Le Mort d'Arthur / Le Morte Darthur (in two volumes) by Sir Thomas Malory. Published by MobileReference (mobi)

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This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography. This book features the table of contents linked to every volume, book and chapter. The book was designed for optimal navigation on the Kindle, PDA, Smartphone, and other electronic readers. It is formatted to display on all electronic devices including the Kindle, Smartphones and other Mobile Devices with a small display.


Le Morte d'Arthur (spelled Le Morte Darthur in the first printing and also in some modern editions, Middle French for la mort d'Arthur, "the death of Arthur") is Sir Thomas Malory's compilation of some French and English Arthurian romances. The book contains some of Malory's own original material (the Gareth story) and retells the older stories in light of Malory's own views and interpretations. First published in 1485 by William Caxton, Le Morte d'Arthur is perhaps the best-known work of English-language Arthurian literature today. Many modern Arthurian writers have used Malory as their source, including T. H. White for his popular The Once and Future King.

- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Customer Reviews:

  • it's worth it
    ~This book is very big, very old, veyr hard to read, but still quite good. In case you are unaware, this is basically a synopsis of the larger King Arthur tradition, a kind of readers digest version. Thus, it is only readable in small doses at times, because the gramar can be painful, and one event will happen in one sentence that totally changes the plot line. So a guy will be in London or whatever, and then two lines later all the sudden he's in Wales. He jousts, then goes onto Scotland~~ where~~ he jousts some more and takes a castle. I wish I had known this before i read it, and it would have made much more sense why things weren't making the kind of sense I would have liked.

    However, some of the characters are great to follow. My favourite was Tristram, simply because of his struggles against a corrupt King Mark, and his endless quest to find his woman while not betraying his codes of knighthood in the meantime. You will have yours, so zero in and maybe find more stories~~ about~~ that person in the original tradition.~~~...more info

