cover image By Force Alone

By Force Alone

Lavie Tidhar. Tor, $27.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-75345-8

Tidhar (Central Station) upends the Arthurian legends in this gritty, sardonic retelling. As the scavenger Gawain laments, “there are no good men” in this grim vision of Camelot: the cold, ruthless Arthur and many of his future knights (“the boys”) get their starts as Londinium gang members; Guinevere leads her own merciless crew, ironically named the Choir of Angels; Merlin, a frustrated, would-be fae scientist, feeds on the power of others; and Lancelot, a Judean knight, follows a master he believes to be mad on a desperate quest. As the fae Morgan manipulates the events of their lives from behind the scenes, an unearthly Grail awaits in a bizarre, ever-changing land beyond even the fae’s imaginations. Tidhar saturates this epic adventure with profanity, dark humor, sword-sharp twists, and unexpected moments of pathos. Readers who hold King Arthur dear to their hearts will be gratified by Tidhar’s attention to detail amidst the innovation. This dark, imaginative take on a classic is sure to impress. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Agency. (June)