Young squire Roderick is ready for knightly fame—as soon as he finds a sword he can lift, that is, and can rid himself of a tendency to wail when his horse moves.
Having had more practice in cleaning up pigeon poo and talking to peasants than fencing and jousting, Roderick might seem ill-prepared to join the knights of Doddingford Castle in a quest to recover the stolen fingers of St. Stephen. But it’s those very experiences that get him into rival Froddington Castle and away with the holy digits when his armored compatriots are stymied. Filtered through Roderick’s ever optimistic eyes—and supplemented both by backmatter and by frequent historical side comments labeled “Get Real”—the story affords readers glimpses of martial training, chivalric values, peasant revolts, castle life, King Arthur, medieval torture, the Black Death, and various related topics…not to mention siege warfare when the knights of Froddington follow to recover the revered relics. Once the discovery is made that there are actually 14 holy fingers and three thumbs, news of more missing relics sends Sir Roderick on to further chances for knightly glory. Though the cast here is all white in Horne’s occasional ink-and-wash drawings and composed of conventional comedic types, a Brit-centric closing gallery loosely dubbed “Knight Hall of Fame” does include Wat Tyler, along with Saladin, Joan of Arc, and Gutenberg. Companion title The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World’s Worst Pirate publishes simultaneously and in the same vein.
A newly minted knight goes from zero to hero—at least in his own mind. (afterword, glossary, timeline) (Historical farce. 9-11)