Monday, January 24, 2011

Looking for the King

If you've been frequenting any of the websites I have recently, no doubt this book has popped into your awareness. The premise is quite intriguing. Young American's searching for remnants of King Arthur under the mentorship of the Inklings? What could be better?

Well, that's a case in point.

Author David Downing is an Inklings historian with a (as I understand it) lot of knowledge and credentials under his belt. As such the chapters that contain Lewis, Tolkien and Williams absolutely come alive. The dialog, thoughts, expressions -- they all bring to life these famous men. I could have gone on reading those chapters forever.

However the rest of the book struggles from lack of experienced novel craftsmen ship. The original protagonists are weak, their interactions cliche` and lackluster, and the search for King Arthur works as nothing more than a MacGuffin. What's so terribly frustrating is that it's a really good idea that could have been an amazing book if the execution had been stronger.

However, having said that, it's a short enough book that it's worth picking it up just to read the chapters featuring C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams.

And who knows? Perhaps the sequel will be better.

No comments: