Synopses & Reviews
Alfred Kropp was just trying to survive high school when his guardian uncle gets him roped into a suspicious get-rich-quick scheme that changes his life forever: stealing Excalibur the legendary sword of King Arthur. But after Alfred unwittingly delivers the sword into the hands of a man with enormously evil intentions, he sets off on an unlikely quest to try to right his wrong and save the world from imminent destruction.
This gripping, fast-paced, hilarious novel is both a thrilling adventure story and an engaging account of one boy's coming of age.
"After his single mother dies, the oversized, underachieving, totally endearing narrator, Alfred Kropp, is sent to Tennessee to live with his uncle, a night watchman for a business titan. Uncle Farrell, chronically poor, can't refuse a $1 million offer to retrieve a sword from the executive suite. His 15-year-old nephew, however, has reservations 'I'm not too quick on the uptake... but this whole thing smells fishy to me' until Uncle Farrell threatens to return Alfred to foster care if he refuses to help. The attempt ends disastrously: saber-wielding monks demand the sword, motorcycle thugs fire shotguns as Alfred races across the Interstate, and in Europe, he winds up in battles where heads fly literally. Everyone and everything has a secret identity the monks, the sword, the hero, just to name a few. The high-speed car chases, spectacularly gory deaths and Arthurian echoes seem tailor-made for a Hollywood action flick, but it's Alfred's naivet and basic good nature that make this pageturner stand out in the crowded fantasy adventure genre. Like J.K. Rowling, first-time YA novelist Yancey (Confessions of a Tax Collector, for adults) deftly leavens the heavier plot elements with humor; this story of a 'big-headed loser' is as funny as it is scary. Alfred's adventures are not the only element of this tale that is extraordinary the reluctant hero is, too. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Yancey has hit one out of the park with this original, engaging and sequel-worthy read....The expertly paced plot will keep action-adventure fans entertained, and those interested in all things Camelot will get a kick out of watching this funny, self-deprecating teenager save the world." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Yancey's first novel for YAs is a white-knuckle, page-turning read." Booklist
"True to its action-adventure genre, the story is lighthearted, entertaining, occasionally half-witted, but by and large fun." School Library Journal
"Rick Yancey's first young adult novel owes much to the action movie genre." Children's Literature
"High powered, with plenty of fast action, intrigue, and humor, this novel will particularly appeal to young male readers yearning to be somebody special." VOYA
"Yancey offers an entertaining blend of Arthurian legend and James Bond-style explosive action in his first novel for Young Adults." Buffalo News
"An action-adventure story that is as funny as it is thrilling." Miami Herald
"Inventive and delightfully original, this fast-paced tale plants ancient legend in a modern world filled with speeding Ferraris and knights in business suits. Artemis Fowl fans will eat it up." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"At the center is the funny, self-deprecating, self-doubting and guilt-ridden Alfred....Yancey builds him carefully into an unforgettable character, who, in the end, is far more than anyone imagined." San Diego Union Tribune
Through a series of dangerous and violent misadventures, teenage loser Alfred Kropp rescues King Arthur's legendary sword Excalibur from the forces of evil. Reprint.
About the Author
Rick Yancey is the author several books for adults, including The Highly Effective Detective. He is also a produced playwright and former theater critic. This is his first book for young adults. He lives in Gainesville, Florida with his wife and three sons.