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`Laughter is like free health insurance: you can’t get too much of it.’
This story takes place against the backdrop of Camelot with King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin and Saxon bad guys. But this isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe, so all bets are off.’
An example of the verbiage of Quense’s style sets the tone: `Arthur, known as Artie, by the grace of God and/or the Lady of the Lake, King of Camelot, Count of the Southern Shore, Defender of Britain, Scourge of the Saxons and Founder of the Knights of the Round Table, sat in the solarium in Camelot with Merlin.’
And so it goes on every page of this hilarious Camalotesque adventure – fantasy, a touch of the unreal, and some downright keen satire. It would seem we have a new king of fantasy humor on our hands, and is he ever welcome! Recommended for all audiences..
▬ Grady Harp
. . . For me (you will find other things–there are so many to choose from!) the two best things about this book are the humor and the imaginative plot/character pieces. I’m hooked–this author is fabulous!
▬ Amazon Customer
. . . Trust me, you are in the presence of quite a magical tale, when it draws its inspiration from an assorted melange that emanates from history, folklore, mythology, science-fiction, fantasy, and psychology.
In the end, Quense’s voice is a clever fusing of wit, fun, opposing values, warring emotions, troubling questions, philosophical musings and a good story that all comes together in this very enjoyable book.
▬ Norm Goldman
Edition #79 September 14, 2014
By Hank Quense
From the Chronicles of Bildas the Surly:
After the Roman legions left Britain, years of lawlessness and strife ensued. Bands of brigands roamed the land. Gradually, a rash of petty kings established themselves. They were little better than the brigands and in many cases were the brigands. To pay their armies, the petty kings engaged in warfare with their neighbors. This occurred every year from the time the crops were planted until it came time for the harvest.
It was during these times that the youth in East Anglia began kicking around a leather ball filled with rags. It gradually spread beyond East Anglia and teams sprouted up through the land. In some cases, its popularity was such that the petty kings turned to football matches instead of warfare.
Then came the invaders. For many terrible summers, raiders descended upon the coast of Britain and caused great damage and loss of life. Each year, more of the Angles, Jutes and Saxons, swarmed over our poor coast and went inland using the rivers. Each year, the slaughter moved further south until, in 434, the invaders found the southeast corner of Britain. Since it was so late in the season, the Saxons didn’t venture along the southern coast, but all the kings knew the Saxons would go there next summer. Everyone shuddered at that threat, because the southern shore was the most undefended part of the land.
December 435 C.E.
Caewlin, king of Glenvum, called the neighboring kingdoms to a meeting to develop a strategy for the next season’s warfare.
The meeting took place in his castle on the Severn River just before the new year. All the kings traveled through heavy snow to attend, but the desperate straits of the country precluded any of them from making an excuse not to show up. After the traditional feast, carousel and hangover recovery, the meeting took place in the second afternoon. Caewlin made a few introductory remarks then asked, “So what do we do about the southern shore? We can’t let the barbarians use it as an assembly point to march inland. If that happens, I’ll end up fighting a battle outside my walls.”
All of the kings were middle-aged with husky builds and vicious expressions.
“The obvious solution,” Penda, the king of Isca, said, “is to make someone the Count of the Southern Shore. It will be his job to protect the area.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” King Bree from Ratae replied. “But what’s he supposed to use for troops?”
“The only way for that plan to succeed is for all of us to contribute some warriors to help him defend the land,” Caewlin replied
“I can’t give him many,” Vertigen, king of Aqua Sulis, said. “I have to defend my own lands.”
“So, who gets the job?” Bree asked.
“I’ll propose my nephew,” Oswald, King of Venta said. “He’s a pain in the ass, always nagging me to put him in charge of a squadron of knights and let him raid Saxon strongholds.”
“Isn’t that Pendragon’s kid, Arthur?” Caewlin asked.
“Yeah, that’s him,” Oswald replied. “Thinks he’s God’s gift to Britain. Calls himself Artie.”
“Isn’t he the one who’s always kicking a leather ball around?” Vertigen asked.
“Uh-huh. He’s always got one with him,” Oswald replied. “Has it stuffed with rags. All the young knights do it. I don’t know what’s wrong kids these days. When I was their age, all I was interested in was slaughter and rapine.”
He has published 15 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen articles.
He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject.
Hank is currently working on a series of two humorous novels that take place in the Camelot era.