After an unfortunate incident from his past, Sir Humphrey has been demoted from the Round Table to the Table of Less Valued Knights. When a damsel in distress comes running into the hall after all the other knights had left, Sir Humphrey takes on her quest, along with his half-giant squire. Along their meandering journey, they bump into Martha, a queen in disguise who is on the run from her husband and searching for her lost brother, the rightful heir to the throne.
This novel was such a refreshing and outlandish romp in Arthurian England. The Table of Less Valued Knights is filled with gender-bending, campy humour and, given the time period that it’s set in, had some themes that could be considered ahead of its time. I loved that Phillips played with the idea of stereotypical gender roles with jest and wit. The title alone gives a glimpse into the sense of humour that is in this book, playing with the idea of the “lesser known” knights that aren’t at the Round Table.
The style of the novel is certainly reminiscent of some well known movies like Monty Python, Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men In Tights and a perfect read for fans of that type of movie. One of my favourite movies is Men In Tights, but I admittedly haven’t seen many of the Monty Python movies and so while I do appreciate and recognize the silly campiness of it, I think those who enjoy those types of movies will get a lot more out of this book than those who don’t “get” that kind of humour. Although, that being said, when I initially started reading it, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy it but as the story developed into something more intricate and intertwining, it certainly hooked me in. There are some great one-liners and zany scenes by some of the supporting cast that I could picture being made into a film. The Table of Less Valued Knights was an enjoyable, fairly quick read that kept me chuckling throughout the book.