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Knights (1982)

There was an appetite for this sort of book beyond what Larking put out at Abrams. Two years after Giants, Julek Heller released Knights (1982, written by Deirdre Headon).

The book pings back and forth, explaining the real world institution of knighthood and aspects of medieval life while also retelling fantastical tales of famous knights like Arthur, Sigfried and Gawain and such. So a mix of informative and fanciful. You get a pretty full picture of both ends of the knightly spectrum by the end (though maybe a bit more of the romance, honestly). Heller has a real knack for painting knights in a variety of styles. You can see the flavors of the baroque in the cover painting, but then you can also see NC Wyeth, Arthur Rackham or the style of military history painters in other parts of the book — the stories dictate his style. Sometimes it comes from left field, like that awesome blue knight who is totally channeling Jack Kirby.

Aside of some children’s books, I can’t find much else by Heller, which is a bummer. Knights showcases some serious talent and I wish we’d gotten more.

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