Title: Young King Arthur and the Round Table Knights
Series: King Arthur Series Book 1
Author: Siryn Sueng
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Length: 210 Pages
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult, King Arthur Retelling
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There was no reason for Arthur to think he would ever become king.
A peasant and son of a baker, Arthur grew up in the castle town of Camelot. When he attended the Choosing Ceremony, it was merely to see who would draw the Holy Sword, Excalibur—to see who would inherit the throne of the recently departed King Uther. He never expected the sword would choose him…
But it did.
Now, at the young age of fourteen, he has become King Arthur, and for all the power he has gained, he has made just as many enemies. Surrounded by the Knights of the Round Table, and led by the mysterious mage, Merlin, Arthur is grateful for his allies, though he would just as soon return to his old life. Surely, someone more worthy should be chosen as king.
Arthur is in the middle of chaos, a world where everyone wants more than they let on, where many hate the idea of a young boy with no noble background being crowned king; where cold stares and whispered words are just as sharp as an assassin’s blade.
As Arthur fends for his life, he must draw on the strength of his knights, especially fifteen-year-old Mordred, who becomes closer to him than the mere bounds of duty. He must become king, not just in name, but in his heart.
And he must do it quickly, because his enemies want more than just his crown…
Excerpt“Did you hear?”
“They’re holding the Choosing Ceremony! Everyone is heading to the plaza.”
I listened to the conversations that rose up in the streets. Everyone was excited and the town was buzzing with the news.
It had been two weeks since King Uther Pendragon passed. They had finally begun the Choosing Ceremony.
My heart raced. How exciting to go see someone draw the Holy Sword Excalibur from the anvil!
I was in the middle of shopping for my mother when I heard the ruckus. If the Choosing was now, then I wanted to see it. I turned to the woman filling my basket with baking ingredients. Mrs. Lin was a usual stop when shopping for the bakery.
“Are you going, Arthur?” she asked.
“Yes, I want to see. It’s exciting to think of who might draw the blade,” I said.
“It can be scary too,” she said.
“What if someone who is unsuited draws the blade? What should we do, then? The ceremony is final. No one can withdraw who takes that blade from the anvil. If a young, hot-headed boy draws the blade, then Camelot is doomed, don’t you agree?”
My smile wavered. I gave her a stiff laugh. “Oh, Mrs. Lin. The Holy Sword wouldn’t choose someone so unworthy. I bet it’ll choose one of the knights. Gawain would be a good choice, don’t you think?”
“I doubt the sword would choose one of the knights, my dear. Hurry along. You should go quickly if you wish to watch the Choosing. And tell your mother hello for me.”
I gathered up the rest of what I needed. After giving her my thanks, I rushed down the street and followed the crowd into the plaza.
I was astonished at how many people showed up to the Choosing. Up on the platform was the anvil and the Holy Sword protruding from it. The silver handle glinted in the afternoon sun. Gems that lined the handle glistened and only increased the beauty of the weapon that was stuck in the dull gray metal chunk.
Silence hung heavy in the air, broken only by hushed whispers from some who gathered in the crowd. A group of people lined up to try their hand at pulling the sword from the anvil, but I was too far back to make out who they were. Ducking down, I wiggled my way forward, apologizing when some of the townspeople grumbled at me in anger for pushing too much, or stepping on toes. By the time I worked my way close enough to the anvil, one of the men up on the platform had started talking.
I didn’t listen to what he was saying. It was mostly about the meaning of the sword and about the responsibilities of who would draw the Holy Sword. Everyone knew that the holder of the blade would become the next King of Camelot. It was a story told to everyone since they were children, and it was something a lot of children often dreamed of, myself included.
Once I was closer to the front, the man who had spoken bowed and stepped back. My eyes went wide. It was Merlin!
I had the feeling it was the legendary mage only because of how he was dressed. It was so different from the others. He wore fitted robes that curved to his muscular body, and there was a pleasant demeanor to his handsome face. The robes were blue and purple in color and the way he wore them had the front opened so everyone could see the curve of his chest and the chiseled muscle there.
My heart leapt.
He was beautiful to look at. His steel gray eyes and dark hair that looked like a tumbled mess were all too attractive. I was captivated by him for quite some time, so much that I forgot to see who was trying to pull the sword from the anvil. When the crowd all groaned together, I looked up to see one man walking away with a frown on his face. I didn’t know who he was, but he was dressed finely.
<em>Must be a lord from some place</em>, I thought. I looked over to the next one in line and noted the armor this man wore. However, he wasn’t a knight of the Round Table. He seemed just a soldier or someone of noble birth. In fact, many of the people who tried were nobles of some sort from all around the kingdom.
I watched with bated breath every time a pair of hands wrapped around the hilt of the sparkling weapon. Each person who stepped up had my heart pounding. I leaned forward against the wooden fence that blocked off the Choosing Ceremony. One by one they shuffled by, each one no better than the last as they tried their hardest to pull the weapon from its steel prison.
As the line dwindled down, the people in the crowd began to murmur.
“Is the sword going to choose anyone? What if it chooses no one?”
