The Black Knight: Chronicles of the Immortal Warrior by Alda Yuan

KNIGHT
The Black Knight: Chronicles of the Immortal Warrior by Alda Yuan
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (391 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Kyra returns to her hometown in Albion three hundred years after being turned into an immortal to find it burned to the ground by the Black Knight. So Kyra sets off to find out more about this powerful thief lord who rose to power amidst the breakdown of central authority following the death of the last king. She meets and joins up with a band of adventurers including a noble Arthur, who turns out to be the rightful heir of the dead king. After convincing Arthur he is the true king, Merlin the mage accompanies them to see the Lords of the Land who meet to decide the fate of the country. Meanwhile, the Black Knight uses this opportunity to attack. All of the companions must use their skills to defend the land but the Black Knight may not be who he appears to be.

There are many stories written about historical and mythological characters, and King Arthur and Merlin are frequently part of such stories. As a fan of all things Arthurian, I have read many of these, but rarely have I enjoyed one as much as I enjoyed The Black Knight. Alda Yuan has centered her story around Kyra, the Immortal Warrior, who returns to Albion after a three hundred year absence, only to discover that her home town has been burned to the ground by the Black Knight. She meets a young Arthur just as he is setting out to select companions and right the injustices which are rampant in Albion because the throne has remained empty since the last king’s death.

Yuan has focused her story on Arthur’s early career as he finds his companions and realizes that he is the dead king’s heir. But Kyra is the main character, not Arthur, which works very powerfully to keep the story from being trapped in the Arthurian legend. And as Kyra gets to know Arthur and his companions, she tells them stories, setting the record straight, about dragons and giants and even the legendary Grendel. These stories add real depth to Kyra’s character and also provide a greater scope to the novel.

The story is fresh and original, giving life to some of the legends surrounding Arthur without trampling them or twisting them out of recognition. The characters are well-developed and fully realized. I liked the way Yuan treated the non-human characters, such as Pete, a fey, and Meredyd, the dragon. She also has a number of very strong female characters taking on non-traditional roles.

The plot is fast moving and exciting, providing a number of unexpected twists and turns in the action. The settings are described in great detail, so that I really felt as if I were right there in the thick of things with Kyra and her friends. I started reading this book right after lunch and I never stopped until I reached the end, much to the dismay of my fur friends. I just couldn’t put it down.

Readers of fantasy, especially historical fantasy, are sure to find The Black Knight to be a very enjoyable and surprising book. I hope that there are many more adventures for Kyra, as I certainly look forward to reading them.

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