Twist of the Blade is Book 2 in the five-book Shards of Excalibur series, published by Coteau Books, which began with Song of the Sword in spring 2014.
Having saved the first shard of the sword Excalibur from internet mogul Rex Major (aka Merlin), Ariane and Wally are on the lookout for the second. Wally’s worried that the power of the first Shard is already changing Ariane, giving her the strength to do both good and evil…and when she seriously hurts his bullying sister Flish, it seems he might be right.
Reviews of Twist of the Blade:
“The sequel to Song of the Sword (2014) improves on its foundation….Willett realistically explores the difficulties Ariane and Wally face and paints Rex Major in such a light that readers may be unsure as to whether he is a master manipulator or misunderstood hero…Engrossing and more nuanced than its predecessor.” - Kirkus Reviews
“A satisfying second instalment…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…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.” - Quill & Quire
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Everyone knows the legends of King Arthur, the Round Table, and the powerful and noble wizard Merlin. But what if those so-called legends were real historical facts? And what if someone has carefully rewritten that history?
Ariane’s life is already pretty difficult when she starts to hear the singing – her mother’s disappeared, she’s trying to get used to living with her aunt after several foster homes, and she’s taking grief from the “in” girls at school. She’s dealing with strange dreams involving swords and knights and battles, and things seem to get weird whenever she touches water. And now an invisible someone, somewhere, is singing to her.
Before long, Ariane’s met the famed Lady of the Lake (in a journey UNDER the local lake), has acquired a nerdy sidekick, and is sent on a dangerous mission that pits her against otherworldly forces. Can she figure out what it all means, much less survive the challenge?
Reviewers liked the original version:
“Every so often … a writer is skilled enough to utilize the stories of King Arthur and Camelot to significant effect. Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy is definitely on the list. So, too, is Song of the Sword, the impressive new YA novel from Regina writer Edward Willett … a taut, compelling narrative, well-drawn characters, and a keen sense of genuine peril and true wonder. It’s a powerful, fun, engaging read, and it’s the first of a series, so readers have much to look forward to.” – Quill & Quire, Sept. 2010
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"The magic continues in this enthralling adventure, grabbing the readers' interest and holding it until th final page. Each chapter brings a new twist in the already sensational story. Blake creates the perfect mix of adventure and romance as the main character, Mara Holdfast, struggles to come of age in a world that is quickly changing. Mara's struggle is relevant to readers of any age." - RT Book Reviews Magazine, Top Pick for August 2014
"Raw, powerful, emotional and intense. Shadows is a book that captivated me from page one and had me literally on the edge of my seat. A year until the next book?! It’s going to be a long year, I need it NOW!" - Candace's Book Blog
"More action-packed and fast-moving than the first...I highly recommend this series for fantasy fans!" - Not Yet Read
"I devoured this story. I was hanging on to every word...The Masks of Aygrima's dark magic, powerful young heroine, and group of rebels plotting to overthrow a tyrannical leader make this an addictive series that I would recommend to any fantasy fan." - Addicted 2 Heroines
"Full of suspense, mystery, magic, and a bit of romance – the intensity builds to a climactic ending. I look forward to the next in this incredible fantasy series." - SciFi Chick
Written as E.C. Blake.
Cover art by Paul Young.
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In Masks, Mara Holdfast’s life changed forever. As the daughter of the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, she had a clearly defined future: working with her father to make the Masks that must be worn by all adults—Masks imbued with a magic that would reveal any treasonous thought about the ruling Autarch. But when her own Mask cracked and fell to pieces during her Masking ceremony, Mara was exiled from everything she once knew. Rescued by an underground rebel group known as the unMasked Army, Mara was recruited to their cause when she learned the shocking truth about the Autarch’s reign. And in a moment of crisis, Mara drew upon a volatile magical talent neither she nor her allies could understand or control.
In Shadows, Mara faces staggering new challenges as she struggles to master her terrifying, almost addictive ability to use all types of magic—and to rip magic from those around her to fuel her power.
When Chell, a young man from across the sea, is shipwrecked and washed ashore outside the rebels’ hidden base, it signals the first contact in centuries with the world beyond the borders of the Autarchy of Aygrima. But whether Chell and his people will help the unMasked Army or betray them to the Autarch is very much in question. His arrival, and Mara’s own need for answers that can only be found in the capital city of Tamita, sparks a covert mission to the seat of the Autarch’s power. It is there that an act of unspeakable brutality tips Mara dangerously close to madness…and in the midst of a desperate and bloody battle, she discovers just how horrifying her power can be….
