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King Maker: The Knights of Breton Court, volume 1 Mass Market Paperback – September 28, 2010
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"There are fewer greater pleasures in a reader's life than witnessing a writer whose work they have enjoyed reached a new plateau in their storytelling skills, and such is the case here... Broaddus delivers in a voice that both whispers and roars and cannot be ignored." - Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award-winner Gary A. Braunbeck
"Maurice Broaddus' writing creates a dangerous and authentic mood. The language is fierce and evokes the gritty realism of life on the streets... For some, King Maker is going to be the best read of 2010." - FantasyLiterature.com
"King Maker is a fascinating novel... [and] should be on every SF fan's shelf." - Adam Christopher
"Deft characterization, authentic dialogue, exciting plot... Maurice Broaddus has definitely brought his A-game to this urban joust." - Gene O'Neill
"King Maker's strength is its ability to stay true-to-life even when the fantasy components come into play..." - Nick Cato, Stem Shots
"It’s impossible to approach a new version of the timeless tale [of King Arthur] without asking, 'Do we really need this version?' I’m pleased to report that Maurice Broaddus provides many compelling answers to this question, answers which led me to conclude with a resounding 'yes.'" - The Sci-Fi Guys Book Review
About the Author
Maurice Broaddus holds a Bachelor's of Science degree from Purdue University in Biology (with an undeclared major in English) and comes from a family that includes several practicing obeah (think: Jamaican voodoo) people.
The author lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. His areas of interests includes religious studies, folklore, and myths. His previous books was the novellas Orgy of Souls (written with Wrath James White) and Devil's Marionette. He's a senior writer for HollywoodJesus.com and his dark fiction has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and web sites, most recently including Dark Dreams II&III, Apex Magazine, Black Static, and Weird Tales Magazine. He is the editor of the Dark Faith anthology. His novel series, The Knights of Breton Court (Angry Robot) debuts in 2010. Visit his site at MauriceBroaddus.com.
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I started this book believing it to be a retelling of the story in a new setting. I quickly realized that wasn't the case after all. The events we all know from Mallory, White and others are referenced here and there in the narrative. They happened. Instead, King Maker posits are cyclic story that arises repeatedly as the conditions are right.
In the first chapter alone we see old friends' new forms - Luther White (Uther), (The) Green (Knight), Morgana (la Fey), Merle (Merlin), etc. White, a powerful street lord, has a son, King. He also has a tryst with Morgana and fathers another, before he's killed by Green and by treachery.
Some time passes, and we learn than the situation has changed. Green remains a lieutenant to a man called Night (Gwyn ap Nudd, maybe?). They are opposed by Luther's unacknowledged son, Dred. King, after a flirtation with thuggishness in his youth has stepped out of it, spending his time more with Wayne, a social worker and general do-gooder who's come up out of the same neighborhood.
The book's plot deals mostly with machinations between Dred and Night, though they have consequences for King, Wayne, and other characters. It's not until close to the end of the book that circumstances, fate, and crazy ol' Merle have convinced King that he needs to step up and protect Breton Court from the two gang lords.
The only real downside to the book for me was the writing, which was inconsistent. In many ways it was excellent; Broaddus uses different authorial voices depending on the POV characters, bringing them even more to life. At the same time, there were instances of pointlessly complex sentences, missing verbs, and other poor construction.
Still, those issues were infrequent enough to avoid making the book unpleasant. Broaddus' deft intermingling of straight and gang life, magic, and the fey made for a compelling read. The Arthurian underpinnings provided a strong foundation. Deviations from the story and the addition of crime and horror elements prevented it from feeling stale or rehashed.
I look forward to reading the second book in the series.
This book is gorgeous, in a dark and horrible way. It reads like a nightmare that is lush and decadent, while being set in squats and under bridges. Even those characters at the *top* of the hierarchy, live in conditions that most people wouldn't consider a basic standard of living.
I highly recommend this as a read that will shake you up a little and maybe pull you out of any comfort soon you might be in regarding Urban Fantasy.
I have some issues with the culture of the book and the relationship with women portrayed - It's hard out there for a ho... but it's not an issue with the writer - it's written beautifully - it's just that hard attitude and world view of the slice that is being written about really couldn't be portrayed any other way. Not and work or be realistic - but it is sort of depressing.
I have a lot of love for King, Lady G, Merle, Wayne - and a host of side characters that have relevant roles in the unfolding of the tale. Sometimes scenes jumped in a way that I had to figure out where I was - but I'm not sure if that was the formatting issue mentioned below or an authorial issue (or even just a me issue.)
Still gets a Bravo! from me as even with any *figurin* I might have had to do - still worth it. Can't wait to read Book 2.
The kindle edition I bought had some formatting problems that have been reported - so hopefully those get fixed - nothing major - some spacing issues that caused paragraphs with dialogue and end and beginning to get thrown together.
This is Volume 1, so I suspect we will learn more about King James, as I didn't get the connection of him to most of the characters. King was the side character in place of the main character in my view. If he had even narrated the story, in place of popping up now and then, it would have made more sense to me.
For fans of urban fantasy, Mr. Broaddus delivers.
Reviewed by Linda Chavis
for The RAWSISTAZ(TM) Reviewers
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