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Awake, King Arthur
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2012
Minor plot points given in review.
This is one of the most unusual novels I've ever read, and I mean this in a good way. We've all grown up with the legends about King Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, and of course, the famous sword Excalibur, but I bet no one has read this version. Mordred--Arthur's greatest enemy--was able to deliver Arthur a killing blow at the same time Arthur used Excalibur to strike down Mordred. Both of these men were destined to die. But what if instead, Merlin used his great magical power to put Arthur into a deep sleep? All sorts of interesting questions could be raised, one of which we read about in this novel.

After sending Arthur into a deep magical sleep, Merlin spends the next fifteen hundred years being reincarnated over and over again, though not as human until the last. At one time or another he has been just about every kind of living thing known to man, including leaves, worms, and of course, an assortment of animals. During these many long years Merlin has had several bad experiences from the teeth and claw end of cats and he has learned to hate them with a passion. I don't want to give too much away, but Merlin's intense dislike of cats will play an important (and amusing) part of the whole story.

I thought it was clever on the author's part to have each of the important characters from King Arthur's past come together again when Arthur awakes after his enchanted sleep. We meet up again with modern-day versions of Lancelot, Guinevere, Merlin, and even Excalibur--only the famous sword is no longer a sword. Broken during his last battle with Mordred, Merlin weaves his magic once again and molds the pieces of Excalibur into an electric guitar. Only Arthur is able to play the magical chord that can influence people when he joins up with a punk rock band, until a modern day Lancelot steps in with another version of Excalibur, a twin, but one with an evil chord that could change everything if he's allowed to play it. Mordred makes another appearance too, nothing changed about his evil objective.

All in all I have to say I had a lot of fun reading this quirky retelling of an old legend. It is a fast, fun, creative tale that I can easily see adults and YA readers enjoying. It brought me back to the days when I was more willing to set my imagination free and run with the characters as I turned those pages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2013
I was drawn to this book because of the time travel element but didn't expect what unfolded between the pages. It takes a lot of imagination and humour to write a book like this and parts of it were disgustingly funny and others evoked a deep sadness coming from the characters, some of whom realised they were incarnations of other times and others (including Merlin to start with) who didn't.

I enjoyed the idea of a punk rock band with Welsh roots and overtones. Arthur's persistence in chasing his Gwynifer of the 20th century and her persistence in defending Lancelot at every touch and turn is amusing and yet the reader feels Arthur should win her back after all those years.

The name of the Venereal Bede made me laugh out loud at its irreverence and the cleverly written story around his Saxon writings was a joy.

Well done, Glen Batechlor, with an imagination like yours you're bound to be a success.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2012
I saw this book mentioned among the recommendations on a site I use a good deal. Their description of it caught my attention; It's 1976 and King Arthur and his knights have returned as a punk rock band. An entertaining and original premise told with anarchic verve.

I wasn't disappointed. It's fast-paced, clever and full of wonderfully dark humour. You'll certainly never think of Merlin in the same way again!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2013
The author has a great sense of humour, well, one that appeals to me anyway. Merlin urinating in Arthur's face! Ryan getting ready to eat his cats and the battle between Arthur and Mordred. Nice and gory, dark, macabre humour. The characters were believable and strong and I liked the Welsh language references and how Arthur coped with the reality of modern Britain.

Once it got on to Elfis Presili i laughed out loud! It was already funny before that and I loved what happened to Ryan. The picture of Arthur fiddling with that guitar and then finding the 'lost chord' really struck a chord with me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2012
Creative writing consists of two elements. The creativity which brings on a new and interesting idea or concept, and the literary ability to convey that concept in an entertaining form, which will rivet the reader to the page. Here is a wonderful idea, King Arthur in the modern day, and the story is delivered with panache and verve. A masterwork by Glen and recommended without reserve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2014
If you mix the madcap hysteria of Tom Sharpe with the subversive absurdism of Tom Holt you get something like this.
A re-awakened Arthur trying to reclaim England through the medium of Welsh language punk, it is a fantastic premise and it equally well executed. My only complaint is that it isn't long enough.
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on 31 May 2014
Once you have Merlin and Arthur back on the scene, it is only so long before you start to wonder where the rest of the Round Table is. Some amusing ideas and arguments but not enough to justify a sequel.
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