Excerpt & Giveaway: Mistress of Legend by Nicole Evelina

Happy Saturday, dear readers! Today I am hosting an excerpt from Nicole Evelina's Mistress of Legend! There's also a giveaway for a set of the Guinevere's Tale Trilogy, so be sure to enter!

Mistress of Legend by Nicole Evelina

Publication Date: September 15, 2018
Lawson Gartner Publishing
Paperback, eBook, AudioBook; 412 Pages

Series: Guinevere's Tale, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction/Arthurian/Fantasy

Legend says Guinevere spent her final days in penance in a convent, but that is far from the truth.

Having escaped death at the stake, Guinevere longs to live a peaceful life in Brittany with Lancelot, but the threat of Arthur’s wrath quickly separates the lovers. Guinevere finds herself back in Camelot, but it is not the peaceful capital she once knew; the loyalty of the people is divided over Arthur’s role in her death sentence. When war draws Arthur away from Britain, Mordred is named acting king. With Morgan at his side and a Saxon in his bed, Mordred’s thirst for power becomes his undoing and the cause of Guinevere’s greatest heartache.

In the wake of the deadly battle that leaves the country in civil war, Guinevere’s power as the former queen is sought by everyone who seeks to ascend the throne. Heartbroken and refusing to take sides in the conflict, she flees north to her mother’s Votadini homeland, where she is at long last reunited with Lancelot. The quiet life she desires is just beginning when warring tribal factions once again thrust her into an unexpected position of power. Now charged with ending an invasion that could bring an end to the Votadini tribe and put the whole island in the hands of the Saxons, Guinevere must draw upon decades of experience to try to save the people she loves and is sworn to protect.

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Imagining Guinevere’s Life After King Arthur

This is the second scene in Mistress of Legend. It takes place right after Lancelot rescues a badly-burned Guinevere from the stake. Arthur’s men have caught up with them and are bringing her back to Camelot because Arthur wishes to apologize and pardon her, as his bishop condemned her without his consent. The Combrogi referenced below are what we would today call the Knights of the Round Table.

They carried me to Camelot on a stretcher. While it was not quite the indignity of being transported in a prisoner’s cart or forced to walk behind the Combrogi in chains, it certainly was not the entrance any soon-to-be-redeemed queen wished to make. But I did not really care, for my wounds turned even breathing and blinking into torture. They throbbed and burned, rubbed even rawer against the fabric of the stretcher with every jolt. My fever came and went, plunging me into nightmarish visons where I relived my failed execution and created far worse fates for myself, only to be brought back to reality with startling clarity when the heat relaxed its grip.

I was between bouts of delirium when Camelot came into view. The castle loomed large on the hillside above as we trod the hidden track to a private entrance, rather than the wide thoroughfare used by noble guests, merchants, and all manner of visitors. The people need not know I had returned. There was no need to stir up a mob now, especially when I needed peace and quiet to heal. They would have plenty of time to voice their joy or displeasure later.

Seeing this place, this dream begun by Arthur’s father and fulfilled in our reign, through fresh eyes was strange. When I’d first seen it as a new bride so many years ago, it was to me a place of wonder and majesty, a place of light and welcome. Now, its shadows held dominance, swallowing up the comfort I used to find within its walls, daring me to attempt to find solace here.

Kay and Aggrivane had just carried me into my old bedroom when Arthur met us. Grainne and Morgan—Arthur’s second wife and my lifelong