REVIEW: The Return of the Knights by Gregory Kontaxis

Last Updated on February 12, 2024

The Return of the Knights is the debut novel by Greek fantasy author Gregory Kontaxis and the first volume of his series, The Dance of Light. Originally published in Greek, The Return of the Knights has been translated into English by Sophia Travlos.

The Return of the KnightsGregory Kontaxis embraces the classic chosen one trope with Elliot, the main protagonist of the story. A village boy who exhibits unusual talents both on the battlefield and in politics, Elliot comes from a humble background but is full of hubris. Overconfident and brash, everything comes a bit too easily for Elliot. I know this is a well-worn fantasy trope, but personally I found Elliot to be overly grating. Grimdark aficionado that I am, I often found myself rooting for the villain just to see Elliot knocked down to size.

Speaking of villains, The Return of the Knights features an archetypal bloodthirsty, power-hungry antagonist in Walter Thorn, a local governor who wages war against the Queen of Knightdorn. Although I cannot quite accept a villain with such an innocuous name as Walter, his violent actions speak clearly for themselves. My favorite parts of The Return of the Knights were whenever Walter walked onto the page with his over-the-top villainy.

The worldbuilding in The Return of the Knights is excellent in terms of its epic scope and complexity. There is a clear influence from A Game of Thrones in the breadth of Kontaxis’s world. If Kontaxis can also match George R.R. Martin’s depth of worldbuilding in future installments of his series, then I could see a loyal fanbase emerging for the land of Knightdorn.

Although my own knowledge of the Greek language is restricted to its use in mathematics, the translation by Sophia Travlos seems quite proficient. The prose flows smoothly throughout the book, with only a few awkward word choices. My only complaint about the writing style is its overreliance on dialogue. I would have preferred a greater emphasis on showing rather than telling the reader.

The Return of the Knights embraces classic epic fantasy and many of its well-worn tropes while also delivering a story full of political intrigue and action. Although many aspects of the book follow standard constructs, Gregory Kontaxis serves up a few shocking twists near the end of the book.

Overall, The Return of the Knights is recommended for epic fantasy fans wishing to quench their thirst for all the classic tropes. Gregory Kontaxis clearly has a lot of talent, and I look forward to reading more from this up-and-coming author.

3/5

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John Mauro

John Mauro

John Mauro lives in a world of glass amongst the hills of central Pennsylvania. When not indulging in his passion for literature or enjoying time with family, John is training the next generation of materials scientists at Penn State University, where he teaches glass science and materials kinetics. John also loves cooking international cuisine and kayaking the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.