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Twenty Days of Arthurian Books

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Day Twenty: Paladins/Paladins II: Knight Moves by Joel Rosenburg

Okay, a quick preface before we get into the questions.  Generally, I do not consider these two books Arthurian.  I have a certain threshold of characters and ties to the legend before I consider something Arthurian.  It’s completely arbitrary, but it keeps me from overloading my Master List with books like Harry Potter or the Magic Tree House that only have one or two Arthurian elements but are overall not Arthurian stories.  

So, these books, where the ended up at the end of the second book, only have a couple Arthurian elements.  Not enough in my mind.  But they are very interesting and worth a look if you’ve every considered an alternate universe where Mordred won the battle of Camlann and founded the Pendragon Empire, which covers much of Europe, Asia and the Americas.  

That’s right.  This is a series that takes place in an AU universe in the 17th century where a good chunk of the world has been imperialized by Mordred Pendragon’s legacy.  

What was your favorite scene in this book?  I think my favorite moment was near the end of the first book where they finally revealed that the name of the current Emperor was Mordred V.  How cool is that?  I just like saying that name over and over.  Mordred V.  It has a fantastic ring to it.  

Who was your favorite character in the book?  Gray.  He’s not related to Arthurian legends in any way.  He’s a knight of the Crown, Shield and Dragon— knights who receive magical swords with the souls of people in them.  There are white swords which hold the souls of saints who died as martyrs and red swords which hold the souls of people who were killers and murderers and executed for their crimes.  Gray holds a red sword and the soul inside enjoys torturing him and trying to make Gray out to the worst person ever.  He was on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the first book and gloriously pathetic.  I became far too attached to this book over the course of the book.

Who were the characters most badly written?  I don’t really remember anyone being poorly written.  I enjoyed all the characters and don’t recall anyone in particular who drove me up the wall or bored me.  

Would you recommend it?  Why?  Um… I’m on the fence.  This is a fantasy book and with that comes the endlessly boring travel segments.  And it was hard for me to follow how the new world was set up and how these new countries lined up with our world.  But it was interesting and there were some enjoyable characters and innovative concepts when it came to world building.  

The problem is that the epilogue of the second book is Arthur’s return from Avalon. So, who knows where these series would have gone next or how much more Arthurian it would have become if Joel Rosenburg hadn’t died in 2011 before any more books were ever published.  So, do you want to go through two standard fantasy books with interesting characters and concepts but very few ties to Arthurian lore only to have it end right as the promise of King Arthur appears?  That’s up to you.  

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