If you are fans of the Arthurian legend, you are sure to get a kick out of Caleb Kelly’s CAMELOT’S RECKONING. It’s a new twist on the legend and the characters will keep you turning the pages. In fact, when you get to the end, you will be shouting for more.
This is a high fantasy story that doesn’t start off like one. It starts us off at an archeological dig as Oliver is on his quest to find Excalibur, the fabled magic sword of King Arthur. In fact, the legend and search for the sword has consumed his life and practically ruined his reputation in the archeological world. However, this time he is on to something, and he needs his twin brother to help him continue the search.
Which brings us to a small problem: Oliver’s brother, Roland, is a lawyer in a high-profile law firm who is bucking for partnership, while sleeping with his boss’ trophy wife. Roland has problems that don’t include his brother, and a life that couldn’t be more different than his archaeologist brother.
In order to get his brother to accompany him to Scotland in pursuit of the sword, Oliver has to sabotage Roland’s life and get him fired from his job. In Scotland, Oliver finds Excalibur AND its sister sword. The brothers are swept into an alternate dimension, a magical one set up by Merlin where they learn that the two swords were wielded by Arthur and Sir Kay. Kay and Arthur were of one mind and accord and worked in tandem with each other. Oliver and Roland learn from Garrison, a shape-shifting apprentice to Merlin, that for the magic to work, they, too will have to work together. And that’s a major problem because Oliver and Roland do not think alike, and thus they disturb the swords’ magic. Things that are supposed to happen don’t, and vice verse, causing all kinds of chaos to ensue.
As I read this story, one thing really caught my attention: Mr. Kelly’s attention to detail. This book is the first in the Primis Vipris Saga (series). I appreciated that the author spent the time needed to really introduce his characters to the readers. He methodically charted Oliver’s and Roland’s lives in such a way that I understood them, knew them. These characters were real. We see Oliver working through the puzzle that is an archeological dig:
“Oliver wiped his brow with the back of his gloves, took them off, and
hurled them against the toolbox across from him. He got up from the
dirt and brushed away the loose soil from his brown khakis and sweat-
stained tee shirt. He grabbed hold of the edge of the pit and hoisted
himself out and on to the edge…”
We follow Roland on an intricate court case, one that Oliver sabotages in order to get his brother to accompany him:
“Roland flipped through the files in his lap as the lead prosecutor of
his firm marched back and forth at the front of the courtroom. He
stopped for a moment to listen to what was unfolding. The room
was drenched in palpable tension as the veteran lawyer paced in
front of the witness stand. He stopped and thumbed through the
layers of documentation inside the manila folder. Anticipation of
the trial had left the entire city of Greenville on edge as the
I felt like I was right there, witnessing the events unravel firsthand. With this kind of detail, Mr. Kelly takes us into his magical world; into Merlin’s magic books; and into the confrontation against dragons. Will Oliver and Roland be able to defeat the beasts? Only if they can manage to come together, strengthen their bonds, and act as one – like Arthur and Kay before them. Their adventure, humanity, and brotherly struggles make this book a page turner.
Be forewarned, however! This book ends at a cliffhanger, one that will make you scream for Book 2. That’s not a bad thing, but there is no information for when Book 2 will be released, so try to remain patient as you wait for the Saga to continue.
Because this story is cleverly written and delves into wonderful characterization, with great attention to detail, I give it a four Fleur de Lis. If you are looking for a different take on the Arthurian legend in a high fantasy story, you will thoroughly enjoy CAMELOT’S RECKONING. I highly recommend it!
You can find Caleb Kelly’s Camelot’s Reckoning on AMAZON.
RATINGS: TDS rates all books based on the dark content and how well the reading experience lends itself. For fantasy, the craft of world building and the story’s classification (high, epic) is also of interest. As always, author craft, storytelling, and mechanics are considered, as well. For this purpose, we use Fleur-de-lis (⚜️). An explanation of the Fleur-de-lis system follows.
Boring, flat fantasy elements, not interesting. Do not recommend.
Fair plot, below average fantasy elements but fairly interesting. Read at own risk.
Good plot and average fantasy elements, good reading experience. Encouraged read.
Great reading experience with heaps of wonderful fantasy elements. Strong recommend.
Excellent prose, amazing fantasy elements, well-written. A MUST READ!