The Cleaving

The Cleaving is a fresh Arthurian retelling that follows the tangled stories of four women: Nimue, Ygraine, Morgana, and Guinevere. These women 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.

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.

Artwork by Chris Panatier

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EBook ISBN 9781915202277
Paperback ISBN 9781915202222

For more on my thoughts about the very specific challenges of writing this particular book
Tackling The Guinevere Problem in The Cleaving
Looking at the male gaze in the mythic foundations of fantasy fiction from a 21st century perspective.

As well as the enthusiastic reviews from keen readers, for which I am very grateful, this book prompted a thoughtful piece from Andrew Knighton on this story’s relationship with the many versions that have gone before. Someone using their time and expertise to offer an assessment like this is the most tremendous compliment for an author.
The Smart Intertextuality of Juliet McKenna’s The Cleaving