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Knight Life Hardcover – June 4, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Modern Arthur Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arthurian legend gets another kick in the pants with this rollicking rewrite of bestseller David's first novel, originally published in 1987. Extensively updated and lovingly revised, this hilarious romp in today's New York features a cast of zany characters, zippy dialogue and enough action and plot twists to satisfy most satirical fantasy fans. After 10 long centuries spent trapped in a magical cave, King Arthur is finally rescued by a pint-sized, wisecracking Merlin, who has aged backwards enough to slip through the bars of his own prison. The "once and future king" arrives, in armor, no less, on the streets of the Big Apple. Soon, with the help of Master Merlin, the charmingly anachronistic and good-hearted "Arthur Penn" is running for mayor of New York. Meanwhile, much to Arthur's dismay, the reincarnated but unemployed Guinevere, aka Gwen DeVere Queen, is already living with Lance, an unpublished and also unemployed "misunderstood" writer. Morgan, aka Morgana le Fey, Arthur's half-sister sorceress, bored and gone to seed in a dumpy New Jersey apartment, becomes angry enough to get back into fighting form when she discovers her spell has been broken. With the help of Moe Dreskin (aka her bastard son, Modred, PR whiz and erstwhile murderer of his royal father), Morgan schemes to put Arthur and Merlin back where they belong. But she has no idea just how determined Arthur's eclectic election team is to fight back and reinvent Camelot in the "kingdom" of Manhattan.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A New York mayoral election takes an unexpected turn when a new, independent candidate appears on the scene, running on a platform of common sense, humor, and knightly virtues. Assisted by his advisers, a ten-year-old boy genius named Merlin, an immortal accountant known as Percival, and a troubled young woman called Gwen, the newcomer, who calls himself Arthur Penn, proceeds to take the town by storm until the arrival of a pair of old enemies threatens to re-create the tragedy of the Arthurian legend. This revised and expanded version of David's first novel (Sir Apropos of Nothing), originally published in 1987 and now out of print, is filled with genuine wit, irony, and keen observations of human nature. It belongs in most libraries where Arthurian fiction is popular.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 343 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (June 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441009360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441009367
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on August 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As usual, Peter David manages to mingle his dry wit with the fantastic to produce a very satisfying tale. Having never read the original edition of this book, published many years ago, I can't compare the two. This expanded edition (expanded by some 30,000-plus words, according to the introduction) is a lot of fun.
Arthur Pendragon, King of the Britons, returns to life in the present day and runs for Mayor of New York City. With him are his perpetual advisor Merlin (whose odd habit of living his life backwards has reduced him to the form of a young boy), the immortal knight Percival (whom history neglected to mention was a Moor) and the reincarnate of his beloved Guienivere. Of course, old enemies Morgan Le Fay and Modred return to cause trouble as well.
The book is a nice satire of modern life and politics as well as a fun adventure yarn. I also appreciated David dotting the landscape of his New York with characters named after his colleages in the comic book world (Louise Simonson, Jim Owsley, etc.) It's the best sort of inside joke -- the kind that those who aren't in on it will never know was a joke and that those who are in on it will smile in appreciation and keep reading.
The sole misstep, I felt, came in a press conference scene where Arthur began outlining political positions which I suspect were crafted to reflect David's own. While this is certainly within his rights as an author, it seemed rather blatant and distracting to me.
Other than that, a great story, and I can't wait for the sequel.
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Format: Hardcover
What if King Arthur came back today? And what if instead of being the king of England, he did something radically different--such as run for mayor of New York City?
Those questions serve as the premise for Peter David's first novel, Knight Life. For years, Knight Life was hard to find--its popularity among David fans is well-known. Thankfully, David has ended the long searches through used bookstores by updating his novel and releasing it again in hardcover for a new generation of fans to pick up and enjoy.
If you like Peter David's usual writing style, you're in for a treat here. David pays homage to the basic tenants of the Arthurian legend while putting his own, comic spin on a lot of it. David has apparently done his homework and done it well, but he doesn't take it so seriously that he can't have some fun with it. There are a lot of absolutely laugh-out loud sequences in the book, from the Lady of the Lake rising up in Central Park and being covered with trash to the running joke about Merlyn's reverse aging and looking like a teenager.
This modern-day retelling of the Arthur story works very well and you can see the joy that David has in writing it. Some passages seem to be in the same vein as William Goldman's The Princess Bride. David pays homage, but also pokes holes in the coventions of the stories he is re-telling, just as he did last year with his great Sir Appropos of Nothing.
If you've a Peter David fan, this is a must-read. If you've heard good things about him, start here and then head on to Sir Apropos and Imazadi. All of them are great stories by a great author.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It almost makes me want to get over my loathing of Stephen King and read the dark tower graphic novel series. I mean I won't 'cuz my hatred of the dark tower 7 still burns bright, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was tempted. But after reading Knight Life, I seriously thought about revisiting my policy of boycotting all things King. Anyway..

A decade ago someone recommended Sir Apropos of Nothing to me and I friggin' loved it. It was a story about an anti-hero who won't accept his fate as a nobody on the sidelines. I love unconventional heroes. But what I remember most about the book was how visual it was. In fact, I remember telling someone of this awesome movie I had just seen, only to realize I was describing a book! I don't read a huge amount of fantasy, so I'm not sure how rare a talent Peter David actually is with his vivid descriptions.. But he's really the only author I can think of where I consistently misremember *seeing* a scene when I had instead *read* it. Knight Life is having a similar effect on me. Actually, after finishing this fairly short novel over two nights, I felt like I had just come out of a movie theater! I read David's intro and the trouble he's having getting this made into a movie. I can't see how any visual translation of what I read could match my imagination and I kinda hope the movie never gets made. As for my review, I just really love the idea behind it. I was afraid the satire would take over the whole story, but it really didn't. It also didn't single out Republicans and/or let off Democrats too easily which was another thing I was worried about. This was just a fun quick read without a lot of filler. Oh, quick disclaimer.. you may need to be a bit cynical and have unconventional tastes to really enjoy this.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Knight Life (1987) is another of Peter David's almost unclassifiable works. It is a small scale epic drama, with comedic overtones, of King Arthur running for mayor of New York while opposed by Morgan Le Fay.

Morgan is a couch potato watching sitcoms while consuming large quantities of beer. She is contemplating suicide but first she tunes in to her favorite channel: a view of Merlin's resting place. But, wait, the stone has been moved. Thus begins the show.

Arthur Pendragon is back! Of course, his first stop is Arthur's Court, a men's clothier, to exchange his armor for something a little more comfortable, like a three-piece suit, bought with an American Express card, don't leave Camelot without one.

After a local cop suggests a political career, Arthur retrieves Excalibur from Central Park lake and allows Chico and Groucho, two spaced out muggers, to swear undying allegiance to the man with the Day-Glo sword. He finds Merlin and gathers a campaign staff, including Gwen DeVere as his secretary, Gladys, a basilisk -- just kidding -- as receptionist, and Percy, an old drunk with a CPA -- no kidding -- as treasurer.

The Big Apple meets King Arthur and New York loves him, especially when he saves two children from the fire caused by the fire elemental. This original version has some rough spots, but is still very funny.

Recommended for fans of Peter David and anyone else foolish enough to subject themselves to such zany humor. You have been warned; if you bust a gut, its your fault.

-Arthur W. Jordin
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