“Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights tells the story of Thomas Farmer who dreams of becoming a knight, sets out to save his brother from the hands of an evil Baron, and uncovers a plot that threatens Camelot itself. Along the way, he befriends a series of misfits including an allegedly reformed evil wizard, a shrinking giantess with a latent gift, a veteran knight with a dark secret, and his best friend Philip the Exceptionally Unlucky.”
Thomas Farmer – A young man of humble beginnings who hopes to rescue his brother and become a Knight of King Arthur’s circle.
Sir Philip the Disadvantaged – a fellow hopeful who becomes fast friends with Thomas at Camelot.
Marie – one of Guinevere’s ladies. A bright, fierce young woman who takes a shine to Thomas.
Pyralis – A formerly evil wizard with a predilection for baking.
Gorgella – A giant with self-esteem issues.
This book was an absolute delight from beginning to end. I have always loved it when a novel focuses on the characters who would be overlooked by most writers and that’s exactly what Sir Thomas does. It’s absolutely packed full of witticisms, wry observations and oddly thought-provoking asides. Thomas is overlooked even within his own family, who favor his older brother. William has been imprisoned for the heinous crime of suggesting to the local baron that perhaps hoarding their village’s supply of grain and leaving the peasants to starve is a bit counterproductive. When Thomas sets out to Camelot, it’s to beg the soon to be married King Arthur for the boon of his brother’s release – however, Thomas has some grander ideas. If he becomes a Knight he can right other wrongs! While waiting for his turn with Arthur, Thomas meets Philip, a fellow hopeful. They quickly become friends and try to navigate the strange world of Knighthood together.
Their first challenge will decide where they stand in the hierarchy of things, which turns out to be a ridiculous LARPing pseudo-tournament where the spells are thrown eggs with “fireball” written on them and they find themselves in a group with the odds stacked against them in order to make the nobler knights look good. They’re the “Less Valued Knights” and basically their job is to be a bit rubbish, which they’re not entirely sure about.
I’m not sure what I expected when I went into this novel, but I can tell you it exceeded my expectations on every level. One thing I occasionally deal with as a blogger is Grimdark fatigue – I don’t dislike that genre, but there’s an awful lot of it out there and it can get a bit depressing. Sir Thomas is the anti-grimdark. It’s light and whimsical and sparkling, with a magic system based on love and self esteem, a Giant who’s shrinking because she doesn’t believe in herself, a reformed evil wizard, and a sulky sword. It’s a charming, sweet novel that gave me warm fuzzy bunny slipper feelings and a lot of laughs. Now, I know with comedic fantasy there’s always that temptation to compare it to Pratchett – it’s not a thing that I do lightly, and in fact I agonized over this with Steve Thomas (who buddy read with me), but we agreed that it was inescapable. While it’s not as rapid fire as Pratchett’s humor, nor always laugh-out-loud funny so much as it just consistently makes you smile, there is much in common between them. I don’t normally do this, but at this point I’m going to let a few quotes speak for themselves.
These are by no means the only memorable quotes, or even the funniest. They’re just great examples of why the book tickled me throughout. The plot is surprisingly tight and clever, with just the right amount of foreshadowing when necessary. The dialogue is sharp and witty, and the prose and worldbuilding is on point. It’s not just a good comedic novel, it’s a good story.
I find that I have very little to say in terms of downsides. I will say that I think this is a fantastic novel that is being let down by its cover, which is lackluster. I’ve seen a couple of people who think that it’s priced a little high for an obscure self-published novel and that’s a real shame. If you enjoyed the quotes I have posted I’d really urge you to give this one a go – I had an absolutely wonderful time with it and I think you will too. I don’t say this too often, but the next installment will be a day one purchase for me.
r/Fantasy Bingo 2017 Squares