________________ CM . . . . Volume xxi Number 15 . . . . December 12, 2014


Twist of the Blade. (The Shards of Excalibur, Book 2).

Edward Willett.
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 2014.
216 pp., trade pbk., pdf, epub & mobi, $14.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-55050-599-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55050-600-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-55050-807-9 (html), ISBN 978-1-55050-808-6 (mobi).

Grades 6-11 / Ages 11-16.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4


But before she could make her own escape, Mrs.Muirhead’s gentle voice stopped her. “Ariane, is there something wrong? Something I can help with?”

Ariane stopped, staring longingly at the open door. Well, she imagined herself saying, It’s like this: I’m the heir of the Lady of the Lake. I can dissolve into fresh water and magically transport myself through rivers and lakes. A shard of King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, is strapped to my right side now. I and that funny redheaded kid, Wally Knight, brought it back from Yellowknife just a couple of weeks ago. We’re in a life-and-death struggle with Merlin, aka Rex Major, the fabulously powerful and wealthy computer magnate, to recover the other four shards, and he’s sent a demon to haunt my dreams. Do you think you could help me with an exorcism?

But of course, all she actually said, as she turned her back on freedom to face Mrs. Muirhead, was, “I’m all right. I’m just not sleeping well.”

“Problems at home?” Mrs. Muirhead said sympathetically. “Have you thought about seeing Mr. Yasinowski?”


Twist of the Blade, the sequel to Song of the Sword and the second book in the “Shards of Excalibur” fantasy series, follows the continuing adventures of Ariane and Wally as they try to foil Merlin’s plans. Arthurian legends and characters run through today’s world. Told over the course of 13 chapters and 216 pages, this volume forms part of a planned five book series.

     It opens with problems at school and takes the adventurous pair on a journey to Europe to try and recover the second shard. Ariene makes use of magic to get to France while Wally has to travel by plane. Of course, the devious Rex Major (Merlin) is hot on their heels, sewing discord and doubt between our two heroes. Ariane has a connection with the Lady of The Lake and her water magic. Readers learn that Wally may have a link to King Arthur, himself.

     The story explores problems at school and bullying, as well as what happens when the magic of the broken sword threatens to overpower Ariane’s will. Temptation is placed in their way by Rex Major and his plans for world domination.

     Well-written, and fast-moving, Twist of the Blade will appeal to young readers as well as those adults who might enjoy a modern take on the story of King Arthur. Merlin and his plans are suitably described in shades of grey, and the book ends with Wally and Ariane separated and with some doubts about the paths each has taken.


Ronald Hore, involved with writers groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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