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Twist of the Blade: Shards of Excalibur, Book II

by Edward Willett

Regina-based author Edward Willett offers a satisfying second instalment in his Shards of Excalibur series, a modern-day fantasy based on the legend of King Arthur.

Twist of the Blade picks up the story of high-school student Ariane Forsythe, who has inherited the water-controlling powers of the Lady of the Lake. Ariane is determined to locate the second of five pieces of Excalibur, which have been scattered around the world. Aiding in her quest is her loyal, redheaded best friend, Wally Knight, whose full name – Walter Arthur Knight the Third – hints unsubtly at developments to come.

Though Ariane’s magic powers have been bolstered by her discovery, in the previous novel, of the first shard of the sword, she must act quickly to find the next one, which she senses is somewhere in France. Hot on her heels is the rich and powerful Rex Major (a.k.a. Merlin the Wizard), whose own powers have diminished and who will stop at nothing to find the shard first.

Twist of the Blade offers an enticing sense of danger and excitement as Ariane pursues her mission, but the narrative doesn’t shy away from the story’s human elements. As Ariane’s powers grow, Wally worries they are changing her, especially when Ariane’s anger overpowers her, and his sister ends up in the hospital as a result. After Ariane lets Wally down too many times, he no longer knows whom to trust. He wants to do what’s best, but can Ariane even tell what that is anymore? And is Merlin truly the villain the Lady insisted he is?

Following a hectic race to locate the second shard deep in a cavern in Southern France, Wally is no closer to knowing who would be better off with the sword – and the power it bestows. It’s refreshing to read a story in which the heroes and villains are not cut-and-dried, and readers can look forward to three more instalments in this genuinely entertaining myth-based series.