Book Review: Malory's Knights of Albion - Dark North

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Review: Malory's Knights of Albion - Dark North / Author: Paul Finch / Format: Paperback / Publisher: Abaddon Books / Release Date: Out Now

King Arthur and his knights have been done time and time again, and the Malory's Knights of Albion series is Abaddon Books’ way of flogging this particular warhorse. Luckily, the steed in question seems to be pretty hardy, and so far, the novels produced under this banner have been a nice mix of the familiar and the strange.

Paul Finch’s Dark North continues the theme; the tale revolves around Sir Lucan, a stereotypical Northern knight who’s filled with anger, angst and a blunt approach to the world. When his wife runs off with the Captain of a band of invading foreigners, the big scary northern man goes on a rampage, facing legions of soldiers, seductive witches and the forces of hell itself.

This is an action packed fantasy adventure; expect plenty of violence, odd monsters and bags and bags of conflict. It is neither charming nor cleverly paced, but those who like tales of big men in armour hitting monsters very hard will find it difficult to put down. Like its lead character, Dark North is a blunt tool, but sometimes, that’s exactly what you want from a book.

One of the drawbacks of the series is the constant ‘historic’ footnotes; these fail to add any authenticity to the tale, insult the intelligence of the reader and are at best pointless, and at worst, confusing and mood shattering. The conceit that these tales are ‘genuine tales of Arthurian adventure’ is a nice one, but not one that the reader needs to be constantly reminded of.

Despite this, the novel never fails to entertain. This is not a subtle book, nor is it remarkable, but it is an entirely enjoyable waste of time that will give fans of dark horror and medieval knights plenty of entertainment, and certainly one you should consider for some summer reading if Excalibur and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are on your list of top movies.

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