Wed 9 Apr 2008
I’m always interested in contemporary retellings of old tales, and the tales of the Holy Grail qualify as ‘old’. I read the dust jacket and really had no idea what the book was actually about, but there was a quote on the back that says, “An elaborate and intricate reworking of the Grail Legend . . . an absorbing story.” (–The Bookseller) That, rather than anything else, piqued my interest. Frankly, the description of the book reads more like a ghost story than anything else.
Cal is eighteen or so, recently out of school, and has decided to move in with his uncle, an accountant. Uncle Trevor lives in a nice suburb in what I’m assuming is Wales (as the author is Welsh); Cal used to live with his mother in a cheap, dingy apartment in a city. Cal’s mother drinks, primarily because she hears voices, and he found it impossible to stay with her much longer. On the train to his uncle’s, he accidentally disembarks at the wrong stop, and has to look for somewhere to stay. He ends up in a castle of sorts, and there is an event going on. A strange man asks him if he can see a cup, and in his confusion and fear, he declines. Everything seems to go wrong after that: he wakes up in a scary abandoned house, he has to pay more money to get to his uncle’s, he’s got a sword he can’t get rid of, even if he tries, and being an accountant’s assistant is painfully boring. He does meet some people who seem to be like American Ren Faire people — reenacters of Arthurian times. Maybe they can help him with his predicament? (more…)