The wizard Merlin took Uther Pendragon's first-born to be raised in safety.

In time, as Merlin had foreseen, the child drew the sword from the stone and was proclaimed King of England.

Merlin was always a big-picture thinker. If he'd been a details guy, he might have noticed that the child was a girl.

Can Martha unite the land and usher in a golden age of chivalry, all while maintaining her secret identity?



King Mark is the greatest king who ever lived. Everybody loves him and wants to be just like him.

There is no knight in all of Cornwall who is stronger or more popular than King Mark.

Not any more, anyway.

All hail King Mark!

Hip-hip-hooray!

Hip-hip-hooray!

(Seriously, if you want to stay out of the dungeon, cheer louder.)



Martha's To-Do List:

  • Get Born.
  • Pull the sword from the stone.
  • Become King.
  • Fight wars.
  • Forge alliances.
  • Unite Britain.
  • Slay giants.
  • Conquer an empire.
  • Battle evil sorcery.
  • Assemble the world's greatest knights.
  • Set an example for the Round Table.
  • Become legend.

... a woman's work is never done.


Mark's To-Do List:

  • Become King.
  • Kill anyone who threatens me.
  • Kill anyone who's stronger than me.
  • Kill anyone who annoys me.
  • Utilise evil sorcery.
  • Destroy the world's greatest knights.
  • Undermine and betray the Round Table.

... a tyrant's work is never done.

Sources

Sources, Resources & Inspirations

Malory

Malory's Works

The language may be offputting, but if you can get used to the 15th century's multiple-choice attitude to spelling, then a decent glossary will cut through a lot of the obscurity.

Excalibur

Excalibur

Not without its flaws, but for me, this is still the best film version of the King Arthur story.

The Gough Map

The Gough Map

Its age is a bit uncertain, but it seems to be roughly contemporaneous with Malory. It also seems to share his sense that Orkney was more important than mere geography might suggest.

The Middle Ages Unlocked

The Middle Ages
Unlocked

I wish I'd had this book when I started doing general background research for this story. It may be a few centuries off from my setting, but there are some great nuggets in here about various aspects of life in medieval times.

Secrets of the Castle

Secrets of
the Castle

I'm a sucker for TV shows where people make reasonably complex things from scratch. And who doesn't love castles? So this docu-series about an "Experimental Archaeology" site where people are building a 14th-century-style castle - using period-appropriate tools, techniques and materials - is right up my alley. And I learned a thing or two about what building and living in a castle may have actually been like.

Full Metal Jousting

Full Metal
Jousting

There seems to have been a brief surge of interest in trying to revive jousting as a modern sport, resulting in TV shows like Knights of Mayhem as well as this 10-episode contest. The format doesn't do much for me, and the armour is disappointingly uniform and boxy, but when you want to draw two people trying to knock each other off their horses, there's no better reference than guys doing exactly that.

Early British Kingdoms

EBK

David Nash Ford's Early British Kingdoms site has some sections on where Arthurian legend meets history and geography. While I prefer not to bog down mythology in facts, it's sometimes good to have a rough idea where the events are supposed to have taken place.

The History Of Rome podcast

The History Of
Rome podcast

Some episodes of Mike Duncan's excellent The History Of Rome podcast are over ten years old now, but still worth a listen if you like your history well-considered, bite-sized and sometimes entertainingly cynical. I've enjoyed the whole thing, and found it particularly useful in figuring out how to mesh fact with fiction in Chapter 7.

Lit Brick

Lit Brick

If I'm honest, I may never have started this comic without John Troutman's example of finding the funny in a wide variety of serious literary works - including several different versions of Arthuriana.

Life in a Medieval Castle

Life in a
Medieval
Castle

A fascinating look at how castles worked and evolved, particularly in Norman Britain. It's also one of a whole series on related topics by the same authors.

Project Gutenberg

Project
Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an amazing resource for a story like this. You can find multiple editions of Malory, along with translations of many of the earlier works his stories were based on, and it's all free!

The Camelot Project

The Camelot
Project

The University of Rochester's Camelot Project (not to be confused with "Project Camelot") is also a great source, especially for articles about particular aspects of Arthuriana and poems, paintings etc. inspired by the subject.