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Knight Life (Modern Arthur #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  765 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The legendary debut novel from "New York Times" bestselling author Peter David has been expanded and updated into a brand new edition.
King Arthur, the once and future King, has been called forth by the wizard Merlin to lead a land in turmoil-the United States of America. But with no throne to sit upon, Arthur must run for elective office-starting with the Mayorship of Ne
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by Ace (first published April 1st 1987)
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The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Best Arthurian Fiction
75th out of 387 books — 1,311 voters
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
The Arthurian Legend Retold
95th out of 448 books — 687 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,477)
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May 01, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
As a medievalist and friend of several Arthurianists, it's hard to find a retelling of Arthur's court that isn't rather stilted or painfully saccharine. Peter David, fortunately, manages to find the middle ground, and without the harsh cynicism of some of his other works (specifically the Sir Apropos of Nothing series).
The premise is simple--Arthur (yes, that Arthur) has been resuscitated by Merlin to rejoin society and finds himself running for mayor of a late 90s New York City. The gags are ob
A good depiction of Arthur within the context—-chivalrous, honest, brave, and honorable. I really liked some of his answers to questions posed by the press. It was a neat twist to make Percival both immortal and a Moor. Gwen turned out to be quite a decent character, and I liked the way the story turned out. And some of the pop culture references were priceless.
Jul 09, 2016 Dan rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. Basically King Arthur reappears in New York in the 21st century and runs for mayor. We get to see Merlin, Mordred, Morgana, Gwen and Percival along with two more Homeless "knights" Buddy and Elvis. The author does put some funny items in this first book of a trilogy. I laughed for a few minutes when I read when Arthur was going to a press conference and his "knight" Buddy breaks out two coconuts and starts clopping them together when Arthur starts walking up t ...more
***Dave Hill
Oct 13, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it liked it
Shelves: text
(Original review scoring runs 1-3)

Summary: [2] This is a revised and rereleased version of one of David’s earlier works, wherein Arthur finds himself resurrected and running for mayor of New York, with a child Merlin as his campaign advisor.

Entertainment: [3] Light, airy, and amusing, both on (re)takes on the Arthurian legend, as many of the folks from that saga make appearances in one way or another, and on politics (New York politics in particular). David manages a modicum of suspense, particu
Sean Randall
May 01, 2011 Sean Randall rated it really liked it
"Science. Incomprehensible. Give me magic any day."

Lacking the verbal dexterity of Sir Apropos of Nothing and the depth of a weighty universe such as Star Trek, this is nonetheless a very enjoyable story and an amazing entree for something written a quarter of a century ago by an author as his debut novel.

Looking at the jacket of one of Peter David's recent titles, the "also by" section goes on for longer than most other tables of contents. And yet the "about ye author" (yes, even the real worl
Aug 20, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
What if King Arthur came back today? And what if instead of being the king of England, he did something radically different--such as run for mayor of New York City?
Those questions serve as the premise for Peter David's first novel, Knight Life. For years, Knight Life was hard to find--its popularity among David fans is well-known. Thankfully, David has ended the long searches through used bookstores by updating his novel and releasing it again in hardcover for a new generation of fans to pick u
Not as good as I remember it.
Arthur has been awoken from slumber to run for Mayor of New York, and the gangs' all here-Arthur, Percival, Merlin, Morgan, Mordred and Gwen-even though Gwen will probably bollocks it up again.
Arthur's still dynamic and honest, and despite that the citizens of New York rally around him. Could the Once and Future King actually become mayor of the Big Apple?

I read this when I was a lot younger, and I understand that Peter David took the original manuscript and tweaked
This book spins traditional Arthurian legend on it's head as it bring the very medieval King Arthur into present day New York. Arthur, having been defeated by Modred way back in the days of Camelot didn't actually die, but instead was hidden in a cave. Hundreds of years pass, and eventually he, and an ageing backwards Merlin, emerge from their respective caves and find themselves in a bustling NY city where they have the idea that Arthur should run for mayor. Arthur reclaims Excalibur (a very fu ...more
Ben Goodridge
Jun 12, 2015 Ben Goodridge rated it really liked it
I haven't gotten to "The Once and Future King" on my list yet, and I think the Arthur legend as it stands owes more to White than Malory, so there may have been some references in this that I missed.

Here are some things never said by readers of Peter David: "Gosh, I wish I'd chosen a different book." "I just can't bear to turn another page." "I think I'll turn out the lights and go to bed before I finish it." Also "Hibble bibble dobble dibble," for some reason.

Anyway, read it.
May 13, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthuriana
A reawakened King Arthur attepts to find his place in a radically changed world. What else is there for a former king to do than to strive for public office? Since the presidential election seems to big a challenge for the first attempt a democracy, he settles for mayor of New York.

Supremely confident and unwilling to play the game according to the usual rules he challenges the political establishment and gains the voters' approval by telling the truth. Shocking!

Despite his lack of experience, h
Jul 24, 2008 Monk rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was an entertaining read, lighthearted in general. I picked it as my choice of the month for a book with Arthurian flavor. Again, I refuse to apologize for not being into things Arthurian, and many in my reading circle have threatened to take a corner off my Man Card or to ostracize me from polite society as a result. Putting Arthur into modern day Manhattan in order to take control of City Hall, now that's the kind of thing I could get into.

It's a fast read and it's pretty straightforward,
Jan 20, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, arthurian
I was absolutely delighted by this book! I snickered, I outright laughed, and just generally had a good time while I read it.

