By Force Alone
There is a legend… Britannia, AD 535
The Romans have gone. While their libraries smoulder, roads decay and cities crumble, men with swords pick over civilisation’s carcass, slaughtering and being slaughtered in turn.
This is the story of just such a man. Like the others, he had a sword. He slew until slain. Unlike the others, we remember him. We remember King Arthur.
This is the story of a land neither green nor pleasant. An eldritch isle of deep forest and dark fell haunted by swaithes, boggarts and tod-lowries, Robin-Goodfellows and Jenny Greenteeths, and predators of rarer appetite yet.
This is the story of a legend forged from a pack of self-serving, turd-gilding, weasel-worded lies told to justify foul deeds and ill-gotten gains.
This is the story – viscerally entertaining, ominously subversive and poetically profane – of a Dark Age myth that shaped a nation.
EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT BY FORCE ALONE: ‘A bloody, bravura performance, which Tidhar pulls off with graphic imagery and modern vernacular’ Guardian.
‘As eclectic as the Sword in the Stone and as ruthless as A Game of Thrones, this retelling of the whole Arthurian legend stands alongside the very best’ Daily Mail.
‘The narrative voice is deadly serious but there’s a strong undercurrent of gleefulness to the profanity, violence and otherworldly magic that makes By Force Alone a whole lot of fun to dive into’ Spectator.
‘Lavie Tidhar has crafted a punk epic on the mouldering bones of legend and jolted it to life with ten thousand volts of knowing wit and fury. By Force Alone eviscerates the complacent posturing of the Arthurian myth, explodes the well-worn conventions of the tale and from the shiny jagged pieces assembles a wholly fresh rollercoaster ride of cheap violence, vicious magic and messy human truth’ Richard Morgan.
‘A twisted Arthur retelling mixing the historical and the magical with a very modern eye. Brutal and vicious, funny, Peaky Blinders of the Round Table’ Adrian Tchaikovsky.
'Plunging a broadsword into the heart of Arthurian legend, Tidhar's novel depicts the Knights of the Round Table as a bunch of sweary, sweaty thugs. So much for the glories of a magical, mythical past. Britain, it seems, has forever been a land of factional infighting, presided over by a brutal, uncaring elite' Financial Times. 'London-based Israeli author Tidhar's latest fantasy is a ferocious and often very funny reinvention of the King Arthur myth, taking in references from Tolkien to Brexit' iNews. 'Iconoclastic, provocative, poetic and profane. King Arthur re-imagined - as you'd expect from the author of A Man Lies Dreaming and The Violent Century as well as the World Fantasy Award-winning Osama and the Locus Award short-listed Central Station' Concatenation. 'In true Lavie Tidhar style, we get something much more entertaining, bizarre and fantastical ... If you're looking for something riotously, uncompromisingly graphic and frenzied, then this book well certainly stand out from the crowd' SF Crowsnest. 'Every new book by the fiendishly ingenious and canny Tidhar is so radically different from his previous ones that I always await the next with bated breath ... The result is stunningly unique and the way he threads his daring if not sacrilegious additions into the fabric of the Camelot tale is like a punch in the gut ... Uproarious, provocative and utterly gripping' Crime Time. 'At a time when many in a fractious, divided Britain are looking to the past for comfort, Tidhar seeks to remind us - in dizzying, profane fashion - that our nation was, like so many others, built on nothing more romantic than bloodshed and conquest' Financial Times. 'A bloody, bravura performance, which Tidhar pulls off with graphic imagery and modern vernacular ... By Force Alone is Tidhar's scatological contribution to the field of Arthurian romance, a salutary antidote to the more romantic glossings of recent modern fantasy' Guardian. 'A New Weird Britain take on Arthurian mythos ... It's an immense remix of the myth, done with an extremely ruthless eye. Lavie is an extremely clever writer' Warren Ellis. 'Everyone is a bastard here, from Guenevere to Arthur to Merlin; I have never come across a more despicable bunch of characters, this is surely an indictment of Lavie Tidhar's warped and degenerate brain. Without a doubt this is the best Arthurian tale ever written, it has ruined the entire mythology for me' Saad Z. Hossain, author of Escape From Baghdad! and Djinn City. 'A comet that blazes a brilliant new path through dusty old territory. Bold and inventive, it smashes Arthurian myth to bits, sweeps up the brightest, weirdest, most enchanting pieces, and reshapes them into a wildly original tale. Legend has it that King Arthur will return when he's most needed, and this Arthur - this flawed, ambitious, irreverent boy-kingpin - is exactly the one we need now' Lisa L. Hannett, author of Bluegrass Symphony and Lament for the Afterlife. 'Tidhar turns King Arthur's court into a gangster's paradise, full of wheelings and dealings, and true grit. If the tale didn't go down like this, it should have' Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic. 'A beautifully written and thrilling tale, soaked in gore and evocative historical detail, peppered with subtle humour. Tidhar storms the castle of Grimdark, sword dripping with blood, and makes a claim for its crown' Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron and You Die When You Die. 'Utterly bonkers, utterly brilliant - a brutal, witty and slightly insane deconstruction of the Arthurian legend by way of Goodfellas, this is absolute bloody (and sweary) joy on the page' Russel D. McLean, author of The Good Son and Ed's Dead. 'Lavie Tidhar has crafted a punk epic on the mouldering bones of legend and jolted it to life with ten thousand volts of knowing wit and fury. By Force Alone eviscerates the complacent posturing of the Arthurian myth, explodes the well-worn conventions of the tale and from the shiny jagged pieces assembles a wholly fresh rollercoaster ride of cheap violence, vicious magic and messy human truth' Richard Morgan, author of Altered Carbon. 'You can always trust Lavie Tidhar to create something brilliant, savage and endlessly entertaining' Starburst. 'Drawing on everything from wushu movies to The Wire by way of Tarkovsky and Tarantino, By Force Alone is wild, surprising and entertaining, and a hugely immersive read' M.R. Carey, author of The Girl with All the Gifts and The Unwritten. 'A violent, funny, absurd epic - Tidhar remains an utterly original voice in contemporary fiction' Daniel Polansky, author of Low Town and The Builders. 'Lavie Tidhar has created something wonderful, an extraordinary blend of history, legend, and sheer, lunatic inspiration. I loved it' Christopher Farnsworth, author of The Eternal World and Killfile. 'A twisted Arthur retelling mixing the historical and the magical with a very modern eye. Brutal and vicious, funny, Peaky Blinders of the Round Table' Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Cage of Souls and Dogs of War. '[An] extraordinary and vivid retelling of our national myth. Gritty revisionism is super-charged by the supernatural ... As eclectic as the Sword in the Stone and as ruthless as A Game of Thrones, this retelling of the whole Arthurian legend stands alongside the very best' Daily Mail.
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