Book 5 less than a week away!

Greetings readers! Well, the final manuscript has been delivered and we are less than a week away from the release of the 5thnovel in the Swithen series! That’s right, the series that is telling the actual Medieval Arthurian legend (no giant elephants!) and is taking twenty-five whole novels to do it. Now, you ask as you fold your arms and squint skeptically out of the side of your eye, why should you care about this particular book?

Arthur goes from boy to king. When we left our future King Arthur, he was a very naïve 14-year-old boy from the country. By the end of this novel, we have to believe that he is ready to step into the role of king, lead armies, and everything like that. This was quite a challenge for me as a writer, but I have to say I am quite confident that by the end of this book we will believe that Arthur has taken his first steps toward becoming the king we know and love.

Merlin gets an (ideological) whupping. Readers of my series notice right away that my Merlin is far from perfect and is still learning. There have been hints in the first four novels that Merlin has been missing one key little insight, and in this book, he finds out what that is, and it’s going to change his worldview forever. 

The Lady of the Lake takes the stage. Said whupping comes courtesy of Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, who has also appeared in little cameos through the four preceding books. Here she has a major role, gets a lot of great lines and is just generally awesome.

Morgan Le Fay begins her reign of evil. We know Merlin ruined Morgan’s life to create Arthur. Well, in the meantime she’s become a powerful sorceress, and in this book she finds out who that little boy her mother was tricked into bearing (hint: it’s Arthur) and she sets a plot in motion to bring that sucker down.

Knights, knights, and sword fights. Books 4 and 5 are 95% original and made up by me, since there is no material in the legend about this period. In Book 6 we’ll swing back to the legend, so I wanted to take the opportunity here to explore the role of the knights, their mind-set and the values that they uphold. There is also more action in this book than any so far (but not as much as will be in Book 6!) with a few sword fights, sieges, kidnappings, etc.

Awesome knight Ulfius! If you’ve read this series, you’re familiar with Ulfius, kick-ass knight and all-round awesome (if somewhat evil) dude. He was best friend to Uther, Arthur’s father, and in this book he becomes a mentor and friend to Arthur, as well as getting a lot of focus and great lines. 

World-building gone wild! We get one whole section in the city of Logres (aka London), then Caerleon’s famous Roman fortress, and finally the action shifts to Gaul (aka France). Along the way the stories of a lot of characters who will have major roles in the Arthurian legend to come begin to intertwine here.

That is just a hint of the splendiferous elements one can look forward to in The Swithen Book 5: Wonderly Wroth, and guess what? The ebook is only $1 if you order before it is released on Saturday Jan. 15. Shocking? Unbelievable? Yes, I know, but true all the same. I hope you like it.

Merlin Character Analysis

Greetings fine folks… I just put up a character analysis of Merlin on the website, and you should go read it right now if you want to stay up to date on the blistering, change-on-a-dime world of Medieval literature interpretation. It’s a harsh realm!

Basically I thought an interesting thing to do would be to devote a page to each character in the Arthurian legend and in my series of novels, taking a deep dive into who they are. It turned out to settle into a form; discussing who this character is and how they are portrayed in the Middle English source literature, then how I took that—since my series is committed to staying true to the pre-1485 legend of King Arthur—and interpreted it the way I did in the novels.

And who better to start with than Merlin? The main source I use, from around the year 1215, has Merlin do and say a lot of things without ever explaining what he’s thinking or what he means. This, then, offers me an open canvas to interpret what he might mean and how it might affect the other characters—and that’s a lot of what we discuss in the piece. Why the Merlin of my novels is the way he is.

Most readers of my series notice right away that my Merlin is not the kindly old warm and wonderful wizard we’re used to, and is kind of a ruthless bastard. They also notice that he is far from perfect, and still learning as he fumbles his way… changing the course of Britain in the process! All of this is discussed.

So get on over there and dig into the Merlin analyzing action at the Merlin: Character Analysis. 

A boy king? Impossible! Excerpt from Book 5

Greetings folks, I just put up an excerpt from The Swithen Book 5: Wonderly Wroth, which will be released in January. This book covers the period between when Arthur first pulls the sword and when he is finally made king, during which time he is put into training with the knights that served his parents. In this scene, he has to pull the sword for King Lot and the other reigning kings of the day (like the wonderfully-named King with the Hundred Knights) only to find they aren’t too keen on handing control of the country over to a fourteen-year-old boy!