The idea of King Arthur in the modern world is by no means an original one, but Peter David put a fascinating spin on it and really brought the characters to life. I loved the banter between Arthur and Merlin especially. Though they are very different characters from their counterparts in the BBC's series Merlin, one can hear the similarities in the way they speak to each
King Arthur and company in 1980's New York City. He runs for mayor! what could possibly go wrong? Well, Morgan Le Fey and Mordred are back as well. Will Merlin and modern medicine be enough? Read and find out!
This is a book that is simply fun, if you let yourself enjoy it and not think too much. I had such a good time seeing Arthur and the gang romping their way around the Big Apple.

The Arthurian legend is fascinating in its flexibility. I can revel in all of it - from the epic poems to an absurd modern day tale. There is no one story. It is many stories with many different heroes and villains, so it is perfect for playful interpretation. Peter David has a nice way with words -- in a modern, snarky
Jan 02, 2013 Arthurianmaiden rated it did not like it
First: I've read the old version, the nonrevised version of this novel. So my review is really on it and not on the revised version.
I didn't like it. It was awful. Maybe it's also because I don't live in US and I am not familiar with US politics, but I didn't find this novel particularly funny.
I usually love Arthurian reincarnation novels when they are done well but here everything seemed to fast. It looks like reading a comic but without pictures and only dialogues and descriptions with no int
Feb 16, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
After a very literary turn with my last book, this was just the book I needed to read. Very quick read, entertaining and funny. I simply had to read the description and I was hooked: King Arthur comes back after being trapped in a cave for centuries, to save the world by... running for Mayor of New York! And somehow, many of the characters from his past (Merlin, Morgan, Modred, etc) all show up to help or hinder him in his campaign. Peter David manages to combine the fantasy and magic of Arthur' ...more
May 12, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
A book about an election for people who hate politics. :)
Feb 16, 2014 Craig rated it it was amazing
A nice easy read, but very entertaining twist on the Arthurian tale. I've enjoyed Peter David's writing for years, and he rarely disappoints.
Jan 17, 2011 Amanda rated it it was ok
An interesting concept, but the writing just wasn't strong enough to support it. Arthur was mostly a caricature of the noble king and I just didn't really believe he had the charisma and heroism to be a good politician. The jokes were pretty stale, and Merlin was annoying. However, I found Morgan Le Fay and Mordred to be fun twists on the legend and Percival was an interesting and smart invention. But still, the Arthur on the page just wasn't leadership material.
Aug 03, 2009 Z rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-want-this
An amusing, rather lighthearted, Arthurian read. Arthur attempts to become mayor of New York, accompanied by some familiar face. Merlin, in particular, is priceless in this one. What with the whole aging backward thing, he looks like a child at this point, and of course they have to explain what he's doing wandering around with the campaign sans parents. The explanation is hilarious.
Liz Beth
Sep 01, 2014 Liz Beth rated it really liked it
Very good book. It was a bit lacking in the WOW factor, but i would definitly recommend it for anyone looking for a good book to read with a cup of tea
Jan 31, 2010 Jenn rated it really liked it
This was a good one! I'm a fan of Arthurian legends. I haven't read a ton of them because after a while, they all start to run together. But I enjoy them! This one is different, though. It's sort of a reverse of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. This has at least 2 sequels I think and I do believe I'll eventually read them, though not right yet.
Jun 20, 2009 Lydia rated it really liked it
I always love almost anything I read from Peter David and this was no exception. I need to get my hands on the other books from this series. I don't like it quite as much as the Sir Apropos series, but they're hard to top, and I really liked this one. I really need to update this site more often, I finished this over a year ago at least.
Jan 02, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing
I had been looking forward to reading this book for quite a while so I finally decided to read it. And I wasn't disappointed at all. Loved it. The idea of Arthur returning to NYC and becoming mayor is a perfect set up for both a humorous story as well as one that contains some social commentary about our own time. Very good book.
This is a rewrite of Peter David's first novel. The original was the start of a promising career. The rewrite has the benefit of his years as a novelist.

The story itself is a new look on the story of King Arthur. Arthur finds himself in Modern Day New York and decides to restart his political career in America.
Dan Morris
May 03, 2008 Dan Morris rated it liked it
I think I would have loved this book in middle school. Cheap one-liner humor, no real dialog. Fiction for dungeons and dragons fans, although not a bad read on the plane if you want something light, where spacing out for a page or two won't really make you sad.
Feb 22, 2014 Jessi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, arthurian-legend
Wow politicians are such pricks.... but yeah I had to pick this book up because, come on, King Arthur running for mayor. AWESOME!!! and who knew Gwen would be so feisty? and of course Morgana was hiding away in New Jersey, go figure.
Oct 27, 2010 Travis rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
King Arthur returns and decides to run for mayor of New York.
A fun, light little fantasy book. Funny, but not so jokey it hurts the story.

I love stories about King Arthur's returns and this manages a nice balance of humor and fantasy.
Sep 26, 2007 Alison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Arthurian tales who like a bit of wild humor
It's been a while since I've read this book, but I remember liking it a lot. King Arthur, imprisoned in a cave with Merlin for an ungodly amount of time, arrives in present-day New York. Hilarity ensues.
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aka David Peters

Peter Allen David (often abbreviated PAD) is an American writer, best known for his work in comic books and Star Trek novels. David often jokingly describes his occupation as "Writer of Stuff". David is noted for his prolific writing, characterized by its mingling of real world issues with humor and references to popular culture. He also uses metafiction frequently, usually to hum
More about Peter David...

Other Books in the Series

Modern Arthur (3 books)
  • One Knight Only (Modern Arthur, #2)
  • Fall of Knight (Modern Arthur, #3)

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