Many people who have reviewed this say this is an unfinished, oversimplified version of Le Morte d'Arthur. It was Steinbeck's final novel, and he died before it's completion, so it is unfinished. But to his credit, Steinbeck's Arthurian novel does break down some of the heavier subjects in other Arthurian texts and writes about them in a simpler language. However, like many of the Arthurian lore I've been reading, it is gravely wanting is strong women. I was hoping that, since Steinbeck is a modern author and women in his other works tend to be strong, this would be different. There is one kick-butt woman---Lyne is her name--and she trains knights who she meets on quests. She is incredibly tough, very critical of the knight machismo. She points out the unfairness of gender roles of the time period, since she was always more fit for combat and excelled in knighthood rules, but was forced to conform. Her section with Ewain really shined, and it is what made the novel stand out. The knights are tougher, in this Arthurian remake. Unlike in "The Once and Future King" and "The Romance of Tristan and Tristan's Madness," the characters are more proactive and spend less time whining about their problems rather than fixing it. I still wish that Steinbeck had used more of his own style in this novel, since his personal touches with character (like in "Of Mice and Men" and "Cannery Row") were missing. Most of the language was very matter-of-fact, and the dialogue fell flat. However, this was enjoyable and Lyne really sold the novel for me.