Right. *Takes deep breath*
Lucan is from Earth in the future, when everyone is sterile, and he discovers that the only hope for mankind is to find the Holy Grail which can cure anything and is kept on the moon Avalon. So Lucan travels bajillions of light-years only to find that the Grail is hidden inside a phallic monolith guarded by an impenetrable force field-y shield thing. The government-sponsored Avalon Project is trying to penetrate the shield and get to the Grail in the hopes that it will solve their own medical problems, and for the past five years Lucan has been working with them.
Anyway, Cael is the High Priestess of Avalon, which entails going around blessing babies, healing people, and being lonely all the time. She’s part of the Project as well and has admired Lucan from afar since she can’t touch anyone (except to bless babies). But one day, just as the team discovers a way to fell the shield and uncover the monolith, their lab gets attacked by the bad guys who want the Grail, and only Lucan and Cael escape thanks to her secret nature as a dragon shapeshifter.
There’s more, but I won’t summarize further because the plot is an extreme combination of ant-colony busy and stultifying boredom. As this is the first book in a series, Ms. Kearney has a lot of world-building to do, and she wisely eschews the long-ass expositional paragraphs to which many authors would be inclined. But after a cracking good beginning, the story descends into a massive attack of disparate material enough for four seasons of Firefly that just never stopped, and by the time I got to the really rushed and random ending, I just didn’t care.
It also doesn’t help me that a) the story is science fiction, which I can rarely read without rolling my eyes; and that b) the entire story is based on King Arthur and the Holy Grail. Frankly, the closest I get to appreciation of the latter is Monty Python and I find it very hard to take the legend seriously, much less any book that takes it reeeaaallly seriously. But Ms. Kearney’s Pendragon world is absolutely chock-a-bock with Merlin the owl and Gawaine and the Lady of the Lake, and holy cow it bores me to tears.
Thing is though, I could brush aside the laser guns and the whole Avalon thing if the characters and prose compensated accordingly. And they emphatically do not. Ms. Kearney’s writing is grammatically correct and absolutely lifeless, with the exception of a really good first chapter (ye gods, what a waste). As for the characters, Cael is a boring perfect virgin who falls for Lucan, an equally dull ex-rake, and I have no idea what connects them besides lots of ill-timed sex that magically becomes love at some point. The secondary characters barely register except for a hospitalized nephew, who deserves a dishonorable mention as more sickly-sweet than sick. And there is not an ounce of depth to any of them.
Judging by the excerpt at the back the next book might feature more interesting characters than Lucan. Maybe by the time Rion comes out, I’ll have gotten over the laser beams and the Round Table, enough to read the next installment in the Pendragon Legacy.