is the central romance of the Vulgate Cycle, in which the chivalric elements in Arthur's court come to the fore. These chivalric elements contain the seeds of Arthur's destruction and the dissolution of the Round Table, as Lancelot's love for Guinevere undermines his bond to Arthur; the tension between love, prowess and loyalty is the undercurrent of the long romance which describes the exploits which he performs in her service. It also includes many stories which are chivalric adventures largely unrelated to the main theme, and uses the device of interweaving these stories to form a huge stream of narrative. This series of episodic pictures leads ultimately to the birth of Lancelot's son Galahad, who is destined to become the hero of the Grail. Parts five and six of Lancelot
move nearer to the beginning of the Grail quest; Lancelot comes to the Grail castle, and is deceived into sleeping with Elaine, thinking that she is Guinevere; Galahad is born of their union. Arthur's wars with Rome are retold from the original chronicle versions, and Lancelot plays a major part in the king's victory. Lancelot is deceived again when Elaine comes to Arthur's court, and when Guinevere realises that he has slept with Elaine; she banishes him from court, and he goes mad with grief. The romance ends with Lancelot's return to sanity and the arrival of Galahad at court. For a full description of the Vulgate Cycle see the blurb for the complete set.