Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life, chances are you are familiar with the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. From television shows (Merlin, Once Upon a Time) and movies (The Sword and the Stone, First Knight), to musicals (Spamalot) and operas (Gawain), the legend of King Arthur has been adapted in countless different ways throughout the ages. The newest addition to this list of retellings is none other than Marie Phillips’s novel The Table of Less Valued Knights! Using her brilliant wit and humour, Phillips has written a clever story that pokes fun at the King Arthur legends and turns them completely on their heads.
The story opens during a feast at Camelot, where King Arthur sits at court surrounded by all of his knights. What few people may know, however, is that along with the Round Table, there is also the Table of Less Valued Knights. Boringly rectangular in shape, those sitting at the Table of Less Valued Knights have been banned by King Arthur from going on quests due to their age, injuries, or foolish mistakes.
While he once sat alongside Lancelot and Galahad, Sir Humphrey du Val is now a less valued knight, and he looks upon the Round Table with envy. Determined to reclaim his place of honour, Sir Humphrey leaves on a quest (without Arthur’s permission) to help a young maiden named Elaine whose fiancee has been kidnapped. The adventure that follows is full of mishaps, magic, and plenty of laughs!
In reading other reviews for The Table of Less Valued Knights I’ve noticed that many people are comparing the book to Monty Python and the Holy Grail meets The Princess Bride, which I wholeheartedly agree with! Like both of these famous movies, Phillip’s parodic writing evokes the same style of humour and light-hearted fun. So many silly and unexpected things occur throughout the story, that I found myself constantly stifling a giggle or two while reading this book on my break at work.
While I expected The Table of Less Valued Knights to make me laugh, what I did not foresee was how invested I would become in the outcome of the characters! From the ill-fated Sir Humphrey trying to regain his place as an honoured knight to his half-giant squire Conrad who wishes to be taken more seriously and Queen Martha of Pruddock who is desperate to escape a dreadful marriage, I just couldn’t get enough! I actually found myself a bit sad once the story was over, because I was hoping to see these characters that I had come to love so much go off on another adventure together!
Overall, The Table of Less Valued Knights was a fabulous and fun read that I couldn’t get enough of! In bringing the world of Camelot to life through the tale of Sir Humphrey and his whimsical companions, Phillips’s has created a legend herself! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next, and I’ll definitely be making a point of reading her previous novel, Gods Behaving Badly, sometime soon!