Available now in hardcover and ebook formats from DAW Books.
Written as E.C. Blake: my initials and the middle name of my nephew, Torrey Willett.
Cover art by Paul Young.
"Mara’s personal growth is a delight to follow. Sharp characterization, a fast-moving plot, and a steady unveiling of a bigger picture make this a welcome addition to the genre." - Publishers Weekly
"(A) powerful fantasy novel, the first book in a series that should appeal to both YA and adult readers...Blake brings his fantastic world to life through offbeat links between magic, nature, and human behavior in a caste-ridden society." - Locus Magazine
"Encapsulating the best features of a good teen title, Masks is sure to resonate with readers…With an intriguing setting and a suspenseful story line that will hook readers, Masks is the first of a promising new series."- School Library Journal
"Not since the likes of Lirael or Sabriel have I enjoyed a YA with a female protagonist to the extent I did Masks...a novel that will emotionally touch you and leave you reeling through it." - Fantasy Faction
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Masks, the first novel in a mesmerizing new fantasy series, draws readers into a world in which cataclysmic events have left the Autarchy of Aygrima—the one land blessed with magical resources—cut off from its former trading partners across the waters, not knowing if any of those distant peoples still live. Yet under the rule of the Autarch, Aygrima survives. And thanks to the creation of the Masks and the vigilance of the Autarch’s Watchers, no one can threaten the security of the empire.
In Aygrima, magic is a Gift possessed from birth by a very small percentage of the population, with the Autarch himself the most powerful magic worker of all. Only the long-vanquished Lady of Pain and Fire had been able to challenge his rule.
At the age of fifteen, citizens are recognized as adults and must don the spell-infused Masks—which denote both status and profession—whenever they are in public. To maintain the secure rule of the kingdom, the Masks are magically crafted to reveal any treasonous thoughts or actions. And once such betrayals are exposed, the Watchers are there to enforce the law.
Mara Holdfast, daughter of the Autarch’s Master Maskmaker, is fast approaching her fifteenth birthday and her all-important Masking ceremony. Her father himself has been working behind closed doors to create Mara’s Mask. Once the ceremony is done, she will take her place as an adult, and Gifted with the same magical abilities as her father, she will also claim her rightful place as his apprentice.
But on the day of her Masking something goes horribly wrong, and instead of celebrating, Mara is torn away from her parents, imprisoned, and consigned to a wagon bound for the mines. Is it because she didn’t turn the unMasked boy she discovered over to the Night Watchers? Or is it because she’s lied about her Gift, claiming she can only see one color of magic, when in truth she can see them all, just as she could when she was a young child?
Whatever the reason, her Mask has labeled her a traitor and now she has lost everything, doomed to slavery in the mines until she dies. And not even her Gift can show Mara the future that awaits her—a future that may see her freed to aid a rebel cause, forced to become a puppet of the Autarch, or transformed into a force as dangerous to her world as the legendary Lady of Pain and Fire.
"An inspiring tale of redemption and courage, set in an all-too-plausible future in space. Well done!" - Julie Czerneda, author of The Clan Chronicles
Published by Bundoran Press
Cover art by Dan O'Driscoll.
A fast-paced space opera about first contact - with a difference. When Art Stoddard, civilian information officer of the generation ship Mayflower II, is kidnapped by a secret military organization determined to overthrow the power of Captain and crew, he becomes embroiled in a conflict that tests everything he thought he knew. Now, he is forced to choose between preserving social order and restoring the people's right to know. But what if knowledge is the most dangerous thing of all?
Read the first chapter!
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Available now in a brand-new edition from Tyche Books.
Cover art by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein.
Amarynth is a spirit singer, gifted--or cursed, as she sometimes thinks--with the ability to lead the spirits of the dead from the Lower World through the Between World to the Gate of the Upper World and the Light that lies beyond it.
While she is still an apprentice her grandfather and tutor dies, slain by a mysterious creature in the Between World that is blocking access to the Upper World's Gate. Without a spirit singer her village cannot survive, so Amarynth embarks on a hazardous quest to find out what the creature is, how it can be defeated, and how she can become a full-fledged spirit singer -- a quest that takes her not only from her tiny seacoast home to the soaring mountains of the south, but across the even more rugged terrain of her own soul.
Also available as an audiobook, narrated by myself, from Iambik Audiobooks.
Read the first two chapters.
