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The Table of Less Valued Knights (2014)

by Marie Phillips

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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17713153,676 (3.71)41
Longlisted for the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Sir Humphrey du Val of the Table of Less Valued Knights - Camelot's least prestigious table, with one leg shorter than the others so that it has to be propped up with a folded napkin - doesn't do quests ... until he meets Elaine, a damsel in distress with a secret to hide. Meanwhile, Queen Martha of Puddock is on the run from an arranged marriage to the odious Prince Edwin of Tuft. But an encounter with the Locum of the Lake (standing in for the full-time Lady) leaves her with a quest of her own- to find her missing brother, long believed dead. The two quests collide, 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. With Gods Behaving Badly Marie Phillips showed that she has a rare gift for comedy, giving the Greek Gods an ingenious contemporary twist. In The Table of Less Valued Knights it's Camelot's turn, and you'll never see a knight in shining armour in the same way again.… (more)
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In the darkest, least distinguished corner of the Great Hall at Camelot is a table they never speak of in the songs: the Table of Less Valued Knights. Here the retired and the also-rans live in the shadow of their glamorous peers on the famous Round Table. Sir Humphrey du Val is one of these past-it paladins, banished from the first division for an unchivalrous act and resigned to spending the rest of his life in the company of toothless has-beens. But then, one Pentecost, Fate throws Sir Humphrey an unexpected chance to distinguish himself once again. Before he knows it, he’s out on the road, riding to avenge a damsel in distress; but little does the poor knight realise that his trials are only just beginning. Cheerfully silly, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail crossed with A Knight’s Tale, this is an all-out medieval romp...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2018/11/07/the-table-of-less-valued-knights-marie-phill... ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Nov 7, 2018 |
Don't get me wrong, there are things to like here. Martha, for example. I thoroughly enjoyed Martha and would love to hang out with her and chit-chat about court life at Puddock. In fact, most of the characters in this book are quite strong and entertaining to read about, even though they are a bit standard. We have the underappreciated knight out to save the day, the comedic squire, the feisty women, the mustache-twirling villain. But although Phillips may not be striking new ground exactly, the character work is well-executed and kept me reading.

But the plot. The pacing is off and even in a fantasy novel, I didn't buy the rapidfire twists and turns in the second half. Also, one development in particular reminded me of [b:The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake|7048800|The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake|Aimee Bender|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320541766s/7048800.jpg|7299170], which is a very bad thing for any novel to do.

It's worth your time if you like comic fantasy more than I do. Phillips's writing is solid. But not a must-read by any means. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Don't get me wrong, there are things to like here. Martha, for example. I thoroughly enjoyed Martha and would love to hang out with her and chit-chat about court life at Puddock. In fact, most of the characters in this book are quite strong and entertaining to read about, even though they are a bit standard. We have the underappreciated knight out to save the day, the comedic squire, the feisty women, the mustache-twirling villain. But although Phillips may not be striking new ground exactly, the character work is well-executed and kept me reading.

But the plot. The pacing is off and even in a fantasy novel, I didn't buy the rapidfire twists and turns in the second half. Also, one development in particular reminded me of [b:The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake|7048800|The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake|Aimee Bender|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320541766s/7048800.jpg|7299170], which is a very bad thing for any novel to do.

It's worth your time if you like comic fantasy more than I do. Phillips's writing is solid. But not a must-read by any means. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
.The Table of Less Valued Knights is an amusing entertainment. It’s not an idealized version of King Arthur’s Court; Marie Phillips has removed any rose-colored glasses by focusing on the highly flawed members of the Table of Less Valued Knights there at Camelot. Lancelot is still sleeping with Guinevere and Arthur is a bit pompous. But there are those less exalted entities -- like Sir Humphrey -- who still try very hard to do the right thing, even as they try to avoid addressing their own failed quests. At the feast of Pentecost, traditionally, guests arrive at court begging the services of a knight to aid in the righting of wrongs. This year, there are two such guests who arrive -- one begging aid in recovering a kidnapped wife and queen while the other is begging aid in finding an errant fiance. One petitioner gets Sir Dorian and the other gets Sir Humphrey. The novel follows both quests, with an eye slanted towards seeing who best upholds the honorable values of King Arthur.

Exaggerated humor is what moves the figures in this story from the familiar stiff painted-in-oil icons to more flexible, more humane figures. There is an early chapter where a unicorn adoringly chases after a virgin that was quite funny, but the reader is then faced with a close to that chapter rather reminiscent of George R.R. Martin. Indeed the character of Prince Edmund is strikingly reminiscent of Game of Thrones King Joffrey! There is a magic sword that serves as a directional compass, if spun by the right person, even as it seems to have its own quest to fulfill apart from that of its owner. The knight’s noble steed is an elephant (christened somewhat anachronistically as Jemima) and his trusted squire is a giant (with some "daddy" issues of his own). All this is happening while the author skewers expectations of gender and sexuality. Definitely for adult readers without being too ribald. ( )
  jillmwo | Apr 12, 2016 |
This is a light-hearted Arthurian fantasy novel which deals with the knights who were not worthy enough for whatever reason to sit at the Round Table.

In Part One, Sir Humphrey surreptitiously accepts a Quest – which he has no right to do as he sits at the Table of Less Valued Knights – to help a maiden whose fiancé has been kidnapped.

In Part Two, Martha, a princess, leaves her homeland to flee a destiny which she cannot face.

In Part Three, all comes together and everything gets resolved to everyone’s satisfaction – except for the more nefarious characters.

The first part is littered with jokes, in a Terry Pratchett style, but these peter out. The humour is light and not particularly rib-tickling in my opinion.

I stuck with it despite some lack of enthusiasm to see how the plots would be resolved.

Recommended to anyone who wants a light “nonsense” Arthurian story with a bit of magic and supernatural occurrences.
( )
  PaulAllard | Dec 9, 2015 |
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Marie Phillipsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burton, JonathanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Longlisted for the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Sir Humphrey du Val of the Table of Less Valued Knights - Camelot's least prestigious table, with one leg shorter than the others so that it has to be propped up with a folded napkin - doesn't do quests ... until he meets Elaine, a damsel in distress with a secret to hide. Meanwhile, Queen Martha of Puddock is on the run from an arranged marriage to the odious Prince Edwin of Tuft. But an encounter with the Locum of the Lake (standing in for the full-time Lady) leaves her with a quest of her own- to find her missing brother, long believed dead. The two quests collide, 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. With Gods Behaving Badly Marie Phillips showed that she has a rare gift for comedy, giving the Greek Gods an ingenious contemporary twist. In The Table of Less Valued Knights it's Camelot's turn, and you'll never see a knight in shining armour in the same way again.

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