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wealhtheow

wealhtheow

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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
The Forever King  - Molly Cochran, Warren Murphy Hal was a fantastic FBI agent, but after a child died during one of his cases, he left the bureau and became an alcoholic mess. Arthur was just a bright but ordinary boy until he discovered a strange metallic cup. A serious of coincidences and the dastardly deeds of the immortal Saladin bring them to England, where they discover they are the reincarnations of Galahad and King Arthur. But their vague memories of their past lives will be little use against the clever and ruthless man who was once known as the Saracen knight.

I did like this book; it strips out a lot of the icky psychosexual undertones of modern Arthurian tales, and instead focuses on the knights' justice and loyalty. But I couldn't help but get creeped out that all of the non-white characters are evil, or that the only queer character is a twisted madman. I really resented how many chapters were told through the sociopathic and thoroughly unpleasant point of view of Saladin. And I have two quibbles with the last few chapters of this book: 1)I don't get why Emily Blessed has to stay in hiding, sure that her nephew is dead. There's no longer any danger from Saladin and the Grail is gone. Why not let her continue to raise her only family member, and pursue her relationship with Hal? Why do Hal and Arthur ride off into the sunset, leaving her on the run and in mourning? And 2)Arthur turns down keeping the Grail because he says immortality would make him like Saladin. But actually, the first person who had the Grail for thousands of years was a compassionate and kind man, and Saladin was clearly a sociopath long before he touched the Grail. So it's clear that the Grail or immortality doesn't determine morality or groundedness to the world, yet the authors present Arthur's choice as the right one.

I don't plan on reading the rest of this series, because no one seems to enjoy them very much. But I'm glad I read this one; even though Hal isn't given much of a character (he's a character type I usually love, but I felt nothing for him in this iteration) and the battle between evil Arabs vs honorable Anglos reads offensively to me, I still enjoyed the effort to bring King Arthur into the modern age. The moment when Arthur pulls the sword from the stone a second time, for instance--I nearly teared up.