The evergreen legend of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the quest for the Holy Grail gets a futuristic treatment in a zesty new eco-fantasy series conceived by Seattle writer Joe Follansbee.
“The Future History of the Grail” trilogy will be extra fun for Pacific Northwest readers because it is set in Viridiae, a land that resembles our Cascadia, with a mighty River Colum that flows into the Pacific Sea, and port towns with names like Perditon, Grey Harbor and — to the north — Bell’s Ham.
“Fall of the Green Land,” the first book in this series, takes place 1,000 years in the future.
In the prologue, we learn that Warming has returned to the planet. The seasons have become unpredictable and crop failures are becoming more common since the Great Machine stopped working.
From Camelot, the ruling seat of Viridiae, King Arturus sent Merlin and a team of researchers to the mountain home of the Great Machine to diagnose the problem. Within the Machine’s inner chamber, they discover a device that sage-linguists believe may have been called a “Grail” by previous civilizations.
Merlin immerses himself in probing the mysteries of this ancient Grail. The Grail appears to be a functioning relic of a more technologically-advanced civilization that, before “the Dissolution,” dedicated itself to the health of the planet.
Merlin hopes to learn enough to repair the Grail, which would reanimate the Great Machine and in turn might restore more predictability to the climate.
But before the wizard can take conclusive action, a mysterious visitor absconds with the device.
In the years since then, Arturus sent out expeditions to retrieve the Grail but none of these dangerous undertakings succeeded.
This brings us to the beginning of “Fall of the Green Land.” Percival, a young knight of the Round Table and lone survivor of the third failed attempt to find the Grail, is found lost and half-starved on the fringes of Viridiae by Arturus’ favorite paladin, Dame Lancelot du Lac.
Returning to Camelot after nine months away, Percival is shocked to see the condition of the metropolis and his king. With the uncertainty of the times, the populace is becoming unruly. Inside the palace, the atmosphere is tense. Arturus, physically ailing, struggles to keep his kingdom intact despite secret alliances (not least of which is a liaison between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot) and power struggles in play.
To project that he is still in command, Arturus orders up another expedition. He received new intelligence that the Grail may be located far up the north coast on a remote island known as Koda. The quest will be co-led by Lancelot and her son, Galahad.
Follansbee spins an action-packed, richly reimagined tale, replete with trolls, knights, theurgists and scheming royals. All three books in “The Future History of the Grail” series are available now on Kindle — bundling chivalry, intrigue and climate change at a don’t-miss bargain price.