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Morning’s Journey by Kim Iverson Headlee

 

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BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Morning’s Journey
SERIES – The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, book 2
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Myths, Legends, Historical, Spiritual, Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – 2013
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 439 pages/140K words
PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press
COVER ARTIST – Natasha Brown

BOOK SYNOPSIS

In a violent age when enemies besiege Brydein and alliances shift as swiftly as the wind, stand two remarkable leaders: the Caledonian warrior-queen Gyanhumara and her consort, Arthur the Pendragon. Their fiery love is tempered only by their conviction to forge unity between their disparate peoples. Arthur and Gyan must create an impenetrable front to protect Brydein and Caledonia from land-lusting Saxons and the marauding Angli raiders who may be massing forces in the east, near Arthur’s sister and those he has sworn to protect.

But their biggest threat is an enemy within: Urien, Arthur’s rival and the man Gyan was treaty-bound to marry until she broke that promise for Arthur’s love. When Urien becomes chieftain of his clan, his increase in wealth and power is matched only by the magnitude of his hatred of Arthur and Gyan—and his threat to their infant son.

Morning’s Journey, sequel to the critically acclaimed Dawnflight, propels the reader from the heights of triumph to the depths of despair, through the struggles of some of the most fascinating characters in all of Arthurian literature. Those struggles are exacerbated by the characters’ own flawed choices. Gyan and Arthur must learn that while extending forgiveness to others may be difficult, forgiveness of self is the most excruciating—yet ultimately the most healing—step of the entire journey.

Mornings Journey - Book Cover

 

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EXCERPT: Chapter 1

THE CLASH OF arms resounds in the torchlit corridor. Blood oozes where leather has yielded to the bite of steel, yet both sweating, panting warriors refuse to relent.

Her heart thundering, Gyan grips her sword’s hilt, desperate to help the man she loves. Caledonach law forbids it.

Urien makes a low lunge. As Arthur tries to whirl clear, the blade tears a gash in his shield-side thigh. The injured leg collapses, and Arthur drops to one knee. Crowing triumphantly, Urien raises his sword for the deathblow.

Devil take the law!

Gyan springs to block the stroke. Its force jars her arms and twists the hilt in her grasp. She barely holds on through the searing pain.

Urien slips past her guard to slice at her brooch. The gold dragon clatters to the floor. Her cloak slithers to her ankles, fouling her stance. As she tries to kick free, Urien grabs her braid, jerks up her head, and kisses her, hard. Shock loosens her grip. Her sword falls. She thrashes and writhes, but he holds her fast, smirking lewdly.

“You are mine, Pictish whore.”

Urien’s breath reeks of ale and evil promises. She spits in his face. He slaps her. She reels backward, her cheek burning. He grabs her forearms and yanks her close.

“Artyr, help me!”

No response.

Her spirits plummet. Weaponless, she can do nothing—wait. A glint catches her eye.

When Urien kisses her again, she surrenders. He grunts his pleasure, redoubling the force of the kiss. Slowly, she works her hands over his chest until her left hand touches cold bronze on his shoulder. She snatches the brooch and rips it free, hoping to stab him with the pin.

Her elation vanishes with her balance as her tangled cloak thwarts her plans. Face contorted with rage, Urien lunges and catches her wrist. She grits her teeth as his fingers dig in to make her drop the brooch. Pain shoots up her arm. She pushes away. Together, they fall—

***

Gyan gasped and sat bolt upright, pulse hammering. Sweat plastered her hair to her head, which felt like the ball in an all-night game of buill-coise. Bed linens ensnared her legs.

Fingers grazed her shoulder. She recoiled and cocked a fist. Her consort ducked behind his hand. “Easy, Gyan!” She relaxed, and he wrapped his arm about her. “What’s wrong?”

She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. “A dream,” she replied, hoping that for once he’d be satisfied with a vague answer.

“Some dream.”

She sighed. “It was the fight—and yet not the fight.” Gently, she traced the thin red line at the base of his neck where she’d scratched him with Caleberyllus to seal his Oath of Fealty to her and to her clan. But dreams cared naught for oaths. “This time, Urien won.”

