Friday, 25 March 2011

FANTASY REVIEW: Malory's Knights of Albion 1: The Black Chalice - Steven Savile

Release Date: 17/03/11


Son of a knight and aspirant to the Round Table, Alymere yearns to take his place in the world, and for a quest to prove his worth. He comes across the foul Devil's Bible – written in one night by an insane hermit – which leads and drives him, by parts, to seek the unholy Black Chalice. On his quest he will face, and overcome, dire obstacles and cunning enemies, becoming a knight of renown; but the ultimate threat is to his very soul. Malory’s Knights of Albion: The Black Chalice is the start of an exciting new series of never-before-seen Arthurian adventures.


Growing up I was told tales of Arthur and his knights and I suspect it was probably one of the first fantasy’s that I was introduced to. It’s a love that has stayed with me many years after the fact so when I heard about this title from Abaddon, and the fact it was being written by Steven Saville, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Whilst the reality of the knights were more brutal and barbaric, it’s the romanticised version originally created in song in the 11th Century that the modern reader is more familiar with and whilst the code was introduced (purely as a life preserver for a lot of the knights to prevent them killing each other) it is an image that has remained firm into modern life.

What Steven creates within this title is a book that has all the romance and standpoint of a book that harks back in great tradition to the original Mort D’Arthur by Thomas Mallory and brings new stories of the Round Table to the fore. It’s wonderfully creative, the prose ideal and for me, it suits Steven’s writing style down to the ground. Back that up with additional touches that brings other mythos from the British Isles into the mix and the overall concept is one that will endear itself to a great many readers.

All in a great read and one that I couldn’t put down once started; add to the mix some solid characterisation, superb dialogue fitting to the text with some clever footnotes and the reader really does have a treat in store. I’ll eagerly await other titles in the series to see how these future tales of honour, courage and friendship progress.

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