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The Forever King - Molly Cochran

The Forever King

By: Molly Cochran, Warren Murphy

Hardcover | 17 September 1992

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Arthurian-revival yarn from the authors of High Priest (1989), with dismally unpromising ingredients. Arthur is reincarnated as a ten-year-old Chicago boy; his protector, Galahad, is drunk ex-FBI man Hal Woczniak. The Grail, a magic cup-shaped meteorite that heals at a touch, confers immortality on whoever holds it. For reasons beyond conjecture, this holder turns out to be Saladin (yes, he of Crusades fame). Merlin returns to life, never mind how, having spent centuries as a ghost in vanished Camelot, the latter located, for reasons equally baffling, in Dorset. And most of the action occurs in a present-clay England, about which the authors clearly know next to nothing. Millennia ago, escaped slave boy Saladin acquired the magic cup by murdering its kindly Neanderthal keeper, and thus became immortal. Occasionally he loses the cup, so his life is dedicated to keeping it secret. In post-Roman times, Saladin wandered to England, where he became involved in Arthur's experiments with social democracy and accidentally healed the old wizard Merlin of fatal heart failure. Later, when Arthur lay dying of wounds, Saladin not only refused to heal him with the cup but attempted to finish the king off, so Merlin took by force of magic, saved Arthur, then offered him the cup; Arthur refused the cup's awesome power. Later, Saladin recovered the cup and went on to further exploits, while Arthur died and Merlin faded away. Now, in the present, Arthur and Galahad are reunited with Merlin. Saladin, having served time in a mental institution for a series of grotesque murders, breaks out and goes forth to reclaim his cup, Which, seemingly by chance, Arthur has acquired along with title to the ruins of Camelot. Given the ingredients, it's no surprise that the doings - "plot" is too definite a term - make no sense at all. Neither do the characters offer much appeal. In sum: unmitigated drivel - but it will probably find an audience. (Kirkus Reviews)

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