The Cleaving (Paperback)

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The Cleaving By Juliet E. Mckenna Cover Image

The Cleaving (Paperback)


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Four women, four destinies – the future of King Arthur's court…

A fresh, feminist retelling of the Arthurian legends

The Cleaving is an Arthurian retelling that follows the tangled stories of four women: Nimue, Ygraine, Morgana, and Guinevere, as they fight to control their own destinies amid the wars and rivalries that will determine the destiny of Britain. 

The legendary epics of King Arthur and Camelot don’t tell the whole story. Chroniclers say Arthur’s mother Ygraine married the man that killed her husband. They say that Arthur's half-sister Morgana turned to dark magic to defy him and Merlin. They say that the enchantress Nimue challenged Merlin and used her magic to outwit him. And that Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere ended in adultery, rebellion and bloodshed. So why did these women chose such dangerous paths?

As warfare and rivalries constantly challenge the king, Arthur and Merlin believe these women are destined to serve Camelot by doing as they are told. But men forget that women talk. Ygraine, Nimue, Morgana and Guinevere become friends and allies while the decisions that shape their lives are taken out of their hands. This is their untold story. Now these women have a voice.

File Under: Fantasy [ Once and Future | A Woman's Work | Out of the Shadows | Cutting Edge ]

Juliet E McKenna is an expert on medieval history and warfare and brings this expertise as well as her skills as a fantasy writer to this epic standalone novel.
Juliet E. McKenna is the author of 15 epic fantasy novels set in the world of Einarinn, as well as several novellas and countless short stories ranging from SF to steampunk and alternate history. She has been a judge for the World Fantasy Awards, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the James White Award and the Aeon Award, and has, herself, been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel.
Product Details ISBN: 9781915202222
ISBN-10: 1915202221
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: April 11th, 2023
Pages: 384
Language: English
"The Cleaving is an inspired reimagining of Arthurian myth told from the perspective of Nimue. Through her eyes we see how these well-known stories play out, giving a voice to the women whose stories we’ve only seen through the eyes of men. McKenna deftly weaves a mythological retelling that is grounded in historical reality and is perfect for fans of Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls and Anya Seton’s Katherine."
Shauna Lawless, author of The Children of Gods and Fighting Men

"McKenna's writing immediately makes readers identify with the characters, and the strength they draw together fights against the weight of helplessness."
– Booklist

"With this impressive fantasy, McKenna brings a fresh, female perspective to the story of King Arthur while retaining all the magic and grandeur of the original tale…  Fans of Arthurian legend and female-centric retellings like Circe and Ariadne will find much to enjoy."
– Publishers Weekly

"McKenna tells a compelling new story from an old tale that is timely, giving the women of Arthur’s heroic tale a voice and place in this world. Give to fans of Michael J. Sullivan and David Dalglish who appreciate stories with swordplay, revenge, and medieval adventure."
– Library Journal


“If you’re not reading Juliet McKenna you should be”
Kate Elliott

“The thinking fantasy reader’s writer”
– Charles Stross

“Her many characters are thoroughly engaging and her plots tight”
– Joanne Harris

“McKenna creates real tension”
– Time Out

“Written with verve and style”
– SFX Magazine

“Magically convincing and convincingly magical”
– Dan Abnett

“If your appetite is for fantasy in the epic tradition, with compelling narratives, authentic combat and characters you care about, Juliet E McKenna is definitely the author for you” Stan Nicholls
“Everything just sings in these books.”
– Charles de Lint in F&SF