Arthur grimaced. “That’s no dream.” He hugged her, and she burrowed into his embrace. “I’d call it a nightmare.”

“Ha.” She bent forward to disengage the linens from her feet. The unyielding fabric ignited her ire. She pounded the straw-stuffed mattress, furious at Urien and even more furious at herself for allowing him to creep into her wedding chamber, if only in spirit. “Why must that cù-puc keep coming between us?” She gazed at the table where Braonshaffir, named for the egg-size sapphire that crowned its hilt, lay sheathed inside its etched bronze scabbard beside Caleberyllus. Indulging in the fantasy of her new sword shearing through Urien’s neck, she bared her teeth in a fierce grin. “Just let him cross me openly, and by the One God, I’ll settle this matter!”

Arthur’s warm sigh ruffled her hair. Together they righted the linens, but when she would have risen, he clasped her hands and regarded her earnestly. “I can’t afford to lose either of you.”

She looked at those hands, young and yet already scarred and callused by years of war: hands that cradled the future of Breatein. “I know.” Briefly, she squeezed his hands, hoping to convey her desire to help him forge unity among his people, the Breatanaich, as well as with Caledonaich, her countrymen.

One legion soldier in five called the northwestern Breatanach territory of Dailriata home, and one in three of those men hailed from Urien’s own Clan Móran. In a duel between Gyan and Urien, Arthur’s Dailriatanach alliance would die regardless of the victor.

If politics ever failed to constrain the Urien of the waking world, however, she couldn’t guarantee that diplomacy would govern her response.

She averted her gaze again to the table where their arms and adornments lay. Their dragon cloak-pins sparked a memory. Something else had been odd about that dream, but its details had receded like the morning tide. She couldn’t decide whether to be troubled or relieved.

Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply, trying to purge Urien map Dumarec from her mind. Moist pressure against her lips announced her consort’s plans. She welcomed his kiss and deepened it. He ran his fingers through her unbraided hair, following the tresses down her neck and over her breasts. Her nipples firmed under his touch. She arched back, and he kissed his way down to one breast, then the other, drawing the nipples forth even farther and awakening the exquisite ache in her banasròn.

The swelling shaft of sunlight heralded a reminder of their duties.

“The cavalry games will be starting soon, mo laochan.” No other man had earned the Caledonaiche endearment from her, and none ever would. Her “little champion” bore her down onto the pillows, and his lips interrupted any other comment she might have made. As they explored the curve of her throat, she whispered, “We must make an appearance.”

“We will, Gyan.” His fingertips teased her banasròn, discovering its damp readiness. “Eventually.”

She stilled his hand. He looked at her, puzzled.

Being àrd-banoigin obligated her to ensure her clan’s future by bearing heirs, but was she ready to abandon the warrior’s path and devote her life to a bairn? She gave a mental shrug. A swift calculation assured her that her courses would return soon, leaving the question to be faced another day. Smiling, she began caressing one of the reasons he’d earned “laochan” as an endearment.

He cupped her face and kissed her, urgency for both of them soaring on the wings of desire. His thigh rubbed hers with slow, firm strokes. Gyanhumara nic Hymar, Chieftainess of Clan Argyll of Caledon, yielded to her consort’s unspoken command. She opened to him, and he plunged her into their sacred realm of mind-blanking bliss.

Whenever Arthur map Uther, Pendragon of Breatein, issued an order, on the battlefield or off, only a fool disobeyed.

BOOK TRAILER (with older cover by Jennifer Doneske)

CHARACTER BIOS

From Legion Headquarters in Caer Lugubalion, Brydein, I send you greetings.

I put pen to parchment in honor of my wife, Gyan—formally, Chieftainess Gyanhumara nic Hymar of Clan Argyll of Caledonia. We have been married a few short months, just since the calends of July, and we met each other for the first time only three months before that. Yet I feel so closely bonded with her in heart, soul, and mind that it seems as if I have known her my entire life.

