An immortal Knight of the Round Table faces his greatest challenge yet—saving the politically polarized, rapidly warming world from itself—in this slyly funny contemporary take on Arthurian legend.
“If you like Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, you’ll enjoy Perilous Times. . . . An utterly original take on Arthurian myth.”—The Times
A POPSUGAR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Legends don’t always live up to reality.
Being reborn as an immortal defender of the realm gets awfully tiring over the years—or at least that’s what Sir Kay’s thinking as he claws his way up from beneath the earth yet again.
Kay once rode alongside his brother, King Arthur, as a Knight of the Round Table. Since then, he has fought at Hastings and at Waterloo and in both World Wars. But now he finds himself in a strange new world where oceans have risen, the army’s been privatized, and half of Britain’s been sold to foreign powers. The dragon that’s running amok—that he can handle. The rest? He’s not so sure.
Mariam’s spent her life fighting what’s wrong with her country. But she’s just one ordinary person, up against a hopelessly broken system. So when she meets Kay, she dares to hope that the world has finally found the savior it needs.
Yet as the two travel through this bizarre and dangerous land, they discover that a magical plot of apocalyptic proportions is underway. And Kay’s too busy hunting dragons—and exchanging blows with his old enemy Lancelot—to figure out what to do about it.
In perilous times like these, the realm doesn’t just need a knight. It needs a true leader.
Luckily, Excalibur lies within reach.
But who will be fit to wield it?
With a cast that includes Merlin, Morgan le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and King Arthur himself—all reimagined in joyous, wickedly subversive fashion—Perilous Times is an Arthurian retelling that looks forward as much as it looks back . . . and a rollicking, deadpan-funny, surprisingly touching fantasy adventure.
Debut novelist Lee takes a side-eyed look at both chivalric legends and contemporary eco-warriors in this hopeful eco-fantasy that asks whether Excalibur might be able to slay climate change. After blowing up a fracking facility and accidentally unleashing a dragon, young activist Mariam escapes the chaos with the aid of a recently resurrected Sir Kay, knight of the Round Table and foster brother of King Arthur. Given repeated lives by Merlin, Kay is used to being revived for military missions but he's less prepared to handle the more abstract foe that is the collapse of Britain's ecology. He knows, however, that the resurrected Arthur's plan to "make Britain great again" is not the right tactic. Instead, Excalibur needs a new and better wielder. Lee does not skimp on the bleakness of the environmental crisis nor on naming its villains, but he maintains a steady faith in humanity's ability to bring itself back from the brink; swords can do more than cleave if they become rallying symbols for folks who do not recognize their own heroism. Readers with a love of Arthurian romance and ecological optimism will appreciate Mariam and Kay's struggles and triumphs.
This book was wonderful! It tackles several different topics and the genre could fall into Fantasy, Sci-fi, Political satire, and historical fiction.
The author did a wonderful job of putting me into the headspace of all the characters immediately. While the pacing did slow down about halfway through the book, I was already deeply devoted to Kay and Mariam and did not feel like the story lost my interest.
This is an interesting and different take on the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur’s court. In this story, the earth is possibly past saving and evil rules. I admit there were a few times I was lost, trying to make sense of the names and places. I did enjoy the book, as it is much different from my normal reads, mostly dark, with a sliver of light.