Winner of the 2002 Regina Book Award for best book by a Regina resident, one of the Saskatchewan Book Awards.
Winner of a 2002 Dream Realm Award (young adult category) for excellence in e-published science fiction, fantasy & horror
Winner of the 2002 EPPIE Award for best electronically published young adult fiction
Praise from Canadian Literature magazine...
"...deserved the Saskatchewan Book Award it won. Aimed for the early to mid-teen group, Spirit Singer is a strong, well-written book with great adventure and sympathetic characters. Willett's book has fast-paced adventure, sword-play, ghostly help, kidnappings, automatons who serve pure evil, royalty and brave commoners...Spirit Singer holds more than just solid characters and an exciting plot. It is about deception, both external and internal, in the eternal search for love and acceptance. It is about the need to accept oneself to be able to move forward and achieve great things and the need to be wise and discerning about others." - Lynn (J.R.) Wytenbroek
...and the 2002 Saskatchewan Book Awards jurors...
"This is a fast-paced, spiritual quest book, full of narrow escapes, evil masquerading as good, good appearing in nasty people (just like in real life!), adventure, dreams and bits of wisdom. The writing is spare and the words well-chosen, so that complex characters and interesting places emerge full-blown in the reader's mind, and the plot moves apace. I felt always in the story, and not a mere spectator/reader. Written for teenagers, but this 50-something guy had a great time." - David Waltner-Toews
"Clearly defined characters, setting & plot carry a reader eagerly from page to page through adventure-filled chapters that deftly conclude with cliff-hangers...The plot is fast-paced and clever, the writing never disappoints and the author clearly keeps his target audience in mind. A great read from start to finish." - Shirlee Matheson
...and from SF Site..
"...a fun novel with engaging characters and having all the basic elements of a good fantasy...young readers would likely get much more out of this book in terms of good succinct plotting and writing than they'd ever be likely to from the droves of role-playing game tie-ins and fat fantasy trilogies." - Georges T. Dodds
"Spectacular" - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Evil wizards, multi-level conspiracies, hidden kingdoms...Lee Arthur Chane...has done a marvelous job...Magebane is a very entertaining book and well worth the time." - A.M. Donovan, Night Owl Reviews
I happily recommend Magebane and I’ll certainly give Chane’s next novel a try based on this one." —Bill Capossere, Fantasy Literature
"...an original and delightful tale of epic fantasy and magic, steampunk science, adventure, tragedy, and love..." - Errant Dreams Reviews
Eight centuries ago, the world changed. A devastating war swept the lands, and the MageLords, who had long ruled by virtue of their spell powers, were driven to a distant place, separated from those they had ruled by a magical Barrier. With magic banished from the rest of the world, the MageLords became mere legend and people turned to science to improve their lives. But if one man has his way, all that is about to change….
Written as Lee Arthur Chane (the middle names of my older brothers, Jimmy Lee and Dwight Arthur, and myself, Edward Chane Willett).
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For the first time: Marseguro and Terra Insegura in one volume!
Marseguro, a water world far distant from Earth, is home to a small colony of unmodified humans and the Selkies, a water-dwelling race created by geneticsit Victor Hansen from modified human DNA. For seventy years the Selkies and the unmodified landlings have dwelled together in peace, safe from pursuit by the current fanatical theocratic rulers of Earth.
But everything changes when Earth discovers Marseguro, and a strike force--with Victor Hansen's own grandson Richard aboard--is sent to eradicate this abomination.
Though the forces of Earth were equipped with weapons far superior to those of this peaceful, backwater planet, the people of Marseguro are not without resources to fight back. Soon it will be hard to determine who has more to fear--those being attacked or the invaders from Earth...
"The settings are well drawn and creative...The characters possess substance, emotions and realistic motivations...Most important, the action and surprises keep coming...this book is almost impossible to put down." - SCI FI Weekly
"Terra Insegura is the perfect balance to Marseguro: you've got to read this one of you read the first. It does stand on its own, but why deny yourself the pleasure of the full literary tapestry Edward Willett weaves with these two?" - SF Scope
Marseguro won the Aurora Award for best long-form work in English, and Terra Insegura was a finalist for the same award.
Read the first two chapter of Marseguro.
Read, or listen to me read, the first two chapters of Terra Insegura.
