Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shelf Life [adult]

The Table of Less Valued KnightsThe Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips
@SPL: FIC Phill

Finally, from the author of the very funny Gods Behaving Badly, a new novel about a different set of legends. Marie Phillips has taken the Arthurian tales of the Round Table, turned them upside-down, added a splash of Monty Python and a dash of Princess Bride, and ended up with this utterly charming and hilarious spoof of those chivalrous stories of old.

Sir Humphrey du Val once sat at the Round Table, not at Arthur’s right side, but at a respectable distance part way around. However the results of one bad quest leaves him demoted to the lowest table at Camelot, the Table of Less Valued Knights (one down from the Table of Errant Companions). Here he awaits the day he can retire, while remembering glorious days past, until one dark and stormy night not one but two questing opportunities present themselves. Unbeknownst to the Round Table, Sir Humphrey steals the second quest, and with his mini-giant squire Conrad, sets off to help the Lady Elaine find her fiancĂ©e, Sir Alistair, who was kidnapped by a Black Knight.

Meanwhile, the newly orphaned and crowned Queen Martha of Puddock finds herself suddenly and horrifically married to an upstart Prince Consort with humongous incisors, but hears a rumour that her older brother, Sir Jasper, is still alive. With the help of a stand-in crone she disguises herself as a boy and begins her own quest to find him so she won’t have to be queen. Along the way she picks up an enchanted sword (a la Excalibur, but this one is called Laila), and learns a few hard lessons regarding class and gender.

Once these two parties collide – quite literally – the action really picks up. There is death and dismemberment and reanimation, unicorns, men in iron masks and more than one Lady in the Lake (apparently there’s a union). In short, The Table of Less Valued Knights is a tale worthy of the reading and laughter, especially for fans of Christopher Moore (except there is a lot less courtly swearing). 

Find The Table of less Valued Knights at under the tag ‘Shelf Life Reviewed’.

This review is published in the Stratford Gazette. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Outreach and Collections Librarian.

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