John Taylor has seen and done a lot of very bad things in
his work as a private detective and sometimes reluctant
hero in the weird world of the Nightside, a hidden part of
London where it's always 3 in the morning and you need to
be especially careful what you wish for. Thus he is among
the most shocked when Excalibur -- yes, that Excalibur -- is
delivered to him and he is not only able to touch it but to
wield its power. But with that power comes a mission: to
find King Arthur, assumed to be long dead and buried. The
king is the only one who can prevent a war brewing between
the elves and humans, a war that would destroy not just the
Nightside, but Earth as well. But not everyone is concerned
with the fate of humanity, and when a rogue knight steals
the sword for twisted purposes of his own, Taylor must
first visit a horrifying version of Camelot and defeat the
evil Merlin who rules there.
With the help of his trusted partner and sometimes lover
Suzie Shooter (whose motto would be "Shoot first, never
mind the questions"), Taylor goes on a quest for the
impossible that will take him from the Nightside to
the "real world" of London to a place that makes the
Nightside look like an amusement park. He will face
knights, both good and bad, evil incarnations of Merlin and
Arthur, and finally the once and future king himself. But
even under Arthur's leadership, can war be avoided? A final
confrontation with elven royalty -- Oberon, Titania and Mab --
will determine the fates of worlds.
If you've read any of the Nightside series, you know you're
in for a wild ride when John Taylor is around. Although
many of the familiar characters are missing from this book,
the skewed and highly imaginative look at the Arthurian
legend offers plenty of new characters and adventures that
should please fans. The format should also allow new
readers to follow the story without too much confusion.
This book has a grimmer tone than some of the others, and
there's a lot of gory violence (as usual). Taylor is one of
the most heroic anti-heroes in urban fantasy today; I also
love Suzie Shooter, and it's great to see her in the
spotlight as she fearlessly, ferociously watches Taylor's
back. The action is nonstop, the humor bone-dry, the
characters -- human and otherwise -- eccentric, and the world
of the Nightside is richly detailed and bizarrely charming.
While perhaps not the best entry in the series, this is
another terrific read.
John Taylor is a P.I. with a special talent for finding
lost things in the dark and secret center of London known
as the Nightside. He's also the reluctant owner of a very
special-and dangerous-weapon. Excalibur, the legendary
sword. To find out why he was chosen to wield it, John
must consult the Last Defenders of Camelot, a group of
knights who dwell in a place that some find more
frightening than the Nightside.
London Proper. It's been years since John's been back-and
there are good reasons for that.