The Bright Sword: A Novel of King Arthur

Viking. Jul. 2024. 688p. ISBN 9780735224049. $35. FANTASY
Young Collum of Mull, with his pilfered armor and his dreams of knighthood, has journeyed from the Outer Hebrides to Camelot, hoping to join King Arthur’s famous Round Table in any capacity in which they will have him. On arriving, he discovers that the king is dead, along with most of his knights. The few remaining knights, led by Bedivere, try to convince Collum that the glorious era of the Round Table is over, but he persuades them that they have one more task to complete—finding a new king. Following in the footsteps of the classic stage play Camelot and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, Grossman (“The Magicians”) sets his version of King Arthur in that same land of not-quite-history, mixing Saracens, plate armor, and Roman occupation. The novel puts Arthur into a mythical framework that lets the legends blend into an anachronistic but harmonious whole, while giving Camelot one last quest and one last hurrah that sets England on the path of its mythical history.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers who can’t resist a story featuring brave knights, stalwart queens, and magic.
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