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Young Adult Fiction Arthurian

Twist of the Blade

by (author) Edward Willett

Shadowpaw Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2022
Arthurian, General, Contemporary
Recommended Age
12 to 18
Recommended Grade
7 to 9
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


The power of Excalibur is changing Ariane in scary ways. As she and Rex Major race for the second shard, Wally's no longer sure whose side he should be on . . .

When Ariane seriously hurts Wally's sister, Flish, his belief in her is shaken. Meanwhile, the second shard is in France, and Rex Major already knows it's there. Ariane's powers from the Lady of the Lake enable her to travel magically through freshwater, but now there's a saltwater ocean in the way . . .

As Major uses Wally's doubts to cause a rift between the friends, Ariane takes the chance to go it alone. But if the first shard's power is barely controllable, how will she fare when two shards are united?

Twist of the Blade is an exciting modern-day young-adult fantasy by award-winning author Edward Willett, perfect for anyone who thrills to stories of modern-day magic and tales of King Arthur.

Adventure awaits high in the clouds and deep underground in this second installment of the five-book Shards of Excalibur series.

About the author

EDWARD WILLETT is the author of more than sixty books of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction for readers of all ages. Marseguro (DAW Books) won the Aurora Award (honouring Canadian science fiction and fantasy) for Best Long-Form Work in English; his young adult fantasy Spirit Singer won a Saskatchewan Book Award. Several other of his books have been shortlisted for those and other awards.

Ed's most recent novel is the far-future humorous outer-space adventure The Tangled Stars (DAW Books). Other recent titles include Star Song, a finalist for both the Aurora Award and Saskatchewan Book Award for Young Adult Literature, published by Shadowpaw Press; Blue Fire (written as E.C. Blake), also from Shadowpaw Press; and the Worldshapers series (Worldshaper, Master of the World, and The Moonlit World) from DAW. His nonfiction runs the gamut from science books to biographies to history. He hosts Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers podcast (, in which he talks to other science fiction and fantasy authors about their creative process, and has Kickstarted several Shapers of Worlds anthologies featuring guests of the podcast.

In addition to being a writer, Ed is a professional actor and singer who has performed in numerous plays, musicals, and operas, and sung in several auditioned choirs, including the Canadian Chamber Choir. He lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, with his wife, Margaret Anne Hodges, P. Eng., a past president of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan. They have one daughter, Alice, and a black Siberian cat, Shadowpaw. You can find Ed online at

Edward Willett's profile page


  • Short-listed, Best Young Adult Novel, Aurora Awards

Editorial 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


User Reviews

Clever YA

Twist of the Blade is the second book in Edward Willett’s Shards of Excalibur series, a clever and modern adaptation of the legends of King Arthur.

Ariane Forsythe has inherited the magical power of the Lady of the Lake, along with a quest: she must find the five broken pieces of the sword of Excalibur before the evil reincarnation of Merlin, Rex Major, gets his hands on it. If Rex Major gains control of Excalibur, he’ll have the power to wage war on Earth and the world of Faerie. With the help of her friend, Wally, Ariane has retrieved one piece of the sword, but now she must find the second piece quickly. She thinks it’s somewhere in France but she’ll have to find a way to get herself and Wally across the ocean first.

Things get complicated as Wally begins to suspect that Ariane’s power is changing her. Ariane isn’t sure if she needs Wally anymore and begins pushing him away. Rex Major has a plan to get to the second shard and his power over technology is only helping him act upon it. Will he succeed in tearing their friendship apart before they reach the second shard? Can Ariane control her ever-growing power without losing herself, and her friend?

Canadian readers will find themselves among familiar geography, as the series is mainly set in the author’s home city of Regina, Saskatchewan, as well as Toronto, Ontario. Of course, the setting begins to expand into other geographical areas as the characters race to find the separated pieces of Excalibur. Fantasy readers will be delighted by the subtle and not-so-subtle blend of the Arthurian legend and modern life that has Merlin texting a demon, the Lady of the Lake’s heir travelling through sink drains, and a clumsy sidekick named Walter Arthur Knight III, who may have more power than he realizes.

Anyone who enjoys other young adult series, such as Percy Jackson and the Olympians, will find much to revel in here, as these seemingly normal high school students deal with discovering their magical powers, navigating relationships, and the struggle between good and evil.

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