it a try. It depicts the inspiring and unique journey of Arthur Pendragon, also known by numerous other names, as he discovered his true calling in life. To begin with I was worried that this might be an overly didactic tale of King Arthur in the 21st Century, but I was greatly mistaken. The Trials of Arthur is simply that: an insight into his life as he transformed from squaddie to biker to King Arthur himself and everything in between. It is also a humble explanation of the difference that he made to those around him, access to Stonehenge and to the world.

CJ has set the tone of this book perfectly. At no point do you feel like you are hearing the dreary tale of an eccentric man’s life. Instead it feels as though you are sitting around a campfire with Arthur and CJ exchanging stories and really getting to know these two extraordinary men. It is a gently humorous insight into the inner world of a misfit with a joyful rhythm propelling the story along. CJ explains not only the thinking behind each action, but also the sentiment, which ensures that the reader is never left behind.

The Trials of Arthur makes you stand back and take a look at your life, asking if you are happy and if you are making a difference for what you believe in. It doesn’t tell you what to believe, it simply says stand up for it. You gain an insight into the life of a Druid, but it is written in a way that simply allows you to accept that life, accept this man who believes that he is the legendary King Arthur. At no point did I think to myself ‘what a madman’. I just accepted what he believed and was inspired by his determination. The fact that one man, standing in the rain in his tatty leathers day after day, trying to persuade people that they needn’t pay to see Stonehenge, that it was in fact their right to see it, can influence so many people and ultimately lead to the end of restricted access to the monument, is truly inspiring. Overall this is a well written, humorous and insightful book, no matter what your personal beliefs might be.