If you were to ask me what first caught my attention about this remarkable woman, I would have to confess it was her exotic beauty. Her brilliant copper hair, sea-green eyes, berry lips, the wild blue doves winging across her forearm all beckoned to me to learn more about her. Since I knew her to be a warrior—though untried in battle at the time of our meeting—I had expected her to act aloof, cold, haughty, arrogant. From the moment my hand gripped her arm in welcome, I knew she was none of those things.

And I think I knew—on some level, at least, if not overtly—that my heart stood in grave danger of declaring its undying allegiance to her even as I realized that to do while she remained betrothed to Urien might plunge our lands into another war.

Fortunately for both our peoples, Gyan proved herself a canny diplomat and hid her feelings about me until the time was right for both of us to declare our love.

Problems remain, of course. Though together Gyan and I defeated the Scots and bought peace from that quarter for a season, the Saxon and Angli kings remain a looming threat. Urien stands to become chieftain of his clan, and may God deliver us all from that day. And I cannot shake the disturbing thought that, should Gyan and I have children, they might fall victim to treachery from without—or within.

But I also have deep abiding faith in that which makes us strongest: our love for each other, and the love of our God, our families, our clans, and our friends. Against an alliance of that nature no power in heaven or on earth stands a chance.

Arturus Aurelius Vetarus, Dux Britanniarum
Also called by many Arthur the Pendragon

 

Mornings Journey - Author PhotoAUTHOR BIO
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.

 

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Dawnflight by Kim Iverson Headlee

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BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Dawnflight
SERIES – The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, book 1
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Myths, Legends, Historical, Spiritual, Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – 2013
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 415 pages/130K words
PUBLISHER – Lucky Bat Books
COVER ARTIST – Natasha Brown

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Gyan is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien, a son of her clan’s deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon’s conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything…perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding about Urien proves true.

Roman by his father, Brytoni by his mother, and denied hereditary rulership of his mother’s clan because of his mixed blood, Arthur has followed his father’s path to become Dux Britanniarum, the Pendragon: supreme commander of the northern Brytoni army. The Caledonians, Scots, Saxons, and Angles keep him too busy to dwell upon his loneliness…most of the time.

When Gyan and Arthur meet, each recognize within the other their soul’s mate. The treaty has preserved Gyan’s ancient right to marry any man, providing he is a Brytoni nobleman—but Arthur does not qualify. And the ambitious Urien, Arthur’s greatest political rival, shall not be so easily denied. If Gyan and Arthur cannot prevent Urien from plunging the Caledonians and Brytons back into war, their love will be doomed to remain unfulfilled forever.

But there is an even greater threat looming. The Laird of the Scots wants their land and will kill all who stand in his way. Gyan, Arthur, and Urien must unite to defeat this merciless enemy who threatens everyone they hold dear.

Dawn Flight - Book Cover

Arthurian Romances’ Review
Kim Iverson Headlee is one of the best contemporary Arthurian novelists, case in point, her Dragon’s Dove Chronicle series. Book One Dawnflight, takes the Arthurian legends into another realm. It’s a contemporary take on the legends leading with Gyan (chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader, better known in traditional Arthurian legends as Guinevere) Arthur and Gyan are star crossed lovers battling not only falling in love but a common enemy. For us lovers of Arthurian Romances, this novel is intriguing with it’s twists and turns and I promise you’ll be picking up the sequel Morning’s Journey as soon as you finish book one of this series!

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EXCERPT: Chapter 1

THE COMBATANTS CIRCLED warily in the churned mud of the practice field, blind to the swelling audience and the chilling autumn rain. One, a giant of a figure, was the teacher. The student was neither as tall nor as well muscled but moved with the speed and agility of youth. The mud splattered on both bodies was mute evidence of the length of the session.

“Keep up your intensity!” Ogryvan swiped at his opponent’s midsection. “Always! Lose your battle frenzy, and you’re dead!”

Neither was fighting in true battle frenzy, but the younger warrior understood. Smiling grimly through the rivulets of sweat, the student danced out of reach, whirled, and made a cut at Ogryvan’s thigh. The blunted practice sword could not penetrate the leather leggings but was sure to leave a bruise precisely over the wound he had taken at Abar-Gleann two months before.

