Thursday, 17 April 2014

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

I came across this book earlier this year and bought a second-hand copy from a local charity shop for just 95p. It has taken me some time to get around to reading it, but on Monday evening, I finished it.

Written by Philip Reeve, this re-telling of the old Arthur legend, promises much, but I cannot give it a glowing review for one simple reason. The writing style is awkward, clumsy and in many cases nearly unreadable - it needs a B***dy good 'going over' by a competent editor.

The good points; It is an inventive re-telling of the Arthur legend and imbibes the main character, Gwyn with some warm emotions and real humanity. The story should move along quickly as the short chapters mean that the reader is soon engrossed in the story.

The bad points; The writing is very confusing, with many areas that are just poorly written, by this I do not mean that the areas that should be ambiguous are confusing, I mean that the writer has obviously not spent the time to read through and correct grammatical errors or plot lines. There were many times that I felt like throwing the book away and giving up on it.

I could recommend this as a book to give gamers many scenario ideas for a game of SAGA or even LOTR. But this is once you accept that it is going to drive you crazy - with the poor writing. The story is full of small skirmishes and raids that any SAGA warband of 20 - 30 figures each side could prove to be a great evenings entertainment. Maybe even a campaign based of the story could keep a club interested for a couple of weeks of evenings.

There are many glowing reviews, the book has even won awards, but it should have been better written. Here is a link to the official Web pages.

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve
Published by Scholastic in 2007
ISBN 978-1-407103-58-7
Cover price £6.99



Kaptain Kobold said...

I'd not heard of this. I like Philip Reeve; his 'Mortal Engines' series is a truly great steampunk/dystopis/post-apocalypse settings for games (and a great story).

V Barrett said...

I am a fan of the King Arthur legend
but I dont think Il read this book

Christian said...

Interesting, I might check this out. Have you read Bernard Cornwell's Arthur series? I found that to be incredibly well written, and included a believable historical slant amidst the advent of the Saxon invasions of Britain. Plenty of ideas for scenarios, even between Romano-British warbands. A period I really like and am rearing to get stuck into.

Another book I found interesting is this:

It is a non-fiction book but reads quite well, definitely accessible and presumably well-researched. They go through all the typical literature like Gildas, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Y Gododdin and other more obscure documents.

Will we be seeing any Arthurian projects on your blog? :)

Tony said...

Hi Christian,

I have not read the Bernard Cornwell Arthur series. I have read some BC but found it hard going and was put off. I might try again given your recommendation.

The True Story looks good, with some very good reviews. Thank you for the heads-up.