This little graphic novel reinterprets three quintessentially British myth systems. First we have the suave secret agent who represents the peak of British sophistication, if he’d just stop romancing his beautiful associate Miss Hunnyfludd long enough to save England.
But just as our hero starts secret-agenting in earnest, he’s ambushed by the Green Man, and travels back in time to the second mythology and Logres, the kingdom of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. When the Green Man challenges the Knights of the Round Table to a fight and offers them the first blow, only Sir Gawain is brave enough to accept what is obviously a trap. Sure enough, the decapitated monster picks up his severed head and informs the company that in one year, Sir Gawain must offer him the chance of a return strike and certain death.
From there the knight must solve a series of riddles, survive traps and tricks, and find his way a year hence to face his death—or worse, marry a hideous hag who offers hope in exchange for marriage.
Interspersed is the third myth system, perhaps most ancient of all, in the form of mysterious foxes whose presence and especially their dances both frame and resolve the story.
While this retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight sticks with a familiar mix of Christian and ancient themes, it does lean more heavily on the pre-Roman themes and heritage. As a graphic novel, the gorgeous pictures literally paint the background, mood, and fantastical setting. The story itself seems secondary to the themes of death as one point of a cycle that includes past, present, and future.
I love this (admittedly weird) series of little books. This one is perhaps the strangest, but certainly deserves a read.
*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*