Although the swordmaster gritted his teeth against the pain, his opponent sensed satisfaction in the accompanying nod. The reason for the sign of approval was clear: the student had made an excellent choice of moves. Exploitation of the enemy’s weaknesses was a basic tenet of the warrior’s art. Mastery of this principle would serve Ogryvan’s pupil well in the years to come.

“Strive to outthink your foe. Stay one move ahead,” he advised between feints. The clatter adopted a dancelike rhythm as the opposing blade deftly met each thrust. The onlookers shouted their approval.

The youth answered with a powerful counterattack, silent but for the creak of leather and the hollow thunks as sword met shield. The swordmaster staggered backward. His disciple quickened the attack.

And grew careless. The shield sagged. Ogryvan landed a blow to the unguarded left shoulder. Startled, the youth lost footing in the treacherous mud and fell.

The laughter sparked by the mishap, from teacher and audience alike, was not unkind, yet it did not comfort the mud-painted student.

The Chieftainess of Clan Argyll hated to lose.

The reason rankled like that awful brew Cynda called spring tonic: she’d not done her best. She didn’t need her father to tell her that carelessness had caused the loss.

In battle, such a mistake was fatal.

She began to pick herself up, seething, only to be unceremoniously shoved face-first into the mud. Before she could twitch, her father’s foot pinned her down. His sword at the base of her neck chilled her to the core of her being. It was too easy to imagine what might happen next.

Ogryvan whispered, “Pay attention, Gyan. This is my favorite part.” His rumbling voice poised on the brink of a chuckle. “All hear and beware! The Ogre takes no prisoners!”

Had this been actual combat, her head would have become the newest addition to Ogryvan’s private collection. Such was the Caledonach way. Not only was the foe defeated in death, but to the victor went possession of the soul. Well honored was the warrior who boasted the largest array.

Long years of training had hardened Gyan to this aspect of warfare, yet the prospect of someday ending up on display in an enemy’s feast hall was grisly at best.

By the shifting of his foot on her back, she knew her father was posturing for the crowd. They rewarded his performance with gleeful claps and shouts. The official practice session was over, of course. But she wasn’t quite finished.

Her sword hilt nestled in the palm of her outflung hand. She carefully tightened her grip. In a burst of movement, she writhed and scissored with her legs, twisted free, rolled to her feet, and brought the sword up in both hands. Ogryvan toppled into the mud. The resounding wet thud of his landing was chorused by the guffaws of the audience.

She grinned, holding the point of her sword to his throat. “Neither does the Ogre’s daughter!”

No nectar was as sweet as the joy of winning, and winning before an audience of her clansmen tasted even sweeter. One day, she would lead them into battle; events like today’s added another brick onto the foundation of trust. Their heartfelt adoration warmed her like the summer sun.

She sheathed the sword and offered a hand to her father. “Even?” Her voice was huskier than usual from the exertion of the morning.

Ogryvan took the proffered hand to regain his footing. “Even.”

The crowd drifted back to their various duties around the settlement, but one man remained at the edge of the field. She strode toward him, swatting mud from her thighs and chest.

“Well, Per, how did I look?”

“Like the fen-spirits Cynda used to try to frighten us with.” Her half brother reached for a glob of mud lodged in her braid.

“Ha!” She playfully slapped his hand away. “You know what I mean.”

Per beamed at her. “You did well. I don’t think I could have fooled Father like that. Or held him off for so long.”

She didn’t believe him for an instant. They had sparred with each other often enough to know who was the better swordsman, but she rewarded his flattery with a brilliant smile and a challenge: “Race you to the house!”

She launched herself down the path, bruises forgotten in the autumn mist.

BOOK TRAILER (with older cover by Joe Calkins)

 

AUDIOBOOK VIDEO TEASER (Prologue)

CHARACTER BIOS

I am Gyanhumara nic Hymar, daughter of Hymar and her consort, Ogryvan. My mother, whose name means “song,” named me her “rarest song,” for I was fated before birth to be the only daughter she would ever bear. Those who do not ken the Caledonach tongue call me by many other names: Vennevria … Guanhumara … Ganora … Gwenhwyfar … Guenevara … Guinevere. I am none of those women.

I am Gyanhumara.

