The King's Peace
by Jo Walton
Tor, 2000, ISBN 0-312-87229-1
A book review by Elisabeth Carey
This is not a retelling of the Matter of Britain, and trying to read it as if it were, while tempting, will result in a frustrating experience. Sulien is not anyone in the Arthurian mythos, her king is not Arthur, and while their land has interesting correspondences with it, it is not Britain. Saying that this is the story of people a generation or two removed from their last direct contact with the empire that civilized their culture organizing their own defense against invading barbarians and attempting to build a unified kingdom, while perfectly true, does not capture the flavor of the book. That flavor is found in the characters and their world, not in the plot.
However, there is a plot, and as much as I enjoyed this book, the reader may wish to be warned (as everyone reading the appropriate threads in rec.arts.sf.written and rec.arts.sf.fandom was, but those merely reading the dustjacket are not) that this is merely the first half. The second half is completed, and is scheduled for next year. There are several plot threads that arecomplete in this volume, but there are more, and more major ones, that are not. I'd be very irritated, if I'd bought the book unwarned.