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WesternSFA


Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, New Voices
edited by Swapna Krishna & Jenn Northington
Vintage, $17.00, 480pp
Published: July 2021

From the vast lore surrounding King Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table, comes an anthology of gender-bent, race-bent, LGBTQIA+ inclusive retellings.

Here you'll find the Lady of the Lake reimagined as an albino Ugandan sorceress and the Lady of Shalott as a wealthy, isolated woman in futuristic Mexico City; you'll see Excalibur rediscovered as a baseball bat that grants a washed-up minor leaguer a fresh shot at glory and as a lost ceremonial drum that returns to a young First Nations boy the power and the dignity of his people. There are stories set in Gilded Age Chicago, '80s New York, twenty-first-century Singapore, and space; there are lesbian lady knights, Arthur and Merlin reborn in the modern era for a second chance at saving the world and falling in love-even a coffee shop AU.

Brave, bold, and groundbreaking, the stories in Sword Stone Table will bring fresh life to beloved myths and give long-time fans a chance to finally see themselves in their favorite legends.

What makes this such a fresh and creative premise is not the legend of King Arthur. Those stories have been retold from generation to generation but this rendition gives us something new, original voices that we don't normally hear, diverse in every way imaginable. We get unique ways of looking at the Arthurian characters and unusual twists on what would happen in different scenarios and worlds. It is breathtaking, especially if you love the original legends which I do.

The book description gives you a much better notion of the stories in this anthology than I ever could but what I can do is give you my opinion. The editors of this anthology have blended the best writers into a unique set of stories that were enthralling and engaging. I raced through this fabulous collection, delving into each thought and idea, marveling at the author's creations. Whether based in the original world of Arthurian legend, present day or the far future, each story successfully explored the themes and ideas of Arthur in new and different ways. I absolutely loved each one and wanted so, so much more.

If you love the legends of yesterday, or like stories of the far future, you will find something for anyone in this collection. If you love Arthurian legend, this is the anthology for you. I loved it and so will you.

Rating: 5 out of 5 legends. ~~ Andrea Rittschof

For other titles by Swapna Krishna click here
For other titles by Jenn Northington click here

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