Sunday, June 16, 2002
Review: "Knight Life" by Peter David
Arthur's simple platform - "Hi, I'm Arthur Penn, and I want to be the next mayor of New York" - and his radical, common-sense views on political issues quickly earn him a following among jaded voters. But Morgan's plotting and a classic betrayal may lay his political career low.
"Knight Life" is a fun spin on the Mark Twain classic. Rather than send a modern-day person to King Arthur's court, David brings Arthur's court to us. The result is a mix of classic Arthurian fiction and a satiric commentary about the nature of today's politics.
The story is rife with intrigue, mirroring the Arthurian legends on several key points. At the same time, it pokes fun at double-talking politicians. A perfect example is the mayoral debate in the book. When Arthur is given his first chance at a rebuttal, he sputters, "but they didn't answer the question." It's something all of us have said to the TV screen after watching a politician evade an issue.
The entire tale is subtly humorous, but there are a few true laugh out loud moments as well. For example, Arthur's initial meeting with Gwen - in full plate armor - leads her to classify him as a weirdo. That meeting also sends him to an upscale clothiers shop - still in full armor - which causes quite a stir among the workers.
In "Knight Life," David manages to strike a balance that can be tough for humor writers. He's loaded the story with laughs, but doesn't take the easy way out and turn it into a slapstick tale. Instead, he tells an engaging story and manages to slip in a few commentaries on the real world as well. If you didn't catch "Knight Life" the first time around, there's no time like the present.