Chevalier & Gawayn: The Ballad of the Dreamer

Phillip Mann



Frank Herbert’s DUNE meets Ian McEwan’s MACHINES LIKE ME

Once upon a time in the future, things are looking grim. Plague stalks the land, people live behind city walls, or underground, or huddle in remote hamlets. No more animals, no more birdlife, no more freedom… never has the divide between rich and poor been so evident, never has the Earth been so despoiled, and never has the need for a hero been stronger.
Enter Chevalier, an unassuming and mild-mannered tax inspector by day but a secret law-breaker and risk-taker by night who decides to experiment with a new virtual reality headset – CIRCE. And before he knows it, our hero finds he can dip in and out of a world long ago and far away where his deepest hopes and fears are met, where there’s magic in the air, and where his spirit and bravery can emerge.
Helped (and hindered) by a collection of heroes, heroines, gods, goddesses and raving beauties from ages both ancient and modern, our hero gradually takes on the spirit and bravery of the legendary Gawayn. Masks, disguise and identity are key to the journey, and Chevalier discovers he is not alone. A bold and cunning plan is called for… the evolution of Gawayn is essential.
This is a fable for our times. Serious, whimsical, funny, powerful and sexy, Chevalier & Gawayn is a thrilling mix of adventure and adversity and the need to heed the past. It is also a warning of the dangers facing society, but most of all, it is a celebration of our power to face and overcome them.

Additional information

Weight 0.9 kg
Dimensions 15.3 × 34 × 23.4 cm

About the Author

Phillip Mann is a leading internationally acclaimed and published science fiction writer. He is also a theatre director and academic, founding New Zealand’s first university drama studies course at Victoria University in 1970.
Since 1982 he has published ten novels and has also written for theatre and radio. Phillip received the Sir Julius Vogel Award for services to science fiction in 2010 and his The Disestablishment of Paradise was shortlisted for the prestidgious Arthur C. Clark Award.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Authors and Patron of the Phoenix Science Fiction Society, and in 2017 was awarded an MNZM for services to theatre and literature.
Phillip Mann’s Science Fiction titles, all published by Gollancz (UK) and others as noted below, include:
• The Eye of the Queen, Gollancz 1982 (also Grafton 1988; de Noel 1984, L’Oeil de la Reine: Grandiva in Portuguese O Olho da Ramanha 1984; Heyne in German Das Auge der Konigen)
• Master of Paxwax, Gollancz 1986 (also Grafton 1988; Sargasso 2014; Le Maitre de Paxwax, 1987, in French De Noel; Adapted and read for radio Dick Weir RNZ).
• The Fall of the Families, Gollancz 1987 (also Grafton 1988; Sargassp 2014; La Chute des Familles, in French de Noel 1987; Der Herr von Paxwax, in German Heyne 1988; Adapted and read for radio Dick Weir RNZ).
• Pioneers, Gollancz, 1988 (also Grafton 1990; Sargasso 2014; Pionieri in Italian, Urania 1989)
• Wulfsyarn: A Mosaic, Gollancz, 1990 (also Heyne in German, 1992; Avon Books US, 1992; Dramatised for RNZ)
• Land Fit for Heroes:
1. Escape to the Wild Woods, 1993
2. Stand Alone Stan, 1994
3. The Dragon Wakes, 1995 (later included in The Burning
4. The Burning Forest, 1996, Gollancz
• The Disestablishment of Paradise, Gollancz, 2013

Awards and Prizes:
The Disestablishment of Paradise
• Finalist 2014 Arthur C Clark Award
• Finalist 2014 John W Campbell Award
• Longlisted 2014 Dublin Literary Award
Honorary Literary Fellow, NZ Society of Authors, Waitangi Day Literary Awards, 2015
Sir Julius Vogel Award, 2010
MNZM for services to literature and drama, 2017


ISBN: 9781991103086

Pages: 472

Dimensions: 234 x 153mm

Format: Limp bound

Author: Phillip Mann

Published: August 2022

Look Inside


“Since The Eye of the Queen, in 1982, Phillip Mann has gathered an international reputation as a master of ‘speculative fiction’, and the creator of ‘credible aliens’. Yet as the author puts it, ‘I think of my books as being about us, no matter how outlandish the scenario.’
In this, his eleventh published novel, he extends his range even further, as his narrative shuttles between the knights of King Arthur, figures from Greek mythology, and an imaginatively vivid dystopia challenged by much the same disasters as our own world now faces. And what so enlivens this intricate web of stories leading off to further stories, is Mann’s brilliant decision to have those who live in his overlapping worlds speak with the verve and colloquialism of our own everyday lives. Chevalier & Gawayn gives us, yet again, what we read his novels for – its imaginative reach, its moral intensity, its linguistic brio.”
– Vincent O’Sullivan

“A masterful book from a master storyteller. Philip Mann creates a fully-realised world, alive with fascinating characters, vivid descriptions, historical and mythological allusions, and universal truths that touch the heart of what it is to be human.”
– Mandy Hager

…Chevalier & Gawayn fulfils all the requirements a reader of speculative fantasy could hope for.
– Dr Nicholas Reid, LANDFALL