The Wrong Sword by Ted Mendelssohn
Henry is a faker. He helps trick Parisian nobles into buying fake swords of power, medieval knightly knock-offs, if you will, but when he tricks the wrong person, he suddenly finds himself on an all too real quest for the sword of all swords: Excalibur. You remember that one right? The one King Arthur pulled from a big rock?
The premise of The Wrong Sword would be some pretty stinky fromage if it were completely serious. But it’s not. In fact, I think its anachronistic humor is the best part. The students of Paris spout postmodern theory, at one point Henry gives a knight “A Full Merlin” by disrobing him, and the sword, well, she’s a magical pain in the butt.
The Wrong Sword delivers many laugh-out-loud moments, and the conniving Henry is more real and likeable than perhaps even King Arthur himself.
I have only a few hesitations in recommending this book (why I’ll give it 4 out of 5 stars where they do that kind of thing): not many characters are as well-developed as Henry, and the plot drags at some points even though it’s jam-packed with action—perhaps because not all the narrow escapes are believable and a few scenes are hard to follow. It felt like one more round of editing would have polished The Wrong Sword to a better shine.
That said, The Wrong Sword a really fun adventure story and a great bargain for your e-reader. It brings all the adventure of the Roundtable without any of that high-minded chivalry merde, if you’ll excuse my French.
The Wrong Sword on Amazon Author’s website
Which reminds me—if you’ve never read any of the great King Arthur stories, here are two classics:
The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White
It’s the whole King Arthur adventure with a side order of political philosophy. “Might makes Right” any one?
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Mists tells the whole thing from the so-called ladies’ point of view. And really Morgania (Morgan Le Fay) and Gwenhwyfar are fascinating characters in a tale that is usually a male-dominated sword-fest.