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Knight Life [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter David
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441010776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441010776
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,389,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

King Arthur arrives in modern-day New York City with his friend Merlin the Magician and decides to run for mayor but Morgan Le Fey and Modred try to ke Arthur from reaching his goal. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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THE APARTMENT WAS dark, illuminated only by the dim flickering of the twelve-inch, black-and-white Sony that sat atop a scratched coffee table. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The (Pen)Dragon Swallows the Big Apple 11 Nov 2002
Format:Hardcover
The legend of King Arthur and Camelot has fascinated and captured the hearts of more people than perhaps any other legend. It has been endlessly retold in all types of media, from musicals to film to cartoons. And here we have a very modernized version, one where King Arthur arrives in modern-day New York, clad in traditional armor, which causes an almost immediate plunge down the subway steps, an image which sets the tone for this tongue-in-cheek, sometimes hysterical tale.
Of course Arthur can't continue to clank around in thousand year old armor, so he trades it in for a traditional 3-piece suit, courtesy of the American Express card Merlin so thoughtfully provided. But when Arthur looks for something worthy of his talents, the real fun begins as he enters the race for mayor of the city. This is probably the best part of the book, as Arthur pokes large holes in his opposition by coming up with common sense answers to the political questions of the day and by not side-stepping and obfuscating the questions and issues. This is good satire, exposing just how empty the standard political campaign is. Arthur's campaign stance really should be taken up by a live politician - he might be surprised by the voter reaction.
Some other pieces of this work are not quite so good. The initial image of Morgana Le Fey as an obese, broken-down maudlin old woman is a scream, but the later scenes after her rejuvenation that attempt to portray her as evil personified don't come off so well. Moe Dred (Mordred) never seems to become more that a stick figure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! 27 Feb 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After being recommended this book from a friend and whilst enjoying the Arthurian Legend being told in the Merlin TV series I managed to purchase this book and was not disappointed. After starting the book I could not put it down and for I am one of those people who if they don't like a book to being with I will put it down never to be picked again it takes something very good to keep my interest. This book takes the old dark, slightly depressing, legend and turns it fun, enticing read. This book is also a good read for people who not interested in the love story of Guinevere and Lancelot as instead it focuses the strong (and in my opinion more believable) love of Arthur and Guinevere which in I myself have always preferred. There are some comedic elements to the story lines and making it easier and more enjoyable to read. I am now waiting for my order of the second and third books in the trilogy and can't wait to start reading them.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Told Tale 19 Aug 2002
By Blake Petit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As usual, Peter David manages to mingle his dry wit with the fantastic to produce a very satisfying tale. Having never read the original edition of this book, published many years ago, I can't compare the two. This expanded edition (expanded by some 30,000-plus words, according to the introduction) is a lot of fun.
Arthur Pendragon, King of the Britons, returns to life in the present day and runs for Mayor of New York City. With him are his perpetual advisor Merlin (whose odd habit of living his life backwards has reduced him to the form of a young boy), the immortal knight Percival (whom history neglected to mention was a Moor) and the reincarnate of his beloved Guienivere. Of course, old enemies Morgan Le Fay and Modred return to cause trouble as well.
The book is a nice satire of modern life and politics as well as a fun adventure yarn. I also appreciated David dotting the landscape of his New York with characters named after his colleages in the comic book world (Louise Simonson, Jim Owsley, etc.) It's the best sort of inside joke -- the kind that those who aren't in on it will never know was a joke and that those who are in on it will smile in appreciation and keep reading.
The sole misstep, I felt, came in a press conference scene where Arthur began outlining political positions which I suspect were crafted to reflect David's own. While this is certainly within his rights as an author, it seemed rather blatant and distracting to me.
Other than that, a great story, and I can't wait for the sequel.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and entertaining. 21 Jun 2002
By Michael Hickerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What if King Arthur came back today? And what if instead of being the king of England, he did something radically different--such as run for mayor of New York City?
Those questions serve as the premise for Peter David's first novel, Knight Life. For years, Knight Life was hard to find--its popularity among David fans is well-known. Thankfully, David has ended the long searches through used bookstores by updating his novel and releasing it again in hardcover for a new generation of fans to pick up and enjoy.
If you like Peter David's usual writing style, you're in for a treat here. David pays homage to the basic tenants of the Arthurian legend while putting his own, comic spin on a lot of it. David has apparently done his homework and done it well, but he doesn't take it so seriously that he can't have some fun with it. There are a lot of absolutely laugh-out loud sequences in the book, from the Lady of the Lake rising up in Central Park and being covered with trash to the running joke about Merlyn's reverse aging and looking like a teenager.
This modern-day retelling of the Arthur story works very well and you can see the joy that David has in writing it. Some passages seem to be in the same vein as William Goldman's The Princess Bride. David pays homage, but also pokes holes in the coventions of the stories he is re-telling, just as he did last year with his great Sir Appropos of Nothing.
If you've a Peter David fan, this is a must-read. If you've heard good things about him, start here and then head on to Sir Apropos and Imazadi. All of them are great stories by a great author.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Arthur Meets the Big Apple, Revised Version 24 Jun 2007
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Knight Life (2002) is another of Peter David's almost unclassifiable works. It is a small scale epic drama, with comedic overtones, of King Arthur running for mayor of New York while opposed by Morgan Le Fay.

