Monday, October 24, 2016

Short Book Reviews: Nothing New in Camelot

The Return of Sir Percival (Book 1, Guinevere's Prayer), by S. Alexander O'Keefe (Greenleaf, September 2016). 

A year after the death of Arthur, his kingdom lies under the brutal yoke of a Viking invader. Guinevere languishes in a convent, while setting up a secret spy network to keep tabs on the rest of the kingdom. Sir Percival, who had been dispatched to the Holy Land in search of the Grail, returns along with his Moorish companion. Morgana schemes to at last assassinate Merlin, while playing a dangerous game of alliance with the Vikings.

Although smoothly written, this sequel to the well-known story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table came across as flat and derivative. None of these characters struck me as remarkably original; they were all pretty much what I expected, although the many historical inaccuracies gave the narrative a Hollywood flavor (for example, Morgana is supposed to be a Roman assassin, but neither speaks nor behaves in a Roman fashion). The Moor, as charming as he is, reads as if he has just stepped out of Kevin Costner’s “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” and that character was copied from the Saracen in the A & E “Robin of Sherwood” series. 

Readers hungry for everything Arthurian may enjoy this book, but anyone looking for a fresh take on the legends will likely be as disappointed as I was.

No comments:

Post a Comment