“Impossible, the sword will choose someone.”
“But what if it doesn’t?”
Men and women went back and forth on the subject and the more they talked, the more insecure the tension in the crowd grew. I looked around at all the faces. There was worry and fear painting many of them while others just seemed unsure of it all. I returned my attention to the platform and gasped as I saw someone I never expected approaching the sword.
At first, I was frozen in shock. Why would my cousin be trying to draw the sword? Worst of all, he was dressed as a knight when I knew all too well he was not one.
Impersonating a knight was a high offense and depending on the ruler, it may be a death sentence.
I was moving before I knew it, the contents of my basket scattering to the ground. Ducking under the rail, I rushed up onto the platform, startling everyone. I could hear their gasps and some shouts for me to get down, but I ignored them.
“Illian! What are you doing?” I hissed as I got between him and the sword.
Illian glared at me. “Move, Arthur.”
“No! You can’t be up here, let alone impersonating a knight! Couldn’t you wait? The Choosing Ceremony is offered to all!”
“Fool! Why would I wait until after the nobles, knights, and royals got to try? If one of them pulled it…I would miss my chance!”
“What is the meaning of this?” It was Merlin who asked. I flinched back a little, but I didn’t move as the mage got close to us.
I turned to him and put my hands together. “Please, Sir Merlin, forgive my cousin, but he’s not a knight!”
“You!” Illian snarled at me and Merlin looked between the two of us.
“Impersonating a knight,” Merlin began, then his lips twisted into a rather devilish smile. “My, aren’t you brave. Or stupid.”
“Please! Forgive him! Illian, let’s go, please. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“You have no right, Arthur,” Illian snapped. He lunged forward, giving me a hard shove. Illian’s larger size worked to his advantage and his action threw me backwards. I yelped and reached out for something, anything, to stop my tumble off the platform.
I grasped the handle of the Holy Sword to try and stop my fall, but instead of stopping, I kept going. I flailed as I fell off the platform. I hit the ground hard and coughed as the air was knocked from my lungs.
I lay on the ground for a few moments trying to regain my senses. In my hand, I could feel something digging into my palm. A jewel from the sword, perhaps? Something had come free when I’d reached out. It made sense a jewel would snap off during my stumbling. Sitting upright, I looked down at what was in my hand. It was the Holy Sword! I was in so much shock that I dropped the weapon and scrambled away from it.
I looked around. Everyone’s faces were filled with shock. The silence was so heavy it hurt my ears. I was panting, fear clutching my chest as I sat there on the ground beneath all those astonished looks. It wasn’t until someone knelt before me that I pulled away from the agonizing scrutiny of the townspeople.
“Stand up.” The order was kind, despite being hard on my hearing. “Come on, I need to test this.”
I turned to see who’d spoken. Merlin stood over me. “Sir Merlin…”
He offered his free hand to me. In the other he had the blade that I’d fearfully tossed away from me.
I took his hand and he hauled me up to my feet. His grip tightened as he led me back up onto the platform. I was certain he held so firmly because he didn’t want me to run away. If not for that, I would have run from the plaza and probably farther.
Merlin had me stand in front of the anvil. He slid the blade back in. Once it clicked, he gave a testing tug and the weapon remained locked inside.
He looked behind me and I turned to see who he had set his eyes upon. Illian was being held by two knights who I recognized, since they patrolled the castle town. And of course, everyone knew who the Knights of the Round Table were. Lancelot was on Illian’s right and Tristan was on his left. Both knights held each of my cousin’s arms tightly.
Merlin beckoned with his fingers. “Come here, impersonator. If you so wish to take the sword, then by all means do try.”
To me, Merlin’s smile was mocking.
Illian pulled free of the two knights and stepped forward, a scowl on his face. I moved, letting my cousin step up to the anvil. For a moment, he hesitated as he gazed at the sword. He reached out slowly and wrapped his hands around the hilt. He took a deep breath, then pulled. I knew he put every ounce of his strength behind it, and yet the Holy Sword was stuck fast in its prison once more.
He might have continued to pull all day, but Merlin put his hand on Illian’s shoulder and forced him back, away from the sword. The mage looked at me and motioned toward the sword. I swallowed dryly but moved to take the spot before the decorated hilt. My hands trembled as I gingerly gripped the Holy Sword.
It took no effort at all, like pulling a kitchen knife from warm butter. The blade slid free and I stood in awe with it.
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Meet the AuthorSiryn Sueng is a writer of fantasy, paranormal, and even Sci-Fi genres. She’s married to a wonderful husband with a minion of two years. They have a full house with three adorable fur babies, Anubis -the mighty cat hunter- Kida -the momma bear- and Mishka -the loveable husky-.
Siryn is a lover of games on a wide range of platforms. She plays on the PC, console, and hand-held devices including the phone. Japan is where she would love to visit sometime and is a huge inspiration to many of her projects. She’s a huge fan of Japan, including manga and anime. Siryn has even begun to dabble in comic/manga script writing. Future works in this will be posted on WebToon. Find Siryn on Twitter or send her an eMail.
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