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Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015.
Sir Humphrey du Val of the Table of Less Valued Knights - Camelot's least prestigious table, boringly rectangular in shape and with one leg shorter than the other so that it always has to be propped up with a folded napkin to stop it from rocking - has been banned by King Arthur from going on quests, and hasn't left the castle in fifteen years. He's tempted out of his imposed retirement by Elaine, who is looking for her kidnapped fiance. But is she really the damsel in distress that she appears to be? Across the border in Puddock, the new young queen, Martha, is appalled to be married off against her will to the odious Prince Edwin of Tuft. She disguises herself as a boy and runs away, but doesn't get very far before the Locum of the Lake - standing in for the full-time Lady - intercepts her with some startling news: Martha's brother, the true heir to the throne of Puddock, is not dead as she believed, and Martha must go on her own quest to find him. The two quests collide, entangling Humphrey, Elaine and Martha's lives, and introducing a host of Arthurian misfits, including a freakishly short giant, a twelve-year-old crone, an amorous unicorn, and a magic sword with a mind of her own.
'As if Jane Austen were rewriting Terry Pratchett: snorts and chortles plus elegant eyebrow-raising... Bold literary and historical misadventures, told with a twist and a lightness of touch.' -- Ian Sansom Guardian
'The reader can enjoy the same level of affectionate detail that the Pythons brought to Monty Python and the Holy Grail... Phillips clearly delights in the world of [King Arthur] and...subverts fantasy motif in refreshing and absurd ways... Very good fun.' -- Leonora Craig Cohen Literary Review
'Very funny... It's a real joy to read a novel that makes you snort out loud with laughter.' Skinny
'This confirms [Phillips] as a genius comic writer... This is Camelot - but as you have never seen it.' Woman and Home
'Entertainingly rollicking.' -- Lucy Scholes National
Publication date: 07/08/2014
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage
|Publication date:||7th August 2014|
|Publisher:||Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage|
Marie Phillips was born in London in 1976. Her first novel, Gods Behaving Badly, was published in 2007. Widely acclaimed, it was translated into over fifteen languages and made into a feature film. She is also the writer, with fellow novelist Robert Hudson, of the BBC Radio 4 series Warhorses of Letters.More About Marie Phillips