The banner under which I fight is not my own but my clan’s: Na Calamaig h’Argaillanaich, which is called in your tongue the Doves of Argyll. Our storytellers tell us of Clan Argyll’s first exalted heir-bearer, who lived countless generations ago. Argaillean was fierce and strong and true to her name, which means “our tempest.” For her valiant battle against those first despised Ròmanach invaders, she chose the doves, for they are the fastest of birds and the strongest for their size. Argaillean and her army had to be fast and strong to defeat the Ròmanaich. She chose two doves to show unity between her and her consort, between her and her clan, and between her clan and Caledon. The silver on the banner represents the natural coloring of doves, but Argaillean also chose it in defiance of the Ròmanaich, who prize silver for their finest armor and adornments. The midnight blue field against which the Doves of Argyll fly represents the vast eternal realm of the Old Ones… or Heaven, as I have learned to call it.

I also proudly fight under the Scarlet Dragon of Arthur the Pendragon, but I shall defer to him for the explanation of its meaning, if he so chooses to share it with you.

Dawn Flight - Author Photo

AUTHOR BIO

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.

YouTube video interview: http://youtu.be/DV5iKrEIROk

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Arthurian Timeline Part 3~ 1533-2005

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Arthurian Timeline, Part 3

c.1533-39 – “Itinerary,” the modern title given to the collection of notes made by John Leland, Henry VIII’s court antiquary, during his extensive travels for the purpose of documenting the historical treasures of England. There are several items of Arthurian significance: in his notes on the county of Somerset, Leland relates a tradition equating the ancient hillfort, Cadbury Castle, with King Arthur’s Camelot; also in Somerset, Leland tells us that “a bridge of four stone arches which is known as Pomparles (over the River Brue near Glastonbury) is the place where, “according to legend, that King Arthur cast his sword into it;” in his Cornwall notes, Leland discusses a river in the Camelford area. He says, “in some histories it is called Cablan. It was beside this river that Arthur fought his last battle (Camlann), and evidence of this, in the form of bones and harness, is uncovered when the site is ploughed.”
1534 – Polydore Vergil completes “Anglica Historia” in which he is critical of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s history, in general, and his portrayal of Arthur, in particular. He even goes so far as to question Arthur’s existence.

1539 – Dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey, after which Arthur’s burial cross is said to have lain in the “Reverstry” of St. John Baptist, Glastonbury (according to a late 17th century document, Bodleian Rawlinson B.416A, folio 10v) for approximately a hundred years.

1544 – Leland publishes “Assertio Inclytissimi Arturii” (Assertions of the Renowned Arthur), a compilation of most of the archaeological and literary evidence for King Arthur, as it was known in Tudor England. Here, Leland notes the inscription on the burial cross, allegedly belonging to King Arthur’s grave, found at Glastonbury. The editor of the “Assertio” commented that “his disquisition upon Arthur is more notable for heat than light.”

1599 – Edmund Spenser dies leaving his Arthurian poem, “The Faerie Queene,” unfinished. In it Arthur portrays “magnanimity,” to Spenser’s mind, the leading virtue.

1607 – Publication of William Camden’s “Britannia,” including illustrations of King Arthur’s Burial Cross.
c.1650 – Puritans chop down original Glastonbury Thorn on Wearyall Hill, said to have grown from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, which, legend says, he planted upon his arrival there in AD 63.
1691 – “King Arthur,” an opera written by John Dryden with music by Henry Purcell, told the tale of Arthur’s battles with the (fictitious) Saxon leader, Oswald.
1695, 1697 – Richard Blackmore writes “Prince Arthur” and “King Arthur,” two transparently allegorical verse epics incorporating Christian moral themes. In the poems, Arthur is William III; his antagonist, Octa, is James II, and so on.
c.1700-20 – The burial cross of King Arthur vanishes from history in the early 18th century. It was last known to be in the possession of one William Hughes, Chancellor of the cathedral of Wells.
1808 – In the preface to William Blake’s “Milton,” the poet writes:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariots of fire!