  • A masterpiece.
    Quite possibly the finest piece of
    prose available to the modern world
    (or at least the finest I have come
    across). Absolutely no library
    (neither home nor public) would be
    complete, or dare I say, worth a
    damn, without an unabridged copy of
    Malory's insightful retelling of
    many of the greatest Arthurian
    romances (hundreds of years old at
    the time Malory set them to paper in
    the fifteenth century) all woven
    together to form an eloquent vision
    of chivalry, romance, and adventure
    the likes of which all great epics,
    before or since, pale in comparison.
    No wonder this book has survived
    five hundred years and longer. It's
    all here: the most powerful
    characters to ever grace the pages
    of literary fiction, Arthur,
    Guinevere, Mordred, Launcelot,
    Merlin, Tristram, etc.; timeless
    tales of honor, knights-errant (in
    shining armor no less), fobidden
    love, fair maidens, et al. Told
    here in its most gimmering light are
    the search for the Sangreal (Holy
    Grail), the love triangle of Arthur,
    Guinevere, and Launcelot, the
    betrayal of Mordred, the wisdom of
    Merlin, the restoration and eventual
    demise of christian Britain, and the
    tragic love of Tristram and Isould.
    We all know these stories. We all
    know of the sword Excalibur. We all
    know of glorious Camelot. So what
    makes these tales stand above all
    else? We all long for what we
    cannot have. Is there a man alive
    who isn't seeking a true lover as
    Guinevere? Is there an ignorant
    fool among us who doesn't desire
    peace or true love or fulfillment of
    the soul? The Holy Grail, as we say?
    Or Paradise? Isn't that what Dante
    was searching for? And Milton? And
    wouldn't it have been easier for
    Odysses to, just give up? Today,
    yes. Oh if only we could learn to
    believe in a greater existence as
    our ancestors did. What a better
    people we would be. Not that
    A! rthur's Britain was without its
    problems. Quite the opposite,
    actually. The difference between
    Arthur's Camelot and our world:
    Arthur's knights, Bors, Percivale,
    and Galahad in particular, searched
    for a remedy. No obstacle was too
    difficult, no challenge too great,
    as to prevent these valorous knights
    from achieving their quest of
    finding their prize, the existential
    Holy Grail. Today, we search for
    the best program on television, or
    the fastest way to make french
    fries. At that, only if it's
    convenient. We could all learn from
    Malory's tales (and I realize this
    is simply my opinion). Le Morte D'
    Arthur should be in every household
    to share, and to enjoy, and to learn
    from. It is a sensational book
    (sectioned into either eight or
    twenty one books, depending upon the
    source) for all members of the
    family. It should be read, and
    reread often. Here I must voice my
    strong opinion that this a book not
    meant to be read in modern English.
    Keith Baines' modern interpretation
    of Malory's book is a wonderful
    companion volume to the middle
    English prose, but should not be
    used as a substitute. Any reader
    who chooses so is missing out on a
    fantastic experience. It is not
    that difficult to comprehend. To
    read a modern rendition, instead of
    one in Malory's elegant language, is
    like reading the Bible in modern
    English. Sure, the point is clear,
    but a piece of the art has been
    tainted. I also recommend picking
    up a volume of Aubrey Beardsley's
    art, which compliments Le Morte
    D'Arthur very nicely. Also, I want
    to mention that Malory's Le Morte
    D'Arthur is the best amd most
    complete of all Arthurian
    collections, although there a large
    number of great stories that should
    not be ignored, some of which
    include, Alfred Lord Tennyson's
    Idylls of the King, T.H. White's
    Once and Future King, and some
    me! dieval works which predate
    Malory's masterpiece, including,
    Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain, and four poems (authors unknown), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, La Mort le Roi
    Artu, Morte Arthure, and Le Morte
    Arthur. Even Mark Twain (arguably
    one of the greatest, if not the
    greatest, of all English writers)
    could not resist creating a story
    using Malory's fascinating
    characters as the centerpiece, albeit in a comical, yet enchanting, way. I welcome all comments and am anxious to speak with others who agree with my strong words and with those who choose to call me fool, I am happy to debate my opinion. Thank you for taking the time to share my world....more info
  • Engrossing! Worth the effort it took to read! Excellent!!!
    Where do I begin? Watching the film Excalibur inspired me to try to track down this book. I found out shortly after that day of this edition. Boy am I glad I did. The illustrations, whether in color or black and white are absolutely beautiful and vivid. They transport you expertly in your mind to the place being depicted in the image. When I first opened this book I was reminded in a way of reading Scripture almost. This is VERY old English folks, but PLEASE do not let that deter you. It only takes a little while to get used to the wording and you can soon begin to appreciate the "flavor" of, and get lost in the world of this book. To me this is the quintessential story of ideals, one man's dream as he wanted to affect the world for the better, and the problems, trials, and triumphs in his trying to make that dream a reality. It has EVERYTHING. Chivalry, love, honor, family, friendship, conflict, malice, trust, betrayal, and spice too. There is something in here that will surely delight everyone. Just give yourself time to get used to the wording of the text. A glossary is provided for this purpose in the back of the book as well. I loved this text partly BECAUSE of the way it was written, it did not "modernize" or "dumb down" the words. The "flavor" is ancient, noble-sounding, and captivating. It MADE me want to slow down and actually READ this thing, to ABSORB the text and story, the world and the people that live in it. If STAR WARS is a trip to a galaxy far far away, this is a voyage to a past rich in ideals, ideas, and passions of the human heart and soul that seem to have grown either cold, taken for granted, or simply and quite sadly, forgotten in this modern age.
    Again...please do NOT be turned off by the archaic writing style. Kick back, open the book, and let it carry you away to a world of romance, beauty, adventure, and passion that has seldom, if ever been equalled in our time. I fell in love with this work, and I think you will too... it can put a spell on you... and draw you into a world that you may wish you never had to leave. Even when you close the book, the allure and beauty and romance of this work just may stay imprinted on your heart forever....more info
  • Epic anthology and a rewarding but slow read
    Written in the midst of the calamitous Wars of the Roses, Malory's Arthurian epic includes themes of civil turmoil, conflicting loyalties and the supernatural (and other things beyond human understanding). King Arthur himself cannot escape the turning of the Wheel of Fortune, and his quick ascendancy in the beginning eventually leads to his equally sudden plunge into disaster at the end. In between, order returns to the British Isles for a short period in which harmonious cooperation among knights following the code of chivalry bring down traitors and rogues (interestingly enough, Malory himself apparently spent time as an outlaw). Though the tale was based on Celtic and French legends, civil war and imprisonment no doubt influenced Malory in his writing, which in itself became the foundation for nearly all future Arthurian literature.

