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About the Series

The Shards of Excalibur is a five-book series telling the story of Ariane Forsythe, a teen from Regina, Saskatchewan, who discovers she is the heir of the Lady of the Lake of Arthurian legend. With the help of her unexpected sidekick, Wally Knight, she must discover all five pieces of King Arthur’s legendary sword Excalibur before Merlin, in his present-day guise as Rex Major, wealthy computer magnate, can do so…and launch a war to seize control of both Earth and his own world of Faerie.

Song of the Sword

Song of the Sword Cover Coteau“A fantasy that will grip teens of both genders…Edward Willett blends the humour with the ethereal fantasy of Song of the Sword so easily…Readers will be right in there, cheering for Ariane and Wally, worried with every obstacle that jumps into their path, hopeful that the bad guy won’t prevail.” – Helen Kubiw, CanLit for Little Canadians

“A tight story (all the details make sense), and characters exhibit honest emotions…Fantasy references galore should ensure that readers who enjoy fantasy—and Arthurian legend in particular—come away satisfied.” – Kirkus Reviews

A unique, clever, and beautifully modern retelling of an old legend.” – McNally Robinson Staff Pick, Feb. 201

“This is a fantasy of epic proportions, with the perfect blend of suspense; well-developed, likable characters; and a touch of sarcastic humor. Ariane and Wally need to find four shards and the hilt of the sword, ensuring readers that this is just the beginning of the fantastical journey.” –School Library Journal, Feb. 2011

“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

“The story … has wonderful Canadian references and some really funny passages. Ariane is constantly in danger, and the suspense is beautifully maintained.” – Helen Wilding Cook, Children’s Collection Development Coordinator, Library Bound

“One thing that makes this tale different from many in the genre is that it is set in Regina, SK, and full of other Canadian place names, such as Yellowknife and Toronto … Written clearly, and with an interesting version of the Arthurian legend, the tale portrays some common teenage problems through the eyes of the two main characters, while placing them in harrowing fantasy situations … The story will appeal to those who enjoy fantasy and will not require a knowledge of the Arthurian tales to follow.” – CM: Canadian Review of Materials, Sept. 2010

“Willett has constructed an exciting plot that features a teenage orphan (Ariane) and her scrawny but smart sidekick (Wally) … Song of the Sword will certainly have appeal to enthusiastic young fantasy fans.” – Resource Links, Oct. 2010

“Willett’s novel will please fantasy junkies with its intricate details; yet there’s also an appealing poetry to Ariane’s story, best manifested when she learns to use her powers to merge with water and transport herself wherever it flows. Song of the Sword is a unique twist on the old subjects of teenage rebellion and self-discovery.” – Montreal Review of Books, Nov. 2010

“… a highly original take on the King Arthur Legend …” – Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Dec. 2010

“… an exciting plot that gives a great new spin to a favourite story. It can also take credit for a great cast of characters … set up to play out what might become the battle of the ages. I can see that exciting adventures await as they all struggle to decide what’s worth fighting for: power, friends, or family.” – think. thank. thought. (book review blog), Nov. 2010

“… it was very well done indeed … Willett did an excellent job here … Ariane [has] quite a bit of personality and spunk … Wally is definitely my favorite character. He’s got a bit of King Arthur potential, but he’s so very quirky … I sense his sister becoming a bit of a Morgan le Fay character, which should prove to be entertaining.” – Word for Teens (book review blog), Nov. 2010

Twist of the Blade

Twist of the Blade for Web

“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

“Edward Willett capably brandishes the trust issues of teens, especially those related to their families, as the means to progress the story.  But it’s these same issues with which Merlin and Arthur had to deal…without their anger and self-doubt, Ariane and Wally could not learn to believe in others and themselves as worthy of the challenge to bring together the shards of the legendary sword of King Arthur…” – CanLit for Little Canadians

Lake in the Clouds

Lake_intheClouds_smaller“The strengths of Willett’s series really shine in these two recent books. Throughout both, the plot moves with enthralling velocity as Willett heightens the tension for Ariane and Wally. Not only does the race for the shards of Excalibur build momentum, but the challenges Ariane and Wally encounter from family, friends and enemies consistently deepen their characters and force them to grow in significant ways.

