Entry for May 20, 2009: Egyptian and Arthurian fiction


Although most of my attention has been focused on the job search during the past few weeks, I have had some time to catch up on reading and filing.

I recently finished Brad Geagley‘s Day of the False King, the first of two historical mysteries set in Ancient Egypt. I had previously read his Year of the Hyenas, partly because Janice recommended it and partly for running my Pathfinder: Holy Steel” teleconferencing game. I liked both novels for their plots and archaeologically accurate descriptions.

Dux Bellorum

I also just read The Killing Way, a novel set in post-Roman Britain by Tony Hays that does a good job of blending historical fact and Arthurian myth. Speaking of the legends of King Arthur, Janice and I watched 2007’s The Last Legion, which featured several familiar actors and made a nice companion piece to the 2004 film titled King Arthur.

Clive Owen as the once and future king

I have a bookshelf worth of Arthurian stories, references, and analysis, and I prefer the more realistic versions of the tales to the tragic fantasy of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, the musical Camelot, or John Boorman’s Excalibur.

On the other hand, I have used the epic version in various roleplaying games and have enjoyed approaches as diverse as the BBC’s serious Legend of King Arthur, the comedic Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Spamalot, and the space opera graphical Camelot 3000. Inspired in part by T.H. White’s The Once and Future King and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, I even wrote some Arthurian fiction for Prof. Elizabeth Tucker’s folklore class back in college.

Whatever your preference — romantic and chivalric or Dark Age gritty, comic or tragic — there is a version of the tales for you!