    The Wordsworth Classics edition is not too difficult to read, but the glossary has great room for improvement. Some entries are redundant (with four for the word "orgulous") while others are missing entirely. For a relative new-comer to Arthurian literature like myself, the constant name alterations became a bit confusing as well. Though not a major barrier to the enjoyment of the book, this could have been amended by either annotation or an index of names/recurring characters. All in all, however, it was a wonderful and enjoyable read! No wonder medieval personalities fantasized about imitating Malory's chivalrous knights....more info

  • Great edition, very well made book, very pretty!
    Skipping the book review, you can read it yourself for that... the book, this edition is very very well made. The book has a great cover design with and beautiful dust jacket. She's beautiful without the dust jacket as well... a really nice binding too. The book to buy....more info
  • Simply Stunning
    Most everyone has some knowledge of the King Arthur legend. Either they've read it, been exposed to it by Disney or Robert Goulet, or have just heard of it from someone else that knows. So, I'm not recommending this book so much for the text.

    The reason why this edition of Le Morte D'Arthur is an absolutely necessary part of any collection is for its stunning illustrations. Anna-Marie Ferguson must have dreamed of Camelot when she was a child for there is simply no other way to explain the attention to detail, the romantic cast to all that we see. As real as Arthur and Lancelot may have seemed to us before, they become infinitely more human in the hands of Ferguson. I never tire of walking to my shelves and pulling out this book to just flip through it. To track my fingertips down the smooth sweep of colors and the beautiful images that really bring Camelot to life....more info

  • An epic book that rivals the Illiad in grandeur
    Malory's anthology of various King Arthur myths is great reading for the hero in all of us. The appeal of the Knights righteous behaviour and humility before God is an excellent example of how people should govern themselves. I'm not saying that one can just run about decapitating folks, or that "might makes right" but I do believe people should try to harbor good will, gentleness, and honesty. That just makes for better people. The stories themselves are fascinating. The Knights clearly maintain there high status, and in fact increase this, by serving Arthur. Arthur, conversly, does not act as a pampered King, but ventures off on his own, and jeoperdizes himself. Great reading, thoroughly enjoyable. I plan to read it to my sons to encourage chivalrous behaviour. Also an excellent look into the lives of our predecessors, hundreds of years ago....more info
  • Research
    A good book for research and findings...more info
    In my younger years I became captivated by the stories of the great King Arthur and his brave and noble knights, and I must confess that as I have gotten older I still have never quite forgotten them. These stories continue to hold as much meaning for me as they ever have. For anyone who loves honor, adventure, love, and bravery, I highly recommend this or any other Arthurian book....more info
    Highbridge Classics' "Le Morte d'Arthur,"as read by legendary British thespian Derek Jacobi, is a great adaptation of Thomas Malory's quintessential Arthurian tome. Newcomers to Malory will find the audio book more accessible than the beautiful but often enigmatic source volume, while long-time Malory devotees will discover fresh nuances in Jacobi's authoritative rendition. Necessarily, some significant abridgements have been made, but at six audiocassettes this production still captures much of the Arthurian world's enormous scope. Featured storylines include Arthur's rise to the throne and his claiming of Excalibur, the epic search for the Holy Grail, the doomed love between Lancelot and Guenever, and the tragic final battle between Arthur and his ill-begotten son, Mordred. Jacobi conveys all the glory of Malory's prose style, while nonetheless cleaning up the diction a bit for modern ears. Finally, Ruth Morse's concise text introduction provides some keen observations on the big picture of the Arthurian myth. A magnificent version of Malory that no lover of Camelot should be without....more info
  • Le Morte d'Arthur
    This was a very intriguing book. I felt it had very little description used throughout the book, the plot lines were so complexed that they got to point where it was impossible to follow them. Then characters just seemed to come and go throughout the book, sometimes their name was not mentioned for three or four chapters and the bam all the sudden it is like they were there the whole time, but yet it was still so interesting.