It's midway through the 21st century, and after economic collapse and a "small" war, civilization is in pretty bad shape. On the Canadian prairies, a religious cult, the Chosen, has dedicated itself to destroying all vestiges of the old technological civilization--but only a few hundred kilometres away, the Technos are just as dedicated to rebuilding it. The two cultures are on a collision course that could mean the first war of the new era, and mutual destruction, unless the teenage daughter of the cult's leader and a boy from the Technos can overcome their own personal differences and prevent it...no matter what the cost.
Available in print and Kindle format from Amazon.
Alex Mitchell doesn’t have the slightest interest in the auction his mother drags him to after a disastrous day at junior high. Antiques are her interest, not his—yet somehow, when they head home, he’s the one clutching a Civil War bugle. When Alex blows the horn, he sets in motion a train of events that will destroy his home town of Oak Bluff, Arkansas...unless he can figure out the secret of the haunted horn in time, and, with the help of his new friend Annie Parker, evade the gang of bullies out to get him, her, and the haunted horn.
Buy now for Kindle for $2.99.
Finalist for the 2010 Prix Aurora Award for Best Novel in English
Marseguro, a water world far from Earth, is home to a colony of humans and the Selkies, a water-dwelling race created from modified human DNA. For seventy years the colony has lived in peace. Then Earth discovers Marseguro, and a strike force is sent to eradicate this "abomination." But Marseguro has created a genetically tailored plague to use against Earth’s Holy Warriors. With the enemy defeated, the people of Marseguro feel they are safe. But Chris Keating, the traitor who signaled Marseguro's location to the Holy Warriors, has fled to Earth, unknowingly carrying the deadly plague within him. The people of Marseguro feel they must send a ship to Earth with a life-saving vaccine. Only time will tell what awaits them when they reach their destination.
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Winner of the 2009 Prix Aurora Award for Best Long-Form Work in English
Water world Marseguro is home to the Selkies, a water-dwelling race created from human DNA. When an unmodified human seeks revenge on a Selkie by activating a distress beacon taken from the remains of the original colony ship, a strikeforce is sent from Earth to eradicate the genetic abomination. Yet Marseguro will not prove as easy to conquer as the Earth force anticipates...
Kathryn was a human empath whose world and life had been destroyed when the alien S'sinn slaughtered her parents before her very eyes. Jarrikk was a young S'sinn, an unproven warrior who'd seen his flight mates slaughtered by the humans who'd sought to colonize his world.
As humans and S'sinn found themselves on the brink of war, these two Translators had to work together to find a common ground and avert catastrophe. But whether their Translators' oath and training could overcome the enemies leagued against them was very much in doubt...
After a lifetime of sleeping in alleys and flop houses, Kit's musical talent is discovered, and he is remade into Andy Nebula.
Well-fed, content with a warm bed and contract, Andy begins to wonder why every previous "Sensation Single" star was a flash-in-the-pan. Little does he know that the answer lies with the off-world Hydras and their taste for music and flash, a drug forbidden to humans. And that he is their next fix.
Buy the ebook for just 99 cents!
Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star, Kindle Edition
Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star, Smashwords Edition (various formats)
Teenage musician Kit is no longer Andy Nebula, interstellar rock star. In fact, he's no longer a star at all. Reduced to playing dingy dives on Earth, he agrees to his friend Meta's request to go back to being Andy Nebula for a one-time benefit concert...only to discover that someone else in the galaxy is passing himself off as Andy Nebula instead. Soon Kit, Meta and their friend Rain, the orange, tentacled alien cop, find themselves caught up in an interstellar assassination conspiracy--with nothing less than the peace of the galaxy at stake!
Andy Nebula: Double Trouble, Kindle Edition
For years she has waited in vain for her powers to manifest themselves. Now a twist of fate has cast her into a doomed parallel world: Earth. It's up to her to save humankind from an ancient evil perfectly suited to aid humans in their self-destruction. Will she find her talents in time to defeat the Soulworm?
Young Nels left his fishing village for a life of adventure as a musician, travelling with a theatrical troupe across the fabled Heartland. But life on the road isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Nels gets more adventure than he bargained for when he becomes the unwilling posessor of the Dark Unicorn, a tiny black carving. Unbeknownst to Nels, the Dark Unicorn holds immense power. It is key to the survival of the Heartland, threatened by the deterioration of the great Wall of magic that shields it from the Blood Empire. With the Unicorn in his posession, Nels becomes the the focus for terrifying, bewildering events. On the run from agents of both the Heartland and its enemies, he falls in with streetwise Dart, the only person he feels he can trust. Together they must decide what to do with the Unicorn. The fate of their world rests in their hands.