Fil Reid has been writing since she was five years old and was given a Petite Children's Typewriter for her birthday. As a child she wrote (and read) exclusively pony stories, but as an adult she's branched out into historical fiction. Her magnum opus is the six book chronicle of Guinevere, three of which are already published.
She has five children and seven grandchildren and lives in the South of England.
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Welcome to Book One in Guinevere, an exciting series steeped in Arthurian legends, history, and time travel – from award-winning author Fil Reid.
Gwen goes to scatter her Arthurian scholar father’s ashes on Glastonbury Tor, and in the ruined church tower, she picks up a gold ring embossed with a dragon emblem. This snatches her back 1500 years into the dangerous world of the Dark Ages.
The Merlin tells her she’s destined to become the Guinevere – of the legends her father devoted his life to studying – and fulfill a prophecy by marrying Prince Arthur. Only with her help can he become the famous King Arthur.
If anyone is less enthused about this idea than Gwen, it’s him. Tall, handsome, and ruthless, he doesn’t truly believe any prophecy can decide his future. Son of the ailing King Uthyr Pendragon, he’s ruled the hilltop fortress of Din Cadan for his father since he was sixteen. But his jealous older brother is set to inherit both the kingdom and the High Kingship – so when news comes that Uthyr is dying in far-off Viroconium, Arthur sets off to stake his own claim.
He takes Gwen with him, putting more and more distance between her and the Tor, where she believes she can return home. But as time passes, her intention to leave wanes. While the lure of modern comforts and familiar faces is strong, the pull between her and Arthur grows ever more enticing…
And a kingdom’s future will be decided by her choice.
Guinevere: The Dragon Ring
I didn't need Merlin to tell me who the warrior with the bear emblem was. I knew without a doubt that the man riding up the slope towards us was Arthur. I think I would...
Book Excerpt or Article
I didn’t need Merlin to tell me who the warrior with the bear emblem was. I knew without a doubt that the man riding up the slope toward us was Arthur. I think I would have known even if I hadn’t recognised his shield from the duplicate hanging in his bedchamber. Forty yards away, boys came running out of the stables to take their horses. It seemed that when you were a prince you didn’t need to look after your own animal.
He was tall, his long dark hair plastered to his head by the rain. A voluminous cloak draped around his shoulders partly obscured the glitter of a ring mail shirt. Beside him, the red-headed fish warrior said something that made him laugh, and he punched the other man playfully in the shoulder. Laughter rippled through the rest of the warriors, as they too swung down from their horses with the exhausted air of men who’d ridden all night.
“Wait here. Don’t move.” Merlin strode down the slope, leaving me with only the two guards for company.
He reached Arthur and his red-headed companion. I watched him speak to them, saw their heads turn and look up the slope towards the hall and me, saw Merlin put his hand on Arthur’s arm, and the red-headed warrior return Arthur’s playful punch. The three of them began to walk up the slope towards me.
I put a hand on one of the door posts to steady myself. The roughness under my fingers grounded me in reality. Here, walking up the rise through the rain, was living, breathing proof that everything my father had believed was true. I took a deep breath and raised my chin.
They stopped in front of me. The fish warrior stood the tallest, solidly built and wide shouldered. Arthur, in the centre, was an altogether leaner specimen than the fish warrior. I stared at him: heavy, black brows above eyes so dark they could have been black, too, a long aquiline nose betraying his Roman ancestry, and a week’s growth of dark beard. A white scar puckered his left cheek from just below the eye, and a blood-stained bandage covered his left hand.
“Welcome to Din Cadan, Lady Guinevere,” he said. His voice was deeper than Merlin’s, a voice for issuing orders, not reading poetry.
Should I curtsey? Bow? What?
“May I present my brother, Cei of Tintagel.”
The red-haired fish warrior bowed, and when he straightened, I saw he was finding something about this funny. Blue eyes sparkled with mirth. I couldn’t for the life of me see what it might be.
“Shall we go inside out of this rain?” Merlin said, nodding to the two guards, and they stepped aside.
The hearth fire now blazed, and torches flamed brightly on several pillars in the hall. After the grey rain outside, the interior glowed with warm light. Arthur thumped his shield down on the nearest table, and having undone the clasp on his wet cloak, threw that down on top of it, revealing his heavy, ring mail shirt.
“We well and truly walloped them,” he said, unbuckling his sword belt.
Merlin took the sword and laid it on the table. “How many were there?”
“Two keels of raiders. They’d burnt a fishing village to the ground and loaded the young women into their boats when we came on them.”
Cei helped him pull the mail shirt over his head, leaving him standing in a sandy-brown quilted tunic and close-fitting leather braccae.
Arthur gave Merlin a grin. “Their ships were still drawn up on the sands. We attacked as they tried to launch them.”
He began to help his brother out of his armour.
“And the women? Did you manage to save them?” Merlin’s eyes were on the bandaged hand. There was dried blood encrusted on it.
Cei nodded. He was a big man even without his armour, raw boned with a square-jawed face and high cheek bones. Beside him, both Arthur and Merlin looked slight, which they weren’t. “We got ’em all. And a fair number of the raiders – but we took no prisoners. Not worth it. We put ’em all to the sword as they’d done to the men of the fishing village.”
They were casually talking about killing people, and it meant nothing because it wasn’t real. I should be feeling something. Men had died. Probably women and children, too, at least on the British side. Yet I felt nothing.
Merlin’s brow furrowed. “And the ships?”
Arthur answered this time. “They managed to get one of them into the surf, so we sent fire arrows after it. Their sails burnt, but they put the fires out and rowed away with what men they had left. The other one we burned on the beach.”
Arthur’s face clouded. “Many, amongst the villagers, and a couple of our men wounded. None dead.”
Arthur glanced down as though seeing it for the first time. “Oh that. It’s nothing. I’ll get Tinwaun to take a look at it later.”
Merlin frowned. “What did you put on it?”
“A poultice of sage leaves Bedwyr had in his pouch.”
That didn’t sound ideal. The bandage looked anything but clean, the outer part grey and wet, the edges crusted with dried blood. It needed to be taken off as soon as possible and the wound dressed properly. But dare I say so? Neither Arthur nor Cei had so much as glanced at me once we’d entered the hall and they’d started telling Merlin how their expedition had gone. It was as though I didn’t exist, which was ironic, as most of my father’s academic friends had been convinced it was they who had never existed.
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