    Mallory did an excellent job just describing the scenery and the daily activities that occurred around the castle. When he tried to describe the feelings or justify the acts of the characters is when the book got too confusing. The way he wrote this book really makes it seem like a legend; the castle is so grand, the people are so happy, the villains are so evil, and the knights are so incredibly strong.

    My favorite part of the book was at the very beginning when Arthur went to get Excalaber. Mallory described the scenery and the actions with such vivid description it was so easy to get the gist of what was going on. He even throws in some supernatural elements to make this excerpt even more interesting. There was the mystical lady of the lake that could not be seen; all Arthur saw of her was her hand holding Excalaber above the water, and then the fact that Excalaber was just a normal sword and that the scabbard is what was truly magical. Woah this guy threw so many twists and turns in there....more info

  • Great Version, ...
    This is an excellent edition of the greatest Arthurian romance of all time. At first it may seem daunting, and a little bit sexist, but there's something about this set of stories that inspires not the conscious, thinking part of the mind, but rather the subconsious. Reading it is like having a dream. Reading from start to finish is a tremendous task (it took me several months and I can read pretty quickly), considering the length and the fact that it's in the original language (not quite as difficult as Chaucer, but more difficult the Shakespeare). Many of the words he uses had different usages in his day. Others like "orgulous" are hardly ever used. Still, like I said, this is for the subconscious, and I consider it well worth the difficulty. There is a vocabulary list somewhere on the University of Virginia website, where they have an electronic edition. This could be of help....more info
  • This is the place to start ...
    Thomas Malory's "Morte d'Arthur" is quite literally the "jumping-off place" for anyone who is interested in the legends of King Arthur. This is the book that sets the scene for so many other novels concerning the same characters. Here we are introduced to Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot, The Fisher King ... the "usual" cast of characters. We develop some background understanding of their actions and motivations as a result of Malory's exposition. This particular edition of the tales is translated into modern prose; I own another edition (published in the late 19th C.) that is more heavy going due to the stylized writing. My only caveat on "Morte d'Arthur" is that the tales are not always linear. Sometimes they represent things that are happening simultaneously, which may give the impression of the author jumping back and forth in time. Try not to let that affect your ability to enjoy this classic....more info
  • Le Morte D'Arthur
    I liked this book very much. I think that if anyone is interested in the story of arthur and his knights should pick up this copy. This copy tells of betrayel, romance, chivalry and is probably one of the best interpretations to the original form of the story. If you want a quick reading book and do not want to read all of the literature that Thomas Malory wrote then pick up this. However the original is still the best....more info
  • The breadbasket of medieval legends
    LE MORTRE D'ARTHUR (The Death of Arthur) was written by Sir Thomas Malory while he was imprisoned for some number of years. It was one of the very first times that the Arthurian legend was penned in English. There were some older Latin fragments of the myth floating around, but it's thru Malory's account by which we know the stories most thoroughly. The most successful movie adaptation of the legend, EXCALIBUR, is based on elements taken from Malory's epic.

    As I struggled through Chaucer while in college, I've not yet gotten up the courage to read the original middle-English version of this work (my apologies to all of the English professors out there). Therefore, it is good that Mr. Keith Baines was kind enough to translate the middle-English into a more accessible lexicon for me & people like me. Baines reveals the myths and legends in all their glory, and I can't help but believe that he expresses them in at least some measure of their middle-English power.

    This is an ABSOLUTE must-read for all persons who have even a remote interest in the Arthurian fantasy. Although the book is abridged from the original, it nonetheless contains all of the most famous characters and episodes from the legend.

    Within these pages, one will encounter Arthur, Gwynevere, Sir Launcelot, Sir Galahad, Sir Modred, Sir Bors, Sir Percivale, Merlin and all the rest. The purity of Galahad is contrasted with the sinful nature & temporary madness of Launcelot. The memorable allegory of Sir Percivale's duel with Satan, as well as so many other knightly adventures, are all recorded for us here.

