From the vast lore surrounding King Arthur, Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table, comes an anthology of gender-bent, race-bent and LGBTQIA+ inclusive retellings by writers including Alexander Chee, Daniel M. Lavery and others.
You'll find a lot to like and, almost certainly, something to love—whether you're seeking adventure, tragedy, self-discovery or just plain fun. Every story in it feels well-chosen, from Roshani Chokshi's tale of a woman who sidesteps destiny to find happiness and wisdom, to Sive Doyle's picaresque Spenserian teenage quest, to Sarah MacLean's steamy scabbard-tingling swordsmithing romance ... Who is Arthur? Who were Guinevere, Lancelot, Elaine, Merlin, Morgan le Fay? The answers change with every telling, in every generation. For now, the authors of Sword Stone Table give us all the Arthurs we could want—and remind us that any corner of the world can be a Camelot, any stone may conceal a sword, and that the Round Table has enough seats for us all.
The collection takes readers across time and cultures, breathing new life into one of the oldest Western myths ... Maria Dahvana Headley's 'Mayday' is a satisfying, intriguing mystery told via a collection of items and documents found in an abandoned lighthouse ... Sarah MacLean brings the passionate romance she's known for to 'The Bladesmith Queen' ... Alexander Chee closes the anthology with a rather sweet take on Arthur and Gawain set in a space-age future. With nods to the original, Chee's story epitomizes the breadth and universality of Arthurian themes as showcased in these stories. The futuristic setting feels as natural as those in the past and present, with characters both true to the source material and entirely new. Fans of Arthurian legends are certain to find a few stories to love in Sword Stone Table--and they just might see themselves in the pages, too.
It’s a good anthology, with a range of stories in a variety of genres, but I must admit, I’d assumed from that blurb that it would be mostly queer retellings. I enjoyed the anthology a lot more once I reframed it in my head as ‘diverse Arthuriana’ ... While the individual stories in Sword, Stone, Table didn’t all appeal to me, I did appreciate the variety and the way the stories were set against each other. An anthology is more than the sum of its parts, and out of seventeen stories, there were six I loved, four I liked, three that were perfectly fine, two that were interesting but a bit too experimental for my taste, and only two that I disliked. That’s a very good average for an anthology! If you like twists on the King Arthur stories, if you enjoy fantasy and science fiction, and if you like more POC and queer people in your stories, I think you will enjoy Sword, Stone, Table. But if you are coming into this as a romance reader, please do be aware that while there are plenty of happy endings in this book, there are quite a few tragedies as well. Which, after all, reflects the source material.