I will not cease from mental flight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

It is believed that Blake’s words hark back to old tradtions which said that Joseph of Arimathea brought the boy, Jesus, to England in the time, unaccounted for in the Bible, between his 12th and 30th years of age.
These words were later made famous in a hymn entitled, “Jerusalem.” The words were set to music in 1916, by the English composer Hubert Hastings Parry, and later orchestrated by Sir Edward Elgar in 1922. “Jerusalem” was first performed at a Votes for Women concert in 1916.
1809 – Sir Walter Scott anonymously publishes “The Bridal of Triermain,” a curious blending of Arthurian legend and the Sleeping Beauty story.
1822 – William Wordsworth writes “The Egyptian Maid,” a poem featuring Merlin and the Lady of the Lake.
1840 – Arthurian poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Merlin I” and ” Merlin II”.
c.1850-c.1900 – Gothic Revival inspired many poetic and literary works based on Arthur and Arthurian themes and embodying Victorian moral attitudes and neo-chivalric enthusiasms. Some of the many artists and their works are listed below:

Matthew Arnold: “Tristram and Iseult”
Gustave Dore: French illustrator, produced a collection of thirty-six drawings to illustrate an edition of Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King.”

William Morris: “The Defense of Guinevere,” “King Arthur’s Tomb,” “Sir Galahad, A Christmas Mystery,” ” The Chapel in Lyonesse,” “Near Avalon”

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: ” God’s Graal,” an unfinished poem: “King Arthur’s Tomb,” “Lancelot’s Vision of the Sangreal,” “Sir Tristram and La Belle Yseult Drink the Love Potion,” paintings in the pre-Raphaelite style.

Algernon Charles Swinburne: “Queen Yseult,” “Joyeuse Garde,” “Tristram of Lyonesse,” “The Tale of Balen,” “The Day Before the Trial,” “Lancelot.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson: “The Lady of Shalott,” “Sir Galahad,” “Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere: A Fragment,” “Morte d’Arthur,” “The Idylls of the King,” a cycle of Arthurian poems.

1859 – Richard Wagner completes the opera, “Tristan und Isolde.”
1882 – Wagner’s opera, “Parsifal,” is performed.
1889 – Mark Twain publishes “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”
1893-4 – Aubrey Beardsley contributes over 400 black and white drawings to illustrate John M. Dent’s edition of Malory’s Morte d’ Arthur.
1903-10 – Howard Pyle illustrates “The Story of King Arthur and His Knights” and other similar stories.
1917 – N.C.Wyeth, star student of Howard Pyle, illustrates “The Boy’s King Arthur,” an abridgement of Malory.
1923 – Thomas Hardy writes “The Queen of Cornwall,” a one-act play based on the Tristan and Isolde story.
1930-44 – Charles Williams produces most important modern reinterpretations of Arthurian mythology in “War in Heaven” (1930), “Taliessin Through Logres” (1938), and “The Region of the Summer Stars” (1944). The three works cover the entire breadth of the traditional Arthurian story, making them into a moral epic of cosmic proportions. Williams deemphasizes the Guinevere-Lancelot affair, and instead focuses on the mystical aspects of the grail quest, comparing it to human spiritual development.
1945 – C.S. Lewis concludes his Space Trilogy with “That Hideous Strength,” a tale replete with Arthurian motifs and “grail” characters.
1952 – Lewis publishes “Arthurian Torso,” a “double” volume containing his friend, Charles Williams’, previously unpublished “Figure of Arthur” and Lewis’ commentary, “Williams and the Arthuriad.”
1953 – T.H.White completes the “Once and Future King.”
1960 – “Camelot,” a Lerner and Lowe musical stageplay based on T.H. White’s “Once and Future King,” is performed on Broadway, starring Richard Burton as King Arthur and Robert Goulet as Lancelot. A Film version, starring Richard Harris as Arthur and Franco Nero as Lancelot, appeared in 1967. Camelot was brought back on stage, this time starring Goulet as Arthur, in a Summer Stock tour of 1996.
1962 – “Castle Dor,” an updated version (19th century) of the Tristan and Isolde story originally begun by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863-1944), was completed from his notes by Daphne du Maurier.
1963 – “Sword at Sunset” by Rosemary Sutcliff, a realistic telling of the Arthurian story from his own viewpoint.
1975 – “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” jokingly said by Geoffrey Ashe to be the most realistic of all celluloid Arthurian depictions, stars Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
1977 – “The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights,” John Steinbeck’s attempt at a modernization of Malory, is published posthumously.
1978 – Mary Stewart completes her trilogy of novels focusing on Merlin, “The Crystal Cave” (1970), “The Hollow Hills” (1973) and “The Last Enchantment” (1978).
1981 – “Excalibur,” an excellent adaptation of Malory by John Boorman, stars Nicol Williamson as Merlin.
1982 – “The Mists of Avalon,” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, adds a new wrinkle to the Arthurian story, by telling it from the point of view of the women involved in the tale: Igraine, wife of Gorlois; Morgaine, the daughter of Igraine and Gorlois; Morgause, Igraine’s younger sister; Viviane, the Lady of the Lake and Gwenhwyfar, Arthur’s Queen.
1995 – “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court,” a Disney film recalling Mark Twain’s story of a modern who is transported back in time to the days of King Arthur.
1995 – “First Knight,” a slick Hollywood production starring Sean Connery as Arthur and Richard Gere as Lancelot.
1998 – “Merlin,” a TV mini-series produced by Robert Halmi, starring Sam Neill in the title role; loosely following Geoffrey of Monmouth in some parts and in others, purely original. Nice scenery, interesting characterization of Merlin, great special effects, but a bit too Hollywood.

