Probably the most infamous story in the Sherlock Holmes canon is “The Final Problem” as it relates the facts of the death/murder of the master detective at Reichenbach Falls. On May 4, 1891, the detective met his archenemy Professor Moriarty on a ledge above the falls; the two became locked in a titanic hand-to-hand struggle before both tumbled over the precipice, presumably to their deaths, as witnessed afar by Dr.Watson. The outcry against the death of such a popular character was so great that in 1901 Conan Doyle was forced to give in to the pressure of his fan mail. He resurrected the detective by claiming that Holmes had managed to grab a tuft of grass during the fall into the “dreadful cauldron” and so had lived to solve another mystery.
But what really happened that infamous day at Reichenbach Falls and why did Holmes disappear in the aftermath? And what of the infamous Moriarty? How did a noble mathematician become the Napoleon of Crime?
Filled with Holmesian lore and thrilling encounters evocative of Doyle’s work in the Strand magazine, The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls will undoubtedly join the ranks of such successful Holmesian pastiches as The Seven Percent Solution, The West End Horror, and Murder by Decree.
A prolific author . . . gives a distinctive and often agreeable spin to the story of Camelot. Focusing his attention on Merlin rather than on the usual Arthur, King weaves his tale by combining bits of folklore and mythology with both sheer invention and historical fact. In this version (which begins before Arthur’s birth), the wizard . . . can’t remember who he is, and he can’t tell reality from dreams. He knows, however, that there’s a boy (Arthur) not yet born who can cure him. So Merlin arranges Arthur’s conception and whisks him off to a distant kingdom. As Arthur grows into a man, Merlin does, indeed, regain his memory; along the way, the boy learns the art of kingship and prepares to claim his rightful place as the ruler of Britain. Much fighting–against King Lot, the Saxons, Wotan and nearly the whole Germanic pantheon–ensues. King’s unconventional take will not please fans of more conservative Arthurian tales. Action fans, on the other hand, will thrill to his frequent and well-told accounts of battles, both material and magical. Creative plot twists abound–Guinevere, for example, turns out to be one of the Tuatha De Danaan, as well as Arthur’s footholder (meaning their marriage must remain chaste). Other characters with a distinctive flavor round out the story. This novel will appeal to those who like their Arthurian tales on the zany side. (From Publishers Weekly)
Lancelot du Lethe
When Merlin first sees the newborn Lancelot he knows that the infant will one day destroy all that King Arthur accomplished at Mount Badon and Camelot. The lad’s father King Ban asks Merlin to bless his heir, but the mage wonders if the world would be a better place if he killed Lancelot right then and there. Reluctantly, Merlin blesses the baby stating he will one day be the best knight.
Years later, Lancelot is considered the bravest knight of the Round Table. However, he and Arthur’s Queen Guinevere feel a strong attraction to one another, but both try to do the honorable thing by avoiding one another even as their fey blood screams for these soul mates to converge. Arthur knows Lancelot owns the heart of his beloved wife and feels impotent. The wannabe lovers feel hopeless to stop the inevitable betrayal of Arthur that will disrupt the mortal and mystical planes as never seen before.
LANCELOT DU LETHE, the sequel to MAD MERLIN, is a superb retelling of the Camelot triangle. The lead trio is written as doomed heroes caught in a destiny beyond their control, making them seem human yet majestic. The secondary cast provides further insight into the threesome while deepening a powerfully written plot that adheres to the legend while dramatically freshening up the Camelot lore. Fantasy fans will fully enjoy J Robert King’s exciting epic tale that keeps him firmly on the genre’s throne.
The strong conclusion to King’s fantasy trilogy recasting Arthurian myth (after Mad Merlin and Lancelot Du Lethe) tells the story of Morgan le Fey, Arthur’s half-sister, onetime lover and sworn enemy. As a six-year-old, Morgan watched as her father prepared to fight Uther, the man who would slay him, marry her mother and provide her with her half-brother Arthur. And she had the vision that would motivate her every action from that day forward: Arthur as the antlered boy, the son of war, whom she must oppose if Britannia is ever to know peace. More than anything else-the deft writing, the astounding battles or the intellectual thrill of relating King’s unique slant on Arthurian legend to other writers’ versions-it is that vision that makes this novel special. Morgan becomes and remains a sympathetic figure, no matter how atrocious her actions. Whatever damage she wreaks in the battle for Camelot, there remains in her something of the precious and precocious young girl who had an ecstatic vision of a beauty so great, and a future so dire, that she must do whatever was in her power to midwife the one while preventing the other. (From Publishers Weekly)
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