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King Maker by Maurice Broaddus

King Maker (edition 2010)

by Maurice Broaddus

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916132,676 (3.07)None
Title:King Maker
Authors:Maurice Broaddus
Info:London : Angry Robot
Collections:Your library, Gelezen (van Mijn boeken), ff-leesclub discussie, Foreign Fantasy discussieboek, Verkopen/Weggeven

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King Maker by Maurice Broaddus



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There's a lot that could be really awesome about this book. I'm not overwhelmed by the idea of an African-American King Arthur, because I'm tired of people claiming him away from the Welsh/the original British. I have actually had an argument with someone, I think about this book, where they were saying that a white person's plot using elements of voodoo or whatever was appropriative and evil, and it's not like it's a "global myth" like King Arthur. But King Arthur is only a global myth because someone (I've got my eye on you, Geoffrey of Monmouth) appropriated it in the first place, adapting it to a Norman audience.

Maurice Broaddus is just the latest in a long line of people taking Arthur away from the Welsh. And, you know, having grown up in an English school being ruthlessly bullied because I was Welsh, I feel that pretty intensely. Arthur was a symbol of a vanquished people: why else did Henry II need to 'discover' the body of King Arthur in England? Gee, could it be to 'prove' that Arthur wasn't going to return to save us, and further dispirit us before he attacked? Propaganda wasn't invented in the twentieth century.

On the other hand, I can't say no Welsh author has used elements of other mythologies, or even that I don't do it, so I guess I don't have a leg to stand on. I try to do it with respect, though, and -- I'm not sure what Broaddus is doing here. I couldn't finish this book. I had expectations as an Arthurian scholar and as a Welsh person that were continually frustrated: I didn't want to see King Arthur as a drug lord. I can see the parallels, I guess, but I just couldn't buy into it.

If you're interested in a very alternate take on King Arthur, though, this one would be a very interesting one if you can ditch your expectations. I love the cover -- a powerful POC front and centre -- and I love that it was published and, from the sounds of it, pretty successful. Just definitely not one for me. So bear in mind that my one star rating is very very personal. ( )
  shanaqui | Jul 9, 2013 |
This is urban fantasy with a heavy emphasis on "urban"-the official description is "The Wire meets Excalibur" which is true in all of the best ways. King Arthur played out between rival drug dealers on the streets of Indianapolis, magic and mythic elements included. It's kind of glorious, with some wonderfully vivid language. ( )
  rrainer | Apr 30, 2013 |
A new version of the Arthur-story, replayed in the ghetto of Indianapolis.
At first I was confused. Not only reading the street slang took some getting used to, it also took me some time to recognize some characters. This first book is very much the setup for the whole story, which unrolls very slowly.

Some characters, like Merle and King, are easy to recognize, others took more time. And this is also urban, with very recognizable urban and fantasy characters like trolls and zombies, that are not so easy linked to the Arthur story. The way they are introduced is very well done. The story sticks in you mind and I will certainly read part 2 and 3 of this story! ( )
  Maaike15274 | Dec 6, 2012 |
Well written but a challenging read. Broaddus not presenting a feel good story here. He is writing a gritty, urban drama about some tough characters in tough circumstances. Gritty violence and language permeate the tale. So despite the fact he's a Christian writer, don't go into this expecting a CBA friendly book. Powerful and important but not easy to wrap one's self around. Still recommended. ( )
  BryanThomasS | Nov 7, 2011 |
The cover caught my attention right off, because there are few POC featured on urban fantasy covers, especially men. The premise also grabbed my interest -- King Arthur returns in a modern gangsta setting -- and so I picked it up as soon as it was available. I liked it, but had a few issues with it.

The author is a capable writer, and effectively paints a picture of the grim world of the inner city streets and shades-of-gray characters. After all, the legends say Arthur will only return in the darkest of days, and it feels right that he'd return to a world so in need of saving as that of a city's drug- and violence-plagued neighborhoods. Props to the author for an imaginative premise, solid writing, and the ability to evoke atmosphere.

The story opens a generation in the past with Luther White, a hot-headed lord of the streets who already has one baby son (King/Arthur) when he unwisely hooks up with a woman named Morgana and produces a second (Dred/Mordred). Shortly after that, he's killed. No spoilers; this is the prologue, and anyone familiar with the Arthurian legend knows that Uther dies early in the program. A crazy white guy named Merle is also introduced, as is a man named Green. Merle's identity is obvious, and Green is the Green Knight, but he's also something more -- and creepier. There's magic, elementals, fey, and dragons in this book. Also, zombies!

One aspect of the book I liked very much is that while the story stays true to the spirit of the legend, it mixes it up in new ways that makes it a fresh retelling. That Excalibur transmogrifies into a fancy gun in this setting isn't surprising (which reminds me of the graphic novel Caliber that I want to get -- King Arthur in the Old West.) When King and his knights finally assemble toward the end, the story became more tense and suspenseful. King is still something of an unknown -- there are two more books planned in the series --but for the most part I liked him, Lady G, Wayne, and Lott. Dred is just plain creepy. Despite the grimness, there are little moments of humor that made me smile or laugh. There were a few cute, warm fuzzy moments too, like King plopping down in front of Lady G to have her style his hair.

The biggest problem I had with the story was its overall lack of focus. There were too many characters, especially for so short a book, and each one was given their own scenes and POV. I would've preferred a single character -- two or three at the most -- to take me through the story, and logically that character would've been King. King, however, has sporadic appearances early in the book and doesn't make a real showing until nearly the middle. The fragmented feel of the story undercut the sense of urgency for me, even when the creepier or more shocking scenes were playing out. The plot also struggled to find its focus, largely due to the "isolated vignette" feel of all those individual character scenes strung together on a rather weak thread of weirdness suddenly afoot. When the story comes together at the end, it does so effectively, but I wish the story and its characters had coalesced a whole lot sooner.

Regardless of these issues, I'll check out the next book in the series.
1 vote meleada | Sep 11, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857660527, Mass Market Paperback)


The King Arthur myth gets dramatically retold through the eyes of street hustler King, as he tries to unite the crack dealers, gangbangers and the monsters lurking within them to do the right thing. From the drug gangs of downtown Indianapolis, the one true king will arise. The King Arthur myth gets dramatically retold through the eyes of street hustler King, as he tries to unite the crack dealers, gangbangers and the monsters lurking within them to do the right thing. Broaddus' debut is a stunning, edgy work, genuinely unlike anything you've ever read.

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Street Gangs | Drug Wars | Ancient Bloodline | Dragon Rising ]

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An urban fantasy features street hustler King and his attempts to unite the gangbangers, crack dealers, and monsters on the streets of Indianapolis, Indiana.

(summary from another edition)

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Angry Robot

2 editions of this book were published by Angry Robot.

Editions: 0857660527, 0857660535


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