This book was won through the Goodreads First Reads program. I have to say when I entered it, I was unsure whether I would like it or not. The title seemed odd to me, most likely because I’d never read anything King Arthur-ish before. I’d even steered clear of the program called Merlin when it was on BBC, convinced that I wouldn’t like it.
So I started this book with a completely blank slate, not knowing what to expect, but excited to try something knew. It took me a good few chapters to get into the story, but once I got to know Thomas I felt like I was along on his journey with him.
The story starts in a village called Fogbottom, a village besieged by terrible famine, slowly wasting away. We meet Thomas, a guy living under the shadow of his older brother William. William is convinced that Baron Fogbottom is hiding a shed-load of food, even though his villagers are starving and struggling for food. He decides to go up to plead with the Baron to give the village some food, but he is thrown in the dungeons for his efforts.
While Thomas is in the village a herald arrives pronouncing the marriage of King Arthur to Lady Guinevere. As part of his marriage celebrations, he is allowing one member of each family to go and ask him for one request. It is decided that Thomas should go and ask for help for his brother.
While he is on his journey to Camelot, Thomas runs into an old wizard named Pyralis. He agrees to help Thomas as long as Thomas agrees to one thing, to go fetch a giant’s tears. Despite how ridiculous this sounds, Thomas actually succeeds, and is rewarded with: a stinking sword with a stench of fetid cheese.
After making it to Camelot, Thomas joins the queue of other requestors, making friends with Philip, soon to become Sir Philip the Disadvantaged. He persuades Thomas that it’s no good asking for help for his brother, but that he should ask to become a knight so that he can save his whole village. And so is born Sir Thomas The Hesitant.
Sir Thomas gets himself into all sorts of trouble and makes an unlikely bunch of friends, and eventually gets into a position where he can fight for the future of his village. But with the backup of his misfit friends against the Baron and all his guards, can he possibly succeed? Well I’m not going to tell you.
I absolutely loved this book, like I said earlier, once I’d read the first few chapters I felt like I was on this quest along with Thomas. The world of Camelot was so perfectly described that even though I’d never read anything about it before, I could picture it vividly in my mind.
I loved the idea of the underdog being capable of so many things. No matter if you’re on the ‘table of the less-valued’, if you believe in something and you have the gumption to change it, you can accomplish it. Never discount the ‘less-valued’, and in the case of Bane, never expect to be classed as top dog before you’ve earnt the right.
So I guess there’s only one thing left to say: Somnia, Salvebis. *
*Nonsense, You’ll be fine.