By Force Alone (Hardcover)
Tor Books, 9781250753458, 416pp.
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
A retelling of Arthurian myth for the age of Brexit and Trump, from World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar, By Force Alone.
Everyone thinks they know the story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.
The fact is they don't know sh*t.
Arthur? An over-promoted gangster.
Merlin? An eldritch parasite.
Excalibur? A shady deal with a watery arms dealer.
Britain? A clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.
A savage and cutting epic fantasy, equally poetic and profane, By Force Alone is at once a timely political satire, a magical adventure, and a subversive masterwork.
About the Author
Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama, The Violent Century, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize-winning A Man Lies Dreaming, and the Campbell Award-winning Central Station, in addition to many other works and several other awards. He is also the author of the Locus Award nominated Unholy Land and debut children's novel Candy.
Lavie works across genres, combining detective and thriller modes with poetry, science fiction and historical and autobiographical material. His work has been compared to that of Philip K. Dick by the Guardian and the Financial Times, and to Kurt Vonnegut's by Locus.
Praise For By Force Alone…
Praise for By Force Alone:
“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
“It's an immense remix of the myth, done with an extremely ruthless eye. Lavie is an extremely clever writer, and, for all the book's genuine wit and humour, it is very very cold and it very much knows what business it is about. It is not to be fucked with.” —Warren Ellis
“Utterly bonkers, utterly brilliant - a brutal, witty & 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
"By Force Alone is 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.” —Lisa L. Hannett, author of Bluegrass Symphony and Lament for the Afterlife
“A twisted Arthur retelling mixing the historical and the magical with a very modern eye. Brutal and vicious and funny, a Peaky Blinders of the Round Table.” —Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Children of Time
“The Romans have had the good sense to abandon Britain, leaving gangsters in charge picking over the carcass of civilization and generally behaving like bad bastards. Everyone is a bastard here, from Guinevere 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 The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday
"A bloody, bravura performance, which Tidhar pulls off with graphic imagery and modern vernacular." —The 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." —The Daily Mail
"Tidhar saturates this epic adventure with profanity, dark humor, sword-sharp twists, and unexpected moments of pathos. Readers who hold King Arthur dear to their hearts will be gratified by Tidhar’s attention to detail amidst the innovation. This dark, imaginative take on a classic is sure to impress.” —Publishers Weekly
Praise for Lavie Tidhar:
“Lavie Tidhar[‘s] mad imagination ... is hilarious, insightful and terrifying all at once.” —Ben Aaronovitch
“He is a political writer, an iconoclast and sometimes a provocateur ... remarkable and ambitious work.” —China Mieville
“Would probably have been enough to get Tidhar burnt at the stake during the Middle Ages... Violent, action-packed, paced like a runaway freight train, politically incorrect and socially unredeemable [and] hugely entertaining.” —Gardner Dozois
“A game-player of a writer who uses the spectrum of science fiction canon for his pieces... Lavie Tidhar is a clever bastard.” —Warren Ellis
“Lavie Tidhar is one of the most distinctive voices to enter the field in many years.” —Alastair Reynolds
“[Tidhar is] Young, ambitious, skilled and original.” —Christopher Priest
“Hypnotic … [his] writing is beautiful.” —Jeff Vandermeer
“There are SFF writers. There are good SFF writers. And there is Lavie Tidhar...There is no one like him writing in genre today.” —Ian McDonald
“Groundbreaking… radically unique… genius literary invention.” —Norman Spinrad
“A dazzling tale of complicated politics and even more complicated souls. Beautiful.” —Ken Liu
“A brilliantly etched phantasmagoric reconfiguring of that most sizzling of eras the twilight 20th . . . a torrid tour de force.” —James Ellroy
“[Tidhar] has already staked a claim as the genre’s most interesting, most bold, and most accomplished writer.” —Locus
“Tidhar scatters brilliant ideas like pennies on the sidewalk.” —NPR Books
“Stunning...very funny...remarkably poignant...[Tidhar] reminds us that even — especially — under the most terrible of circumstances, stories are all we have. And in the right hands, they can be a formidable weapon.” —The Washington Post