Book Reviews

Review: Perilous Times by Thomas D. Lee

You know, it’s always funny when people refer to me as being an ‘influencer’ considering how often I find myself influenced myself. And Perilous Times is one of those occasions where I saw it everywhere and when it landed in my mailbox, I knew I had to read it. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


An immortal Knight of the Round Table faces his greatest challenge yet—saving the politically polarized, rapidly warming world from itself—in this slyly funny contemporary take on Arthurian legend.

Being reborn as an immortal defender of the realm gets awfully damn tiring over the years—or at least that’s what Sir Kay’s thinking as he claws his way up from beneath the earth, yet again.

Kay fought at Hastings, and at Waterloo, and in both World Wars. After a thousand years, he thought he was used to dealing with a crisis. But now he finds himself in a strange new world where oceans have risen, armies have been privatized, and half of Britain’s been sold to the Chinese. The dragon that’s running amok, that he can handle. The rest? He’s not so sure.

Mariam’s devoted her life to fighting what’s wrong with her country. But she’s just one ordinary person, up against a hopelessly broken system. So when she meets Kay, a figure straight out of legend, she dares to hope that the world’s finally found the savior it needs.

As the two quest through this strange land swarming with gangs, mercenaries, and talking squirrels, they realize that other ancient evils are afoot. Lancelot is back too–at the beck and call of immortal beings with a sinister agenda. And if their plans can’t be stopped, a dragon will be the least of the planet’s worries.

In perilous times like these, the realm doesn’t just need a knight. It needs a true leader.

Luckily, Excalibur lies within reach–and Kay’s starting to suspect that the hero fit to carry it is close at hand.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Perilous Times has one of those premises which immediately makes your ears perk up. As someone who basically grew up always having a copy of The Mists of Avalon on her shelves, I was so excited for Perilous Times. And what has to be one of my favorite elements is the ways in which Lee engages with the Arthurian lore. Kay, Lancelot, Arthur, Morgan and more are certainly not the heroes or figures we might be expecting. This lending an air of refreshment and also realism.

We can have this idea that these ‘heroes’ these ‘figures’ are these iconic legendary ones, but they have these complexities themselves. We cannot always be sure that they will do the ‘right thing’. Or fight for the ‘good guys’. These portrayals of the Arthurian lore felt refreshingly realistic all with a touch of wry humor. Additionally, the ways these figures have struggled with their immortality is something I find extremely fascinating. It’s a theme that manages to question what we would do if we kept witnessing the world’s ebbs and flows.

The wars, the conflicts, the ruin of the planet. This scope of time, of relentlessness of history, and also of witnessing humanity’s downfalls and mistakes has to take a toll. These two aspects had to be my favorite in Perilous Times. Overall, this is pretty quick paced for such a chunky book and, of course, Mariam was my favorite character. I would have wished for a bit more depth in some of the side characters – like Morgan and Nimue – and towards the end it certainly feels more plot based.

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As someone who always connects to characters first, I had some troubles in certain spots. But as a whole, I think this is perfect for fans of Arthurian lore and who want to see them in a new light. It feels very much like a blend and I enjoyed the ways Lee can focus on the humor. There’s a sense of wryness which makes the comments seem humorous, even while there’s a chillingness to the ways they ring close to our own world – a hop skip and a jump away.

Find Perilous Times on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon (US) (UK),, & Blackwells.


What is your favorite recent take on Arthurian lore?

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