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Rules for a Knight
Cover of Rules for a Knight
Rules for a Knight
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From Ethan Hawke, four-time Academy Award nominee--twice for writing and twice for acting--an unforgettable fable about a father's journey and a timeless guide to life's many questions.

A knight, fearing he may not return from battle, writes a letter to his children in an attempt to leave a record of all he knows. In a series of ruminations on solitude, humility, forgiveness, honesty, courage, grace, pride, and patience, he draws on the ancient teachings of Eastern and Western philosophy, and on the great spiritual and political writings of our time. His intent: to give his children a compass for a journey they will have to make alone, a short guide to what gives life meaning and beauty.



From the Hardcover edition.

From Ethan Hawke, four-time Academy Award nominee--twice for writing and twice for acting--an unforgettable fable about a father's journey and a timeless guide to life's many questions.

A knight, fearing he may not return from battle, writes a letter to his children in an attempt to leave a record of all he knows. In a series of ruminations on solitude, humility, forgiveness, honesty, courage, grace, pride, and patience, he draws on the ancient teachings of Eastern and Western philosophy, and on the great spiritual and political writings of our time. His intent: to give his children a compass for a journey they will have to make alone, a short guide to what gives life meaning and beauty.



From the Hardcover edition.
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About the Author-
  • A four-time Academy Award nominee, twice for writing and twice for acting, Ethan Hawke has starred in the films Dead Poets Society, Reality Bites, Gattaca, and Training Day as well as Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise trilogy and Boyhood. He is the author of the novels The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday. He lives in Brooklyn with his four children and this book's illustrator, Ryan Hawke.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 14, 2015
    Actor and author Hawke (Ash Wednesday) pens a heartwarming, medieval tale on ethics. Written in an epistolary form, Hawke writes from the perspective of his imagined ancestor Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke, a knight who knows he is about to die in war. Sir Thomas teaches his children the 20 rules of knighthood, using examples from his own life to prove their validity. Each chapter begins with a drawing by Hawke’s wife, Ryan, and a short aphorism. Sir Thomas states that “luck is the residue of design” to explain the importance of dedication. To explain courage, he asserts that “anything that gives light must endure burning.” In addition to the more obvious notions one might instill in a child, Hawke touches upon subjects less-often addressed, such as speech, solitude, and death—“in silence we can sense eternity sleeping inside us.” Hawke’s joust against injustice and fear is an easy and endearing read, perfect for young and old children alike.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2015
    If you don't have a woeful countenance already, this knight's tale will slap one on you right quick. It's 1483, and down in Cornwall, a knight is writing a farewell to his children against the possibility that he may fall in battle in a war against the Thane of Cawdor. Not the one whose title King Macbeth usurped 400 years earlier, it would seem-though, given the anachronistic nature of this book, anything's possible. Take, for instance, a moment just a few pages in, when our seasoned and grown-up knight, settling into his yarn, recalls that the knight to whom he apprenticed as a young man began his tutelage with a nice cuppa. That's all very well and good, except that tea was unknown in the Middle Ages; a stickler will tell you that it first turns up a century and a half after the events actor/novelist Hawke (Ash Wednesday, 2002, etc.) recounts. That's either magical realism or sloppiness, both of which this latest effort abounds in. Take the nostrum that Good Sir Knight Senior imparts to Junior: "You are better than no one, and no one is better than you." All very nicely egalitarian, that, but a bit out of step with the elaborate hierarchy of medieval equerry and nobility. And more: "The simple joys are the great ones. Pleasure is not complicated." Tell it to Abelard and Heloise, oh Obi-Wan. Elsewhere Hawke merrily (and again anachronistically) stuffs in a well-known Buddhist tale, the punch line to which is, "I set that boy down hours ago, but I see you are still carrying him." Ah, well. By all appearances, Hawke aspires to write a modern Siddhartha, but what we wind up with is more along the lines of watered-down Mitch Albom-and that's a very weak cup of tea indeed. Just the thing for those who want their New Age nostrums wrapped in medieval kit.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2015
    Hawke is a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor, good enough reason to call your attention to his new novel by giving it picks status, though his first two novels--"The Hottest State" and "Ash Wednesday"--did win respectable reviews. Begun as a letter Hawke wrote to his own children, this fantasist fable opens in 1483, as the Cornish knight Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke prepares for a particularly ominous battle by penning a missive to his four children citing 20 virtues that will help them lead a noble life.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New Yorker "A guide for living an upright and noble life."
  • Publishers Weekly "Hawke (Ash Wednesday) pens a heartwarming, medieval tale on ethics... an easy and endearing read, perfect for young and old children alike."
  • The Buffalo News "Entertaining and insightful."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Ethan Hawke
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