Thomas D. Lee brings past and future together in Perilous Times, his witty debut novel featuring Arthurian knights waking up from sleep to help Britain in its time of peril--as they've been doing for a thousand years. But this time when they wake up, the world is nearly ending from climate change. Sir Kay assists Mariam as she's blowing up a fracking facility and joins her group of eco-warriors fighting the oil oligarchs who now rule England. Meanwhile Marlowe, whose deal with the devil in Elizabethan England has kept him alive all these years, wants Lancelot to carry out some very sketchy missions for him. When the knights don't live up to Mariam's expectations, she has to look beyond legend for the world's savior.
Perilous Times is full of violence and intense themes, but it's also full of hilarity and absurdity. Lee draws on his expertise in Arthurian legend, the subject of his doctoral study, to comment on ways of understanding legendary stories of the past, especially stories upon which the fabric of a nation like England has been built. No prior knowledge of Arthurian legend is necessary to enjoy the novel, but Arthurian aficionados will delight in seeing bits of lore verified or debunked by Kay, Lancelot, Morgan, Marlowe, and the others. Featuring a diverse cast, including medieval knights who are Black and gay, Perilous Times takes readers on a wild adventure as Mariam, Kay, and Lancelot figure out how to save the world and what being a hero truly means. --Dainy Bernstein, literature professor, University of Pittsburgh