Excerpt: THE CLEAVING by Juliet McKenna (Angry Robot Books)

McKennaJ-CleavingIn Juliet McKenna‘s latest fantasy novel, the author re-imagines the Arthurian legend, focusing on the perspectives of four key women: Ygraine, Nimue, Morgana and Guinevere. To mark the upcoming release, Angry Robot Books have provided CR with the following excerpt from The Cleaving. First, though, check out the synopsis:

Four women, four destinies – the future of King Arthur’s court…

The Cleaving is an Arthurian retelling that follows the tangled stories of four women: Nimue, Ygraine, Morgana, and Guinevere, as they fight to control their own destinies amid the wars and rivalries that will determine the destiny of Britain.

The legendary epics of King Arthur and Camelot don’t tell the whole story. Chroniclers say Arthur’s mother Ygraine married the man that killed her husband. They say that Arthur’s half-sister Morgana turned to dark magic to defy him and Merlin. They say that the enchantress Nimue challenged Merlin and used her magic to outwit him. And that Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere ended in adultery, rebellion and bloodshed. So why did these women chose such dangerous paths?

As warfare and rivalries constantly challenge the king, Arthur and Merlin believe these women are destined to serve Camelot by doing as they are told. But men forget that women talk. Ygraine, Nimue, Morgana and Guinevere become friends and allies while the decisions that shape their lives are taken out of their hands. This is their untold story. Now these women have a voice.

Now, on with the excerpt, which is taken from a little way into the story…

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