Review of King Maker by Maurice Broaddus

A Poor Imitation of The Wire, a Wearying Take on Arthurian Legend

I don’t quit reading books. Faced with a book I don’t like or that doesn’t hold my interest, my usual course of action is merely to set it aside, not planning to quit but without plans to pick it up again. But sometimes I power my way through out of sheer cussedness. Of all the books I put my grubby little hands on at World Con, I was most excited about King Maker. How could I not be about a book that bills itself as “The Wire Meets Excalibur”? Well, at least I can say I finished it.

King Maker cover

But if it’s anything like The Wire, it’s a very poor imitation indeed. I’m sure Arthurian legend has been retold so wearyingly, but I couldn’t say where. The tagline is, however, correct on the subject matter. King Maker is a contemporary fantasy set among the drug dealers of Indianapolis with obvious Arthurian elements. I won’t delve any deeper into the story than that, because I never cared about any of the details. The narrative follows many characters without making the reader care about any of them. This is, I think, a ploy to give us a deeper glimpse into the milieu rather than because the characters are essential to the plot (The Red Knight by Miles Cameron is a recent book I read that does this very well), but it fails because the sub-plots are no more interesting than the characters are no more interesting than the milieu. I take it this is the first book in a series, but that is no excuse for such a mild tremor of a story and I would prefer to pretend no more of this exists, anyway.

About H.P.

Blogs on books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday (speculative fiction) and Hillbilly Highways (country noir and nonfiction).
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