Of Blood and Light
Author: C. Monk
Publication date: April 30th 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Arthurian legend, bodice-ripping, and capybaras: welcome to Thule.
A girl with a secret . . .
In the back of an ambulance, River Greer counts each breath her little sister takes until the final one: Sage’s body is giving up, ravaged by a mysterious illness. The late-night rush to the ER, however, turns into a surreal nightmare when River is abducted and ferried across the universe to the fabled Thule: a world beyond worlds, where Victorian mores collide with magic and Arthurian legend.
. . . meets a knight on a mission to save his world.
There, his grace Hadrian Landevale of Caid is fighting losing battles of his own: to recover Isolde, his runaway wife, and against the blight that threatens the ichor, the source of all life on Thule. To add insult to injury, the captured fugitive Thule pathfinders just brought back from Earth is not his duchess but an eerie doppelgänger.
When it becomes clear that someone on Thule will go to any length to silence River, Hadrian offers his protection to this enchanting, obstinate stranger . . . whose secrets might be the key to saving Thule’s most precious treasure: the light in its blood.
“That Table you keep talking about, what is it? Some sort of court of justice?”
His brow pinches in apparent surprise before he reaches to undo the gold cuffs of his sleeve. He rolls it back until the folded linen reveals a tattoo of an intricate Celtic wheel on the underside of his arm. I lean closer, studying the whirling curves inked on pale skin and lean muscle.
“What does it represent?” My fingertips itch from the urge to touch it. I’m the daughter of a tattoo artist. Ink often speaks to me louder than words, and it’s as if a tiny door has just unlocked between His Grace and me. There’s at least a part of him I can maybe understand.
“This is the symbol of the Round Table at which I sit, one among twenty-three knights and their king, linked as one.”
I just stare, completely motionless, my mouth hanging open as I recall something he said this morning: I sit at the Table that makes the laws. “As in . . . King Arthur’s table?”
“Arthur died a very long time ago, but I’m aware that his legend has survived him on Earth.”
“You could say that. And so, he was . . . from here?”
“He was our first king and the leader who unified our scattered tribes and guided them back to Thule. He and another being you probably know as Merlin shepherded the tribes through the first path to what would become Camelot, the beating heart of our kingdom. He gave lost ichorites a new home and gave us a Table, at which the descendants of his knights have sat and advised the rulers of Logres for eighteen centuries.”
I drink in his words, remembering a documentary I watched years ago about ancient geographers. One of them, the Greek Pytheas, was the first to ever mention Thule in the fourth century. He gave a bizarre account of traveling north to a faraway place where neither land, air, nor sea existed but rather what he called “a mixture of all three,” which, according to him, humans couldn’t breathe. A place one can neither walk nor sail to . . . I close my eyes and feel again the way my body came apart inside the path, that absolute light where nothing was, not even me. Could that be the journey he tried to describe with words that made sense to no one but him?
“You’re a knight of the Round Table,” I murmur, studying the knots impressed into Hadrian’s skin, interlaced in a never-ending circle. Twenty-four linked as one. I didn’t mean to touch him, but my fingers find a will of their own as they graze his tattoo, follow the path of a vein running underneath. Things unknown and forgotten, pages of children’s books and secret dreams—they’re all embodied by the man standing in front of me.
about the author
Visit camillamonk.com for signed books, updates on upcoming titles, free reads, and giveaways.
C. Monk grew up in a Franco-American family and rose to dubious fame with a romantic suspense series starring an OCD-ridden hitman and a wide array of strange and occasionally angry animals. These days she shares her writing time between high-octane adventures in the same vein and fantasy, her secret love (but with weird animals, too.)
In another life, she lived in Paris and Tokyo, and spent ten years in advertising, building rickety websites for M&A boutiques and hedge funds. All of that somehow landed her in Montréal, where she keeps a close watch on the squirrels and complains on a daily basis about the egregious number of Tim Hortons.