The Barnes & Noble Review
Peter David's Knight Life, the revised and expanded version of his 1987 debut novel, Sir Apropos of Nothing, put a new, witty spin on the Arthurian legend. A charismatic politician named Arthur Penn (the immortal King himself) runs for the office of mayor of New York, backed by a boy genius named Merlin, a reincarnated Guinevere, and a trustworthy accountant named Percival. But as with many politicians, Arthur has to keep his scandalous past out of the papers -- and that means keeping his half sister Morgan and her bastard son, Moe, at bay until the election is over!
In David's newest, One Knight Only, Arthur Penn is now president of the United States. With an approval rating over 90 percent and a healthy economy, the only thing worrying the president is Arnim Sandoval, a mastermind terrorist committed to destroying America. Then tragedy strikes. After a State of the Union address, the first lady is shot. While his wife is lying in a coma, barely alive, Arthur vows to not only save her but to seek vengeance for the brutal act. Fans of Arthurian legend should definitely give this series a try. While the premise seems a little campy at first, David manages to pull it off by creating engaging characters and interesting plotlines. After finishing the book, I couldn't help but wonder how our real-life presidents would fare if they wielded a magical sword and had immortal demons at their beck and call… Paul Goat Allen
Having made England's doughty King Arthur (aka Arthur Penn) mayor of contemporary New York in last year's Knight Life, David now has his charismatic hero attempt to carve the White House into a new Camelot. At first Arthur's problems seem mere irritations, though reincarnated wife Gwen is now itching to do "something meaningful," like health care reform. Then Arthur's world suddenly shatters. With his grouchy wizard Merlin frozen into a presidential Rose Garden ornament and Gwen slammed into a deadly coma by Arthur's mortal enemy, the Mideast terrorist Sandoval, Arthur resigns the presidency and embarks on a perilous quest to release Merlin and heal Gwen with a swig from the Holy Grail. This irreverent romp impartially jousts at White House staff pomposity, the inanities of today's press corps, Congressional antics and mismanaged U.S. foreign policy. Some of the goings-on are belly-laugh funny, but overall the comic effect is diluted by the flattish characters, including Gwen and even Arthur himself. Plenty of gory violence, some gratuitous First Lady kinkiness, and a wild mix of ancient legends of incredibly Hulkish baddies will resonate with the post-adolescent readership that would seem to be David's primary audience. The novel closes on a note less of rightful revenge than of relentless relief-even as Arthur Penn, former U.S. president, Britain's once and future king, deserves a more fitting fate. (July 1) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In Knight Life (Ace, 1987/VOYA October 1987), this author brought legendary character Arthur Pendragon, also known as King Arthur, into the future as the mayor of New York. Here, Arthur is now married to the reincarnated Gwen and serves as president of the contemporary United States. Although Arthur's favorite wizard and counselor, Merlin, helped preserve him and get him to his current position, Arthur is now tormented less as Merlin sits as a frozen statue in the White House garden. Soon, however, Arthur suffers another loss when Gwen is shot by terrorists and lingers in a coma. Arthur's only hope of restoring his world is to seek the Holy Grail. What ensues is a medieval quest of familiar characters transported into a contemporary setting, often with humorous results. Although many characters are brought in from the traditional Arthur legends, those readers unfamiliar with the lore might have difficulty following the sometimes-flat portrayals. The story contains plenty of gore and some overt kinkiness, making it less suitable for the middle school or early high school audience. Nevertheless, the primary audience is adult, and those readers will appreciate this book if they enjoy Arthurian reading. Although the novel can stand on its own, it is recommended for public libraries where the first book was popular. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2003, Ace, 373p., Ages 15 to Adult.
Arthur Penn, known as Arthur Pendragon in a former life, now resides in the White House as President of the United States, learning the intricacies of politics on Capitol Hill. When his wife, Gwen, becomes the victim of an assassination attempt, however, Arthur turns his attention to finding the only thing that can save her-the Holy Grail. This engaging and intelligent sequel to David's classic Knight Life is a tale filled with dark humor and ingenious variations on the Arthurian legend in a contemporary setting. For most fantasy collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.