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A HARD DAY'S KNIGHT by Simon R. Green


by Simon R. Green

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-441-01970-0
Publisher: Ace/Berkley

An addition to Green's urban-fantasy noir Nightside series (The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny, 2010, etc.).

For the uninitiated, Nightside is a sort of alternate London inhabited by gods, demons, monsters and other less savory creatures, where it's perpetually 3 a.m. PI John Taylor—he has the Sight, among other talents—receives Excalibur (yes, that Excalibur) in the mail. Why, and what's he supposed to do with it? Well, in this universe there are two Arthurs—the usual one, defeated centuries ago by Mordred, supposedly slumbering until the final battle; the other is King of Sinister Albion, a hellish place of ultimate evil summoned into existence by a devil-spawned alternate Merlin. (Taylor killed the original Merlin. He seems to have killed an awful lot of people during the course of the series.) Narrator Taylor decides to consult Camelot's worthy descendants, the London Knights, who speak of impending war with the elves (in Green's rendering, there are two factions, both almost entirely malevolent); of renegade knight Jerusalem Stark; and of the return of the evil Arthur and Merlin. It looks like a tough assignment, even for Taylor and his sidekick, Shotgun Suzie, who delights in blowing malefactors apart with her magic, blessed and simultaneously cursed shotgun shells. Oddly enough, the anticipated showdown fizzles.

Readers who prefer their gore with huge melodramatic flourishes and a side of slyly amusing repartee will find John Taylor at least the equal of Jim Butcher's Chicago wizard PI Harry Dresden.