If you’re just coming in, my series The Swithen tells the REAL Arthurian legend from pre-1485 with the rule that I am not allowed to change anything from the story as it appears in the legends.

I’d love to tell you more–but I’m super busy today! Anyway, you take a break and get on over to check out the excerpt from Wonderly Wroth. Thanks and be well!

The Swithen Book 5: Wonderly Wroth ready for pre-order!

Greetings folks! I hope you are well and my, I must say you look smashing today.

I am delighted to announce that the fifth book of my Arthurian series, The Swithen, is finally approaching being finished, and is now available for pre-order! I’m delighted because this one took a bit longer for me, almost two years, and was definitely a challenge to keep focused on during the pandemic. 

If you don’t know, The Swithen is my interpretation of the REAL King Arthur saga (i.e. not the movie version) and the promise of my series is that I cannot change anything from the medieval Arthurian legend as written 1136-1485. I plan twenty-five novels to tell the full Arthurian saga in all the scope and majesty it deserves, and with this novel, we’re one-fifth of the way there! I’m also happy about that… five novels in!

Now, there’s not much in the Middle English sources about this period of Arthur’s life, so, like Book 4, this one is 95% original (but it has to slot seamlessly into the real legend). It was inspired by one paragraph in Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur that says while Arthur was being made to pull the sword again and again—while the rulers of the country made sure there wasn’t anyone older—he was put into training with the knights that served his real father, King Uther Pendragon. The thought of Arthur hanging out with and getting to know the knight characters I love from previous books was just too much to pass up, so I decided that we had to have a novel that fills in this time.

Anyone who’s read my books knows that I love the character of Ulfius, who was Uther’s main knight and best friend. Ulfius had a huge part in Book 3, and we get a lot more Ulfius fun here. Arthur is also being trained by the foremost knight of his biological mother Igraine, that knight being Bretel.

The main thrust of the story is that on the knight Arthur was conceived through magic and trickery (all depicted in Book 3: The Void Place), while Merlin made Uther look like Igraine’s husband, he also made Ulfius look like Bretel. His doing so lost Igraine’s trust in Bretel forever… so when Bretel finds out that it was his good friend Ulfius that was responsible for all this, he becomes murderously furious—or Wonderly Wroth,which is the reason behind the title.

There’s also a big separate thread in which Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, lets Merlin know that he’s not the only supernatural power in the realm. We have some fun deviousness with Morgan Le Fay plotting Arthur’s destruction. And King Lot is not about to let a teenage boy become king—not without a good war (that’ll be Book 6). A number of other familiar Arthurian characters begin to weave their stories, which will play out over the next twenty novels.

Which is also part of the excitement of this book for me… the first three books laid down the stories leading up to Arthur’s birth (events which loom large over his story… the past is very much present in this series). But now Arthur is with us, and the main thrust of the story is underway. From Book 4 onward, we begin constructing a vast interconnected society of characters and their densely-woven storylines, all of which will play out over the course of a massive fantasy saga unlike any other—and guess what? No making it up as we go along. The ending is planned now, all twenty-five books are planned out now. And BTW, this story has endured for almost a thousand years. But it has never been told in such detail and clarity, making the themes and interconnections clear for modern readers.

So if you like, get on over and pre-order The Swithen Book Five: Wonderly Wroth. It’ll be only $0.99 until it is released, at which point it will increase in price. 

Thanks for reading! Now to get started on Book 6…  

Book 5 Preview

Greetings friends. I just finished putting up the final video in my serialized audiobook of The Swithen Book 4: The Flower of Chivalry, and for people who watched it all–or other interested parties–I’ve put up a video talking about where the story is going to go in the next installment, Book 5. And here’s that video, right below.

Book 4 brought our future King Arthur from 2 years old to fourteen, at which point he pulls the sword from the stone. Next in the legend the rulers of the country make him pull the sword again and again while they wait to see if there is someone–anyone–else to take the throne rather than hand it over to a child, and that’s the period in which Book 5 takes place. During that time Arthur is put into knightly training with the knights that served his father, Uther Pendragon, and his mother, Queen Igraine. The book ends with Arthur being coronated as king.

Check out the video for a preview of what’s coming in The Swithen Book 5: