Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Life and Adventures of Sir Kay, by Rusty Rhoad

I have recently caught up with an author friend's new novel, The Life and Adventures of Sir Kay (draft serialized here).  Rusty Rhoad writes "romantic Arthurian fiction" with an interesting twist--the stories are told from a man's point of view.  The stories center on men on paths of self-discovery, overcoming challenges and winning women's hearts along the way.  They are eminently likeable fellows, the kind of men a guy would like to have as a friend, and any gal would want to marry.

Sir Kay definitely fits into this mold.  Rhoad's other published novels, Strange Bedfellows and Return from Avalon, are set in the present day, with Arthurian influences coming from the past.  This novel is set in the time of King Arthur, and aims to give some attention to a character one can tell Rhoad believes has been shortchanged.

Sir Kay, like Walter and Arnie Penders, is a nerdy numbers guy.  Unlike the other two, he's seen plenty of combat and is really a pretty competent fighter and soldier--unless you are comparing him to other Knights of the Round Table.  In that company he doesn't measure up as a warrior, but has earned the respect of Arthur and others as an excellent seneschal--manager of the King's castle and attendant logistics.  Now that Merlin is gone, he is "the only person in the kingdom who can do long division".

But he yearns for adventure and true love, so he takes on a squire (the redoubtable Oswald--you'll like him, everyone does) and asks his king for knightly quests.  Along the way he is challenged with a Grail quest, and meets the lovely Elaine, sister to Morgan le Fay and Morgause.

All of Rhoad's work is helped by a familiarity with Arthurian literature, but this one is the most directly dependent on that history.  If you spend a lot of literary time in Camelot, you won't want to miss this one.  Four stars in that genre.

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