A retelling of Arthurian myth for the age of Brexit and Trump…
Everyone thinks they know the story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.
The fact is they don’t know sh*t.
Arthur? An over-promoted gangster.
Merlin? An eldritch parasite.
Excalibur? A shady deal with a watery arms dealer.
Britain? A clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.
A savage and cutting epic fantasy, equally poetic and profane, By Force Alone is at once a timely political satire, a magical adventure, and a subversive masterwork.
The UK edition of the novel is published by Head of Zeus (cover below), and was published back in March. Here are just a handful of the great reviews the novel has received so far…
‘BY FORCE ALONE does … bold things with genre, rewriting the King Arthur legend through a mash up of horror, fantasy, history and black comedy. The narrative voice is deadly serious but there’s a strong undercurrent of gleefulness to the profanity, violence and otherworldly magic that makes BY FORCE ALONE a whole lot of fun to dive into.’ — Spectator (Five Unmissable Summer Reads)
‘Uther is a chancer and a shagger… [Arthur] is ruthless in pursuit of power… His Lancelot… is a ninja warrior, his Guinevere a killer — the writer is clearly having fun… Tidhar never lands direct political punches… but the very tone and shape of the book are a reminder that we need to treat national myths with caution… this is a novel that demands your attention and proves that sometimes when a writer has the audacity to revisit stories that others would avoid for fear of over-familiarity, they can steal the power of the oldest tales.’ — SFX (4.5*/5)
‘Tidhar saturates this epic adventure with profanity, dark humor, sword-sharp twists, and unexpected moments of pathos. Readers who hold King Arthur dear to their hearts will be gratified by Tidhar’s attention to detail amidst the innovation. This dark, imaginative take on a classic is sure to impress.’ — Publishers Weekly
‘Tidhar’s previous work is filled to the brim with new and interesting takes on history and myth, and the results are always mesmerising. And of course, he’s taken something that’s been done way too many times and found a way to make it look new and interesting while still keeping its classic appeal… some truly staggering writing… if you’re looking for a new take on King Arthur and chums, then check this out.’ — Starburst
‘… Tidhar’s prose is anything but brutish. The word choice is what makes the train wreck so fascinating and fast-paced. Heavy but never slow, short sentences and snappy wit keep the book moving. A power fantasy that pushes both words to their limits, BY FORCE ALONE adds a sharp, obscene new take to the Arthurian genre.’ — Den of Geek
‘The novel is a bloody, bravura performance, which Tidhar pulls off with graphic imagery and modern vernacular… a salutary antidote to the more romantic glossings of recent modern fantasy.’ — Guardian
‘[An] extraordinary and vivid retelling of our national myth. Gritty revisionism is supercharged by the supernatural… rich and breakneck narrative… As eclectic as the Sword In The Stone and as ruthless as A Game Of Thrones, this retelling of the whole Arthurian Legend stands alongside the very best.’ — Daily Mail
Lavie is the multi-award-winning author of a host of critically-acclaimed novels and short fiction, including UNHOLY GHOST, CENTRAL STATION (both published by Tachyon Publications), THE VIOLENT CENTURY (Tachyon), the award-winning A MAN LIES DREAMING, CANDY (Scholastic), and many more.
Here’s just a small selection of the aforementioned critical acclaim that Lavie’s other novels have received so far…
‘The stories include some of Tidhar’s most beautiful prose, and his future Tel Aviv is among the most evocative settings in recent SF… Somehow, CENTRAL STATION combines a cultural sensibility too long invisible in SF with a sensibility which is nothing but classic SF, and the result is a rather elegant suite of tales.’ — Locus
‘The best book I read last year is A MAN LIES DREAMING by Lavie Tidhar, a form of fictional historiography based on a’ what if ‘principle. I love that, if it is done well and intelligently.’ — Sting (yes, that Sting)
‘…savagely funny… A MAN LIES DREAMING, by the Israeli-born novelist Lavie Tidhar, has not been published with the fanfare bestowed on Martin Amis’s The Zone of Interest or Howard Jacobson’s J, but it is their equal for savage humour… Those who enjoy laughter in the dark will relish Tidhar’s parade of mordant ironies… This novel is weird, upsetting, unmissable.’ 5* — Telegraph
‘Vintage Lavie, and also I think his most fully accomplished novel yet. Nobody rides that fast-rolling wave separating schlocky pulp and serious literary sensibilities so deftly as Tidhar. He manages to make serious points about the benighted twentieth-century and its obsession with ‘supermen’ without ever letting the narrative slacken or the adventure pale. If Nietzche had written an X-Men storyline whilst high on mescaline, it might have read something like THE VIOLENT CENTURY.’ — Adam Roberts, author of Jack Glass
‘OSAMA has ushered Tidhar into the limelight… OSAMA is the narrative symphony Philip K. Dick wished he could have composed. Not only is it beautifully written, it is expertly crafted… OSAMA is a work of art. And Tidhar is a word-painter, constructing vibrant and poetic landscapes of narrative in spite of the novel’s dark and brooding subject matter. Too often, I am surprised by works that win the World Fantasy Award, among others in the speculative genres (none more so than the Bram Stoker Award). Sometimes the quality of winners doesn’t hold up and their nominations seem to be a matter of sheer star power or nepotism. In this case, I’m happy to say, the judges got it dead right.’ — Los Angeles Review of Books
‘Delicious pastiche of “noir” fiction from SF author Lavie Tidhar, set in a city where everything sweet and sugary is banned. Private eye Nelle searches for a lost teddy bear and uncovers a Chinatown-style conspiracy. You could think of it as The Malteser Falcon, or perhaps Double Inde-mint-y.’ — Financial Times (Summer Books of 2018) on CANDY