"Blackbird Rising" By Keri Arthur: Using Medieval Magic

by Sharon Tucker

This week all of our giveaways will be ebooks in honor of Earth Day. Details on how to win an ebook copy of the book, and links to purchase it, at the end of this review.

Now, said Sir Ector to Arthur, I understand ye must be king of this land. Wherefore I, said Arthur, and for what cause? Sir said Ector, for God will have it so; for there should never man have drawn out this sword, but he that shall be rightwise king of this land.― Sir Thomas Mallory, King Arthur and His Knights

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It is one thing to perform a protection spell every year because it is a family tradition, it is quite another to see the forgotten reason for it burst upon you in deadly fashion as did Gwen De Montfort on King’s Island that gray morning. Curating the memorial stone that housed the Aquitaine’s sword had long been the responsibility of the De Montfort’s and that was why on this first day of the year Gwen drove through fog, crossed the suspension bridge to King’s Island, and approached the sharp rock that held the sword. What happened put her and her limited skills to the test. Had it not been for some unseen aid at the crucial moment, she would have died blessed blades or no. An attempt to steal the sword from the memorial stone in the first pages sets the tone for Keri Arthur’s first in a new series Blackbird Rising (2020).

The ceremony may be medieval and the names Arthurian, but the England of the novel is not. Gwen’s family is the last in a line of shapeshifters who also have other abilities and protect much else. Underpinning this England resembling our own, what has kept the balance between the worlds of magic and the mundane is their rulers’ alliances and intermarriages with the magically adept. In the midst of swooping Mini-Coopers and motorcycles, threatened artifacts in the Tower, and discovery of a hecatomb (mass human sacrifice), Gwen de Montfort is in over her head. A plot is afoot to pick off the distant heirs to England’s throne clearing the way to usurpation engineered by dark forces in co-operation with turncoats—including perhaps her own kin and a former lover. Can she save what’s left of her family and can she and a seeming Aragorn keep the symbols of power safe for the true king (or queen) to come?

It is good to be back in a world built by Keri Arthur. No matter how fanciful the storyline, whether it’s set on a working science fictional planet system or in a fantasy version of modern living, readers enjoy her earthy characters who work for a living, no matter how ethereal or mundane the tasks. Gwen is a blackbird, a shape shifter, and she has lived a quiet life running the bookstore and herbal shop with her grandmother, indulging her wayward twin brother and enjoying her calm life. However, how completely one morning’s events can upend lives, governments, and the balance between worlds.

Oh, I hope there are more of these.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Blackbird Rising, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "blackbird,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 25, 2020. You must be at least 18 to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

You can find more fantasy reviews in out Fantasy and Fangs section on KRL and the fantasy category here on KRL News and Reviews.

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Sharon Tucker is former faculty at the University of Memphis in Memphis TN, and now enjoys evening supervising in that campus library. Having forsworn TV except for online viewing and her own movies, she reads an average of 3 to 4 books per week and has her first novel---a mystery, of course---well underway.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. New author to me. Thanks for the chance.


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