    This book is highly recommended to all fans of medieval times, medieval literature, the history of Great Britain and the idea of Chivalry. The codes of honor, the rules of fair play and the heroic ideals conceived by the knights of the middle-ages have followed us down thru the centuries and are still as relevant to the best of us today as they were 500-1500 years ago. The story ends with one of the most memorable Latin phrases in literary history:


    [Here lies King Arthur, the once and future King]

    Now for the details, open up the book!...more info

  • Rich and full of depth -- wonderful!
    I have read T H White's "Once a Future King" and after the second novel started to get tired of his shtick that he wraps around the Arthur story. When I started reading Le Morte Arthur -- I was delighted that there is no shtick and just the story. That's the difference between a real classic and a derivative work. Malori is powerfully engaging. The chapters are short so it can be read like a series of small poems, related to each other. There is no strain to be entertaining as in T H White's work -- just pure beautiful myths of ages long past. Excellent T reading, lunch reading, and any cirmstance reading...more info
  • Signet translation much better than others
    I bought this Signet translation by Keith Baines after a frustrating attempt to read the Modern Library translation by William Caxton. Caxton's dry, stilted rendition left me hungry for a cleaner, more modern version.

    Here's a prime example from page 1:

    Caxton: "It befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was king of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time. And the duke was called the Duke of Tintagil. And so by means King Uther sent for this duke, charging him to bring his wife with him, for she was called a fair lady, and a passing wise, and her name was called Igraine."

    Baines: "King Uther Pendragon, ruler of all Britain, had been at war for many years with the Duke of Tintagil in Cornwall when he was told of the beauty of Lady Igraine, the duke's wife."

    If Caxton was my high school English teacher demanding that I diagram his sentences, I might forthwith set myself through with mine dagger most deadly.

    Anyway, if you just want to enjoy the Arthurian tales in their cleanest English version, buy Signet's paperback. It's also half the price of other translations.

