6 February 2018

Special Guest Post ~ King Judy, by David Clow

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

After countless versions of the King Arthur legend from Malory to the present, it's a labor of love to do something fresh while keeping the essence of the enduring meaning. The details have to change to make the story new, but there are values, characters, and ideas that have to be respected and reaffirmed. Those were the goals for me in King Judy.

We're living in cynical times. Readers today might be reluctant to believe anything that seems too good to be true, so portraying simple decency, let alone romantic traits like chivalry, might require some ironic spin. King Judy starts there, with the idea that anything too pure and truthful can't be real. In this version, Camelot in the modern world has become a seedy little tourist town. 

The values of knighthood are mocked; the remaining knights of the Round Table are sellouts trading on tales of heroism that their customers treat as mere entertainment. Trying to believe that any of it could ever have been real is almost impossible when it's all been reduced to a joke.

Judy Avery is a young American archaeologist. At first, she wants to believe in the legends. Then she has to believe in them, because in this little modern tourist town, the fight for the Kingdom has come back to life, with her in the middle, and with her life on the line. She's the narrator of King Judy, the reluctant hero who inherits King Arthur's crown, his sword, and the King's duty to save Camelot. As Judy herself says... 
It befell in the days of Uther Pendragon, when he was King of all England, and so reigned, that there was a mighty duke in Cornwall that held war against him long time.....
   A Round Table in a mythical kingdom. Armored knights, a lost treasure, an enchanted sword. A dragon-the fire-breathing kind.
   You've heard this story? Me too. I loved it when it was a fairy tale. Then it befell in the days long after Uther, when the kingdom of his son Arthur was but small and nearly forgotten, that the throne came to a most unlikely heir: me.
   I'm Judy Avery. I was a young American, a lonely romantic. I was a nerdy archaeologist whose career was over before it started. I believed in my heart there might be some beautiful truth in the King Arthur legends. I wanted answers. When I got them, the truth wasn't beautiful.
   There was no explanation for why I was chosen to find Excalibur, Arthur's legendary blade, or for how five strange old men running a British tourist trap turned out to be the last Knights of the Round Table. But the local sorceress and her army of monsters didn't need an explanation. I was King, so they wanted me dead.
   It wasn't the Age of Chivalry. It wasn't a fairy tale about mythic warriors. It was now, and the story was my own. In this version, a tacky Cornish village was Arthur's Camelot. Dragons were real. So was the sword in my hands. So was love.
   Unbelievable. And if I didn't believe it all, I wouldn't survive the day.
Judy isn't ready to be a King. She finds what she needs. I hope she's a hero for our time.

David Clow

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About the Author

David Clow is a Los Angeles-based playwright, journalist, and author. His award-winning plays, academic work and books are all easy to find online, and King Judy has its own Facebook page.

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