It's 2001. A fire-spitting, man-eating dragon is mysteriously loose in London. The Queen wants to contain the hazard before Christmas. With most of the British defence forces stationed overseas, she has only one traditional line of defence remaining: her trusted Knights. But the current crop of knights are all celebrities, most of them old men who have never boarded a horse in their glamorous lives, let alone charged into a battlefield. But the Queen's appeal finds four volunteers ready and raring to go: Sir Sean Connery, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Sir Elton John. Along with Spielberg, who volunteers to film the whole action, and three squires desperate for knighthood, they prepare to defend England from the claws of the dragon.
As is evident from the above synopsis, Worst Knights Ever is an upcoming comedy novel written by Dane Hanson based on an old sketch developed by Jimmy Paulsen and Dane Hanson. The idea was to develop it into a Hollywood movie where actual celebrities portray satirised, fictional versions of themselves, which was a novel idea back then. It didn't realise Sean Connery refused to participate. Though several alternate versions were planned, none of them worked out. Then Henson decided to release it as a novel. Netgalley and the publisher provided me with an advance reading copy of the novel that is to be published by August's end in exchange for my feedback.
The book is hilariously written and puts forward an irreverent take on British royalty and celebrity culture. It is a bouquet of different kinds of humour hurled incessantly at the reader, in no particular order. You find a long line of black humour, slapstick, puns, potty jokes, and innuendo thrown at you. Fortunately, most of them stick, and that works in favour of the book. When revered figures like the Queen, the Prime Minister, and celebrities possessing a weighty public image like Anthony Hopkins and Sean Connery mouth these jokes and behave in a generally atrocious manner, it makes for entertaining reading.
The best thing about the book is this display of renowned English wit, no holds barred and self-deprecating, in all its glory. It reminds you of Monty Python sketches, but with a little less depth and a lot less polish. The literature has nothing much to write about. It's more like the script of a sketch, with a plot that functions like a bare thread to hang the jokes on. The intention of the book is just to elicit laughs, a bit of shock, and a surface-level look into celebrity culture, which it fabulously manages to attain.