“Moreover, Willett provides a wonderfully evocative sense of place. From Regina, Saskatchewan, to Lyon, France, to Queenstown, New Zealand, and the rivers and lakes and clouds through which Ariane and Wally travel, Willett crafts immersive locations that lend genuine vigour to the story…

“At the heart of these two novels, however, is the evolving relationship between Ariane and Wally. In a world of absent parents…they must rely upon themselves and upon each other. They must learn to trust each other, for they are being changed by their contact with and use of old magic steeped in old conflicts, desires and mysteries — all of which become particularly vital in Lake in the Clouds. How Ariane and Wally deal with such changes, and with the increasing responsibilities of their quest, makes them truly admirable characters.

“Willett’s The Shards of Excalibur series…gives fresh life to the Arthurian legends, and there is, indeed, much to look forward to in the next two instalments.” – Matthew Johnstone, Canadian Children’s Book News

“Well written, and fast moving, with touches of humour, The Lake in the Clouds will appeal to young readers who enjoy adventure as well as adults who might like a modern visit to the timeless story of King Arthur and his knights. Recommended.” – Ronald Hore, CM Magazine

“The overlay of the Arthurian legend on a modern Canadian context works surprisingly well. Merlin’s magical powers are invested in Rex Major’s spyware embedded in the internet. Wally’s loyalty and courage accurately reflect both Arthur’s strength and his fatal flaw. Ariane’s coolly calculated actions echo the dispassionate deeds of the Lady of the Lake . . . Readers who are invested in the series will eagerly anticipate the final two books.” – Patricia Jeremy, Resource Links Magazine

“By continuing to develop his characters so that they never remain good or evil or secondary, Edward Willett has ensured that the plot doesn’t stagnate…With Ariane and Wally both being affected by the shards and learning of new abilities, as well as other characters being drawn into the story in different ways, The Lake in the Clouds becomes a fuller story. The plot itself continues to evolve and the adventure is grand…The journeys are part of the quest but hold on because your travelling companions are switching places and your next seat mates may be a surprise in Cave Beneath the Sea…” – CanLit for Little Canadians

Cave Beneath the Sea

CaveBeneath_theSea_smaller“The author has created interesting characters as the villain and the heroes all have occasional uncertainties about their actions…Cave Beneath the Sea will appeal to young readers in search of adventure as well as adults who enjoy another version of the timeless story of King Arthur…Recommended.” – Ronald Hore, CM Magazine

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Door into Faerie

81rEdc1D1+L“This fifth book is as forged with magic, conflict, action and travel, as well as a little history, as the earlier four books–…but family, which has always been important, becomes paramount. Brothers and sisters Merlin and the Lady of the Lake, and Wally and Felicia, as well as mothers Emily Forsythe and Jessica Knight, drive the story, and ultimately help resolve its plotlines, a monumental task in a fantasy based on the Arthurian legends. Yet Edward Willett accomplishes this easily with his consistent intensity and fluidity of plot progression…” – CanLit for Little Canadians

Permanent link to this article: http://www.shardsofexcalibur.com/

Reviews






Cave Beneath the Sea: “In Cave Beneath the Sea, Edward Willett has created as exciting a read as the earlier books in the series, continuing to develop his characters and their relationships while the action-filled plot carries the reader to intriguing national and international locales.  Both Ariane and Wally feel the power of the sword, drawing them to its …

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CanLit for Little Canadians applauds Door into Faerie






Helen Kubiw, who has reviewed all of The Shards of Excalibur books at CanLlit for Little Canadians, has nice things to say about Door into Faerie: “This fifth book is as forged with magic, conflict, action and travel, as well as a little history, as the earlier four books…but family, which has always been important, …

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CanLit for Little Canadians likes “exciting” Cave Beneath the Sea






Helen Kubiw at the excellent CanLit for Little Canadians site has been a fan of The Shards of Excalibur from the beginning, and she likes Cave Beneath the Sea quite a lot: In Cave Beneath the Sea, Edward Willett has created as exciting a read as the earlier books in the series, continuing to develop his characters and their relationships while the action-filled plot carries …

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