Peter David,
Knight Life
(Ace, 1987; 2002)

If King Arthur fulfilled prophecy and returned again to this mortal plane, it's unlikely the current English monarchy would hand him the crown and step aside. Besides, Britain no longer has the kind of world dominance necessary to give Arthur the global foothold he'd need to lead the world into a new golden age.

So when Arthur returns in Peter David's Knight Life, it is in modern Manhattan that he appears, striding into a fashionable men's clothier in full plate armor (Merlin's idea of an anachronistic joke) in search of more contemporary vestments.

Arthur, living in a mystical dimension of Central Park's Belvedere Castle and aided by his backwards-aging mentor, Merlin, launches a campaign for mayor of New York City. He is opposed by the immortal Morgan Le Fey, who is stirred from decades of corpulent self-pity by her old foe's return, as well as the Democratic candidate, Bernard Bittberg, and the reincarnated soul of Modred, now housed in the body of a political public relations hack. Arthur's allies include reincarnated versions of Guinevere and Percival (Lancelot, happily, doesn't show) and a pair of brain-dead petty hoodlums.

Knight Life is a fast read, full of David's delightful humor. But this isn't just a funny book -- beneath the bright veneer of wit lies a tale of excellent Arthurian drama.

A bonus is David's keen analysis of the American political system. Through Arthur's aggressive campaigning, David gives us a look at how politics and politicians should be -- and, sadly, never will.

Find and read Knight Life. It, and Peter David, both deserve your vote.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 4 September 1999

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