Quest with Talking Swords
Sir Eleanor and Sir Odo are back with their respective talking swords. After the death of Sir Halfdan and the appearance of the former king Egda, the kingdom of Tofte is in turmoil. Egda's sister Odelyn is acting as regent for Prince Kendryk, but is going to have her crowned king because he is acting soft in the head, spending his time finger painting. The Regent has sent out unpopular Instruments to announce that the rules are changing, more money must be collected, and their way it the only way, so the knights know they must travel to help Kendryk out. Along with Egda's guard, Hundred, they set off on a perilous journey to Tofte, meeting a variety of threatening and helpful characters along the way. At one point, Biter needs to be repaired, and in the process remembers his former knight, who could be a powerful adversary. When the group finally arrives in Tofte, secrets about the lineage of the kings comes out, unsuspected allies emerge, and a new and surprisingly king is crowned.
For all of its traditional elements, there are some fun twists concerning gender roles. Their are no female equivalents of ruling positions-- everyone, male or female, are kings or Sirs. There is a brief mention that Eleanor and Odo might be romantically linkws, but they are far too busy to think about this too much. Everyone on the quest is brave and powerful, and the only one who really needs to be saved is Kendryk... who has some tricks up his own sleeves.
This has many similarities to Flanagan's The Ranger's Apprentice books, but is slightly younger. The talking swords (whose voice is portrayed in an old Germanic style text) and the bats (whose utterances are punctuated thus: "L!o!o!k! l!e!f!t!") add an element of whimsy that will amuse a younger audience.
While I have been enjoying the fantasy adventure books set in other cultures and dealing with other mythology, there will always be a core group of fantasy aficionados who crave more British style Camelot inspired fantasy where there are swords to be wielded against dragons.