    Happy reading!
    ...more info
  • Ancient tales, but inaccurate
    This is one view of the famous legend. I prefer the Holy GRail as discussed in the Defenders of the Holy Grail, or the works by Baigent and Lincoln. This is just a space taker for your shelf....more info
  • An Easily Understood Version of the Arthurian Legend
    Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur is one of the better known texts of the Arthurian legends. The text describes in great detail the history of the Arthurian world and expands on Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain by portraying many of the other characters in the Arthurian legends as well as King Arthur himself. One of the renditions of this tale is the Oxford Wold Classics edition of the Winchester Manuscript of Le Morte Darthur edited by Helen Cooper. This book is an excellent edition of the Malory's work and although the language may be a bit difficult to understand for the modern reader, Cooper does an excellent job of making the language and the ideas of the book understandable for all readers.
    The book begins with a detailed and informative introduction, which not only presents the many themes that are present in the book, but also describes the biography of Sir Thomas Malory himself and the circumstances in which he wrote the book. For instance Cooper describes the life of Malory and his criminal record as well as presents the major themes of the book ,which include, knighthood, romance and chivalry. The introduction is very clear and provides a helpful overview of Malory's work and the history surrounding Le Morte Darthur.
    In addition to an informative introduction the book also contains several other tools that allow the reader to gain a better sense of understanding of Malory's work. The book has a chronology of Arthurian material as well as a useful glossary of uncommon words that appear frequently in the text. In order to make the book even more understandable to the modern reader, the editor includes a list of unfamiliar words at the bottom of every page that occur on that particular page so the reader does not have to waste time looking in the back of the book for a meaning of a word. The explanatory notes at the end of the book as well as the index of characters also help broaden the reader's understanding of Malory's Le Morte Darthur and make the book even easier to comprehend.
    Helen Cooper's edition of the Winchester Manuscript of Malory's Le Morte Darthur is a well rendered, informative book, which is easy to understand for any reader. The book contains many tools which allow the reader to expand their understanding of the Arthurian legend and the book is written is such a way that the modern reader will have an easy time understanding the text as well as the themes present in the literature....more info
  • Someone format this text for modern readers
    Ever read the Bible? Shakespeare? Well this is harder. This beautiful edition includes and excellent forward, brilliant illustrations and a clean, clear type face and print. Unfortunately the format is from the 1400's. There are nearly no paragraph breaks, no quote marks around dialogue, and few dialogue tags. A difficult text made harder by old fasion formating. What a shame, it would be brillient otherwise....more info
  • A Masterpiece
    This is the authoritative version of the Arthurian Legend. Despite its title (meaning the death of Arthur) it deals exhaustively with the life of Arthur and his knights. Malory combined several pe-existing French and English Arthurian tales to create his grand compilation.
    Within the pages of this book are found the famous stories of Lancelot and Guenevere, Tristam and Isolde, Galahad and the Holy Grail. However, since Malory write these tales in no paticular order, they are inconsistent here and there. Also, Malory's version of the Grail quest is not even worthy of comparison to earlier versions such as the Old French Poem Perlesvaus or the Didot-Perceval. Still, this is the best version of the Athurian legends ever written....more info
  • Let's be honest. . .
    You already know if you're going to like this book. It was written in the 15th century. That fact alone should tell you that if you want a modernized version, look elsewhere. You should probably read T. H. White's The Once and Future King or Steinbeck's unfinished The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights. Both are retellings of this book, written for the modern reader, the former being the better, in my opinion, but the latter retains the same feel as Malory's work. If you're still not sure if you'd like this book, there are other reviews to explain in better detail why you should or should not try it....more info
  • Great book, timeless story.
    Book was shipped quickly and was in excellent condition. Exactly as it was promoted to be....more info
  • The legend of Arthur
    After reading this fine Penguin edition of 'The Death of Arthur', I understood why there was such a wealth of material for Monte Python to parody in their film 'The Holy Grail'. I found a lot of the action in Malory downright silly or stupid. To be fair, Malory did a superb job collating the various grail legends. As a modern publisher, Penguin has put together two nice volumes at a reasonable price. And yet, though the legends of Arthur and the holy grail do hold fascination for western Europe, to be candid, I found Le Morte d'Arthur a dull and unpleasureable reading experience. If you already love the legends or want to know more about them, buy the books. If not, there are plenty better things to read....more info
  • arthur
    this book was a waste of time
    do not read this its too long and is boring. Nothing goes on in it and the charecters are stupid. this book is not worth your time. If I was you I would buy GTA Vice City ....more info
  • The core writings of the Arthurian literature
    This is the one book I would recommend to anyone interested in the legend of Arthur and his noble knights. Sir Thomas Malory perfectly sums up the wide scope of the Arthurian times, with all the characters and their personalities coming alive with this brillant work. Also, this version under the editing of Janet Cowen possesses the most modern English, easily understandable, with no dictionaries required at your side....more info
  • The definitive book of Arthuriana.
    Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur was written while Malory served time as a political prisoner in the Tower of London; the comprehensive nature of the text attests to Malory's abundance of free time. Indeed, the knight-author compiled his tales of Camelot and its surrounding characters--knights and ladies alike--from numerous French romances on the subject. Note that the stories were originally romances; Malory, of course, added his own English slant to the stories, and they gain a considerable amount of gruesomeness because of his decidedly English imagination. But these stories of Arthur were originally bloody, as well. The French romances were probably gleaned from the Welsh Mabinogion, translated to the Gallic sensibilities, and purified, as it were, by Malory. The book itself is probably not one for those of us who are wrapped up in the details of everyday existence. Like much of Arthuriana, the details are left to the imagination of the reader/interpreter. More happens--more knights are killed, more ladies are saved, more tilts are tilted--in two pages of Malory than in all of Don DeLillo's books combined. (See what we've lost in our modern world? The will to act has dwindled because we're not exposed to enough action in our everyday lives. But I digress . . .) Le Morte D'Arthur has become the canon of Arthuriana, and the construction of the compilation of stories mirrors another canon, the Bible. As in the Bible, stories are repeated in different sections. Different characters do different things in different stories. But it's okay. We still love it. And we love it because it's part of our collective heritage. It's even seeped into our pop culture in musicals and animated feature films. The staying power of the stories may have something to do with the Bible, as well. Arthur is messianic in the purest sense; as the "Once and Future King," he will come again to rule in glory. With every reprint of Le Morte D'Arthur, we insure that this statement will never ring untrue....more info
  • Geoffrey of Lousiana
    First of all,let me start by saying that Malory is the most essential and best of all the Arthurian works.
    Secondly,I'm seriously considering teaching an informal class for local folks who would like to learn more about the Arthur cycle. I don't know everything, but I've studied the 17 books I have on the subject intensely.
    With respect, does anyone out there have any advice for me? Thanks!...more info


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