There are certain books that, when mentioned, trigger an immediate emotion that has stayed with you since first reading it. Liam Perrin’s Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights is one of those books, evoking feelings of wit, earnestness, and warmth that’s rare to find. It was one of the most welcome surprises I’ve read in recent years, and it has solidified Perrin as an author I would seek out with each new release. I am happy to report that Faycalibur, the next book in the Less Valued Knights series, follows in the footsteps of its predecessor by lacing clever humor into a tale of virtue and integrity that will delight audiences of all ages.
The story picks up shortly after Sir Thomas ends, and Thomas’ hometown is undergoing some severe renovations. After catching up with his family and realizing that recognition is reserved for the Knights of the Round, Thomas ventures back to Camelot to establish a name for himself and build up his reputation. It isn’t long before Thomas volunteers for a quest that gets him in over his head, and a new adventure through the lands of Arthurian mythology is launched.
Dusk slipped by while everyone was preoccupied. Evening nodded to dusk in passing and held the door for Night. Night sauntered in like it owned the place and took a seat. It intended to stay for a while.
In addition to many familiar faces from the first novel, there are some great new additions to the cast. My personal favorite is Gus, an overzealous, overqualified, and overweight young boy who insists upon being Thomas’ new squire. Gus is one of the few characters who’s capable of seeing things for what they are, instead of relying on what he is being told. His unflinching loyalty to Thomas as well as his quick and total immersion into his squirely duties is endearing. (He somehow becomes fluent in a secret squire sign language only hours after taking on the role.) Gus complements Thomas and his friend Philip so well because his own acts of heroism are barely acknowledged in the same fashion as Thomas’ are to his more prominent knightly peers. It is as if the most noble characters are found in the furthest depths of society’s totem pole.
As with the first novel, I applaud Perrin’s penchant for avoiding violence, which is commendable considering the subject matter. Violence arises only as a last resort; instead the story relies upon the wits of its characters to solve their ever-mounting laundry list of problems. Since our heroes mean well, but aren’t the sharpest blades on the weapons rack, there are plenty of opportunities for situational humor that Perrin mines for pearls of wisdom.
He put a hand experimentally on his sword and tried to visualize moving it as quickly as Lancelot. His mind managed to poke itself in the eye.
There is plenty of evidence of Thomas’ character maturing since the first book. He turns his “Hestiant” moniker into an advantage, subverting this title by often pausing to think things through. His relationship with Marie continues to blossom, and his sense of honor drives him. By the time we reach the finale, Thomas and his friends are faced with coming to terms with their given roles in the court, and how that conflicts with the responsibilities they bear. It lays a foundation for a bright future for the series.
Faycalibur is everything I had hoped for in new Sir Thomas book. There are more elements of Arthurian lore, higher stakes, funnier characters, and clever musings. Perrin once again hits the mark with a rousing adventure full of sharp wit and contagious optimism. Spend some time at the Less Valued Table and you will be rewarded.
Review by Adam Weller
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
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