The author of The Death of King Arthur is unknown. What is certain is that he was not the Welshman Walter Map, whose name appears at the beginning and at the end of the text. Why the true author dissembled himself behind the identity of Map, who flourished some fifty years before this poem was written, remains obscure. The story begins with the Round Table sadly depleted in numbers after the Quest of the Holy Grail, and sick at heart. It goes on to tell of Lancelot's continuing adultery with Guinevere and the arrival of the treacherous Mordred, and ends with the last battle at Salisbury, the deaths of Arthur and Lancelot, and the destruction of the Kingdom of Logres. The tale is told simply, with none of the absurd fantasy common in other French romances of the same period, and conveys all the melancholy of the legend that, centuries later, has lost none of its power to move.