Morgan is a couch potato watching sitcoms while consuming large quantities of beer. She is contemplating suicide but first she tunes in to her favorite channel: a view of Merlin's resting place. But, wait, the stone has been moved. Thus begins the show.

Gwen DeVere is having a bad day. She needs to find a job to support herself and Lance, but nothing seems to be available. As she is sitting on a park bench reading the job ads, a knight in full armor stops in front of her. She is annoyed and tells him that she has mace and shows him the spray can; he pulls a two-foot long club with a flanged head from his armor and says "So have I". She gets up and walks away briskly. He calls out for her to wait and follows. When she runs into a subway station, he tries to follow but trips and falls downs the steps, clanking merrily as he rolls.

Arthur Pendragon is back! Of course, his first stop after the subway fiasco is Arthur's Court, a men's clothier, to exchange his armor for something a little more comfortable, like a three-piece suit, bought with an American Express card, don't leave Camelot without one.

After a local cop suggests a political career, Arthur retrieves Excalibur from Central Park lake and allows Buddy and Elvis, two spaced out muggers, to swear undying allegiance to the man with the Day-Glo sword. He finds Merlin and gathers a campaign staff, including Gwen as his secretary, Miss Basil, a basilisk -- no kidding -- as receptionist, and Percy, an old drunk with a CPA, as treasurer.

The Big Apple meets King Arthur and New York loves him, especially when he saves two children from the fire caused by the fire elemental. When they find out his true identity, his popularity rating skyrockets.

This revised version smooths over some of the rough spots in the original and updates some of the jokes, but is still just as funny.

Recommended for fans of Peter David and anyone else foolish enough to subject themselves to such zany humor. You have been warned; if you bust a gut, its your fault.

-Arthur W. Jordin
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King Arthur Meets the Big Apple, Original Version 20 Jun 2003
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Knight Life (1987) is another of Peter David's almost unclassifiable works. It is a small scale epic drama, with comedic overtones, of King Arthur running for mayor of New York while opposed by Morgan Le Fay.

Morgan is a couch potato watching sitcoms while consuming large quantities of beer. She is contemplating suicide but first she tunes in to her favorite channel: a view of Merlin's resting place. But, wait, the stone has been moved. Thus begins the show.

Arthur Pendragon is back! Of course, his first stop is Arthur's Court, a men's clothier, to exchange his armor for something a little more comfortable, like a three-piece suit, bought with an American Express card, don't leave Camelot without one.

After a local cop suggests a political career, Arthur retrieves Excalibur from Central Park lake and allows Chico and Groucho, two spaced out muggers, to swear undying allegiance to the man with the Day-Glo sword. He finds Merlin and gathers a campaign staff, including Gwen DeVere as his secretary, Gladys, a basilisk -- just kidding -- as receptionist, and Percy, an old drunk with a CPA -- no kidding -- as treasurer.

The Big Apple meets King Arthur and New York loves him, especially when he saves two children from the fire caused by the fire elemental. This original version has some rough spots, but is still very funny.

Recommended for fans of Peter David and anyone else foolish enough to subject themselves to such zany humor. You have been warned; if you bust a gut, its your fault.

-Arthur W. Jordin
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The (Pen)Dragon Swallows the Big Apple 4 Nov 2002
By Patrick Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The legend of King Arthur and Camelot has fascinated and captured the hearts of more people than perhaps any other legend. It has been endlessly retold in all types of media, from musicals to film to cartoons. And here we have a very modernized version, one where King Arthur arrives in modern-day New York, clad in traditional armor, which causes an almost immediate plunge down the subway steps, an image which sets the tone for this tongue-in-cheek, sometimes hysterical tale.

Of course Arthur can't continue to clank around in thousand year old armor, so he trades it in for a traditional 3-piece suit, courtesy of the American Express card Merlin so thoughtfully provided. But when Arthur looks for something worthy of his talents, the real fun begins as he enters the race for mayor of the city. This is probably the best part of the book, as Arthur pokes large holes in his opposition by coming up with common sense answers to the political questions of the day and by not side-stepping and obfuscating the questions and issues. This is good satire, exposing just how empty the standard political campaign is. Arthur's campaign stance really should be taken up by a live politician - he might be surprised by the voter reaction.

Some other pieces of this work are not quite so good. The initial image of Morgana Le Fey as an obese, broken-down maudlin old woman is a scream, but the later scenes after her rejuvenation that attempt to portray her as evil personified don't come off so well. Moe Dred (Mordred) never seems to become more than a stick figure. There are inconsistencies in Arthur's level of understanding of both English and modern ways of living, sometimes missing an intended meaning or uttering an unintentionally hilarious line, quite understandable given his lack of experience with the New York of today, at other times showing more knowledge of how things work than even Merlin. Arthur's political opposition is not portrayed with any depth, basically an attempt at a caricature of the 'standard' political hack, but it would have been better if they had been portrayed with more depth, intelligence, and political savvy.

In concept and satirical level, this is an excellent book that will provoke many grins and an occasional outright laugh, but with a few too many false steps to be unabashedly great.
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