“Arthurian” Inscription Found at Tintagel – On 6th August 1998, English Heritage revealed that during the last week of digging on the Eastern terraces of Tintagel Island, a broken piece of Cornish slate (8″ by 14″) was discovered bearing the name “Artognov”. It was excavated on July 4th, by Kevin Brady, an archaeologist working with a team from Glasgow University (Scotland). “As the stone came out, when I saw the letters A-R-T, I thought uh-oh…”

The stone apparently bears two inscriptions. The upper strongly incized letters have been broken off and are sadly indecipherable. The lower inscription, though fainter, clearly reads “Pater Coliavificit Artognov”, which Professor Charles Thomas of Exeter University has carefully translated as “Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had this built”. Possibly written by a Gaulish hand, the style of writing is certainly 6th century, a date confirmed by surrounding fragments of 6th century Mediterranean pottery already well known from the Tintagel site. Also found nearby was the remains of the only Spanish glass flagon known from this period of Britain’s history. Chris Morris, who has been leading the Scottish based excavation team for the past eight years, believes that the dedicatory “Arthur Stone,” as it has already been christened, was placed in the wall of a 6th century stone building which later collapsed soon after it was built. The slate was then reused as drain cover a century later.

Though “Artognou” (pronounced arth-new) proves that names similar to that of the great King existed in the, so called, Arthurian period, Chris Morris is sceptical about making too much of the obvious link with King Arthur’s traditional birthplace. He believes the stone’s importance lies in the fact that it is “the first evidence we have that the skills of reading and writing were handed down in a non-religious context”. However, Dr Geoffrey Wainwright, chief archaeologist at the, normally cautious, English Heritage declared the newly discovered link should not be dismissed. “Tintagel has presented us with evidence of a Prince of Cornwall, in the Dark Ages, living in a high-status domestic settlement at the time Arthur lived. It has given us the name of a person, Arthnou. Arthnou was here, that is his name on a piece of stone. It is a massive coincidence at the very least. This is where myth meets history. It’s the find of a lifetime.”

Adrian Gilbert publicises the work of Blackett & Wilson by publishing his ‘the Holy Kingdom’.

2000 – Publication of ‘The Keys to Avalon’ in which Blake & Lloyd attempt to relocate all Arthurian locations in Wales.

