Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Because it only comes once a year.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Black Chalice by Steven Savile

There seems to be a resurgence in epic fantasy. It's a genre that is always with us. After all, Robert E Howard has been in print for years. With the recent Game of Thrones mini-series, we'll probably be seeing a lot more books in this field.
Black Chalice by English writer Steven Savile, is one of the better offerings. Written as if it was a new discovery, the book is filled with notes and explanations. The "hook" here is is the book is a lost addition to the Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. I expect the publisher will be launching more "discoveries" in the near future.
Black Chalice is the story of Alymere, who travels to Camelot in hopes of becoming a knight of the table round. His father was a knight, so surely Alymere will have no trouble getting King Arthur to squire him to a knight. But the knight he ends up squiring to is his uncle, whom Alymere blames for his family's genteel poverty. After several years of training, the squire accompanies his uncle to inspect the sentry houses which guard the wall between England and the north.
And then things get very strange.
Because Alymere encounters a strange witch woman who tells him of the Devil's Bible, a forbidden book with forbidden knowledge. He eventually finds the book in a monastery, which leads him on a path of near-destruction.
We have: a monastery of blind monks. An unholy grail guarded by a giant with an ax. Tretchery. Betrayl. And many wrong decesions. In some ways, this book takes the traditional grail narrative and flips it on its head.
Worth reading if you are looking for an interesting variation on the Legend of the Holy Grail.