Length: 1 hr, 17 min
Reader: Jerome Lawsen
The story: As King Arthur and his court at Camelot feast on Christmas Day, they hear the haunting sound of a fairy horn. Into their midst rides the Green Knight, an unearthly giant whose skin, beard, armor and horse are all green. He challenges the knights of the Round Table: any of them may hit him once with his green battle-ax, then one year later they will meet again and the Green Knight will deliver the same blow to the Arthurian warrior. Sir Gawayne initially avoids the challenge, but egged on by his potential love, the Lady Elfenheart, he accepts the challenge.
This is a 20th century retelling of an ancient legend. Lewis writes in rhyming couplets, a form of poetry more connected in my mind to playground taunts than to epic poetry. Yet, Lewis doesn't take his epic entirely seriously either. He adds in humorous asides and anachronistic commentary on the events, but he also seems to be quite earnest about the themes of true love and heroism. The tone keeps the story from becoming completely sappy, but the story keeps the tone from becoming overly cynical. It's the tension between the two that keeps this story interesting.
The reader: Lawsen is an amazing reader. His narrating voice is an everyman American accent, pleasant and friendly-sounding. When he switches to character voices, he undergoes a magical transformation. His voices for Arthur, the Green Knight, and Gawayne had me wishing there was more dialog. He even has convincing female voices, something that few men can do well. The recording is crisp and allows Lawsen's voices to shine.