From Publishers Weekly
The story line may be familiar, but Clarke does a solid job of bringing to life the world of the Arthurian legends in this retelling of Parzival's quest for the Holy Grail. The story opens with a brief account of the adventures of Parzival's father, a war-happy knight named Gahmuret who forsakes his new bride to go in search of conflict and glory, only to be killed in battle. From there, Clarke shifts to the son's tale, alternating accounts of Parzival's initial encounter with the Grail with the lusty meanderings of Gawain, a knight whose desire for romantic adventures is just as strong as his yearning for battle and recognition. Parzival's first encounter with the Grail throws his family into temporary disgrace and, when a witch curses him for his folly, he must go back and find the Grail a second time to square his accounts with the magic-oriented morality of the medieval world. Clarke, a scholar who provides a lengthy and thoughtful afterword to fill in the blanks for modern readers who are unfamiliar with Arthurian culture, certainly knows his material as well as his audience. But the nature of the story limits him to a wearisome alternation between battle scenes and love conquests, the one intriguing exception being Gawain's adventure in a house of horrors called Castle of Marvels that is controlled by an invisible evil magician named Kilgore. The craft and research that are obvious behind the writing will ensure Clark an audience among aficionados of medieval fiction, but there's nothing compelling enough in this particular retelling to earn him a wider audience.
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Praise for Lindsay Clarke's Chymical Wedding: 'I'm awed by the web you've spun. Not only the beautiful complexities of it but the fine texture of the threads ... Full of wise things' Ted Hughes 'This dazzling novel left me stunned ... a modern masterpiece' Val Hennessy, Daily Mail 'A splendid writer - a stylish, gripping story of alchemy across the ages' Sunday Express
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