2001 – “The Mists of Avalon,” a TV mini-series based on the 1982 book by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Beautiful photography and evocative music highlight this Turner Network Television (TNT) production featuring Oscar winner Anjelica Huston, Emmy winner Julianna Margulies and two-time Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Joan Allen. According to press materials, the series “delves into the romance, bravery and deceit linking the characters of Arthur’s Kingdom and exalts the powerful women behind the throne of King Arthur,” but in actuality it merely pretends to significance and provides no analysis or insight, at all. In one of the great casting mistakes of all time (rivaling the decision to allow Kevin Costner to play Robin Hood), Arthur is portrayed as a weak, sniveling little wimp (or, perhaps, the decision was intentional given the obvious gender orientation of the program). Much emphasis seems to be placed on promoting goddess worship and in a telling scene at the end of the film, a statue of the Virgin Mary is said to be nothing more than a christianized version of the old goddess.

Establishment of the ‘Centre for Arthurian Studies’ at the North-East Wales Institute for Higher Education in Wrexham, co-founded by Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd, co-authors of “The Keys of Avalon” (2000) which claims to reveal the “true location of Arthur’s kingdom.”

2003 – “The Mystery of King Arthur, Vol. 1” is released. A Mick Fowler Productions/British History Club History Club enterprise, this series of DVD’s explores Arthurian history and legend as has never been done before on-screen.

2004 – “King Arthur,” a Jerry Bruckheimer film, is released with much fanfare and high expectations. The film, while likable enough as pure entertainment, takes impermissible liberties with history and legend (which is really what the film was supposed to be about). Case in point are Arthur’s horse soldiers. Historically, these were troops conscripted out of eastern Europe (Sarmatia) by the Romans and sent to remotest Britain to shore up the island’s defenses. Their Roman commander is said to have been one Lucius Artorius Castus, the central character in a not-too-widely-held scholarly theory that casts him as the original figure behind the legend of King Arthur (see timeline entry for 184 AD). One problem with this is that these cavalrymen lived in Britain in the latter half of the second century, 300ish years before the movie was supposed to have taken place, and another is that, in the 180’s, the Saxons hadn’t arrived in Britain, yet, and wouldn’t need battling for a long time to come.

Producer Bruckheimer, in his quest to be creatively original, also for the first time in history and legend sees fit to transform the reliably feminine figure of Guinevere into a painted-up, Celtic shield-maiden, fully the equal of any of her male co-combatants in the “manly” arts of war. He might have gotten away with this, had the naturally willowy actress, Keira Knightley, had the physique to make us believe — but she didn’t — and, as a result, we’re left conflicted with memories of what should have been our always-delicate Guinevere, rampaging around a dark age battlefield clad in some of the most improbably revealing and non-protective battle gear in the long history of warfare.

In our view, however glad Arthurians worldwide might have been when they heard that yet another attempt was going to be made by a major Hollywood talent to do justice to their favorite legendary character, they are surely disappointed, now, at having seen just another tarted-up, Hollywood summer “blockbuster”.

The release period (late June – early July) was sprinkled with programs attempting to provide serious analysis of the film, “King Arthur”, and the man behind the legend. The History Channel had two such shows, totaling 3 hours of air time and ABC-TV had a 20 minute segment on its PrimeTime Friday “20/20” show. The best of the bunch was clearly the History Channel’s “Quest for King Arthur” (June 20th), featuring Arthurian academic luminaries Geoffrey Ashe (“The Discovery of King Arthur” and Secretary of the Camelot Research Committee [see entry for 1966-70]), Christopher Snyder (“The World of King Arthur”), Bonnie Wheeler (Editor of the publication, “Arthuriana”) and Jeremy Adams (noted medieval historian from Yale and SMU). Although much material was presented that could’ve been confusing to the uninitiated, this was probably the most authoritative and satisfying treatment of Arthur’s historical and legendary background ever done for television…but, then again, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t make the “King Arthur” film into anything more than another swashbuckling knight movie.

2005 – IBM’s business consulting division trades on Arthur’s reputation for wisdom and integrity in a series of TV commercials which portray Arthur as a dark-age CEO eliciting advice from his board members (knights) on a series of timeless, but confounding administrative problems.

2006 – The book, “The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction, Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society, Changed Our Behavior, and Set the Course of History”, is released in paperback. King Arthur comes in at #3, behind “The Marlboro Man” at #1 and George Orwell’s “Big Brother” at #2 and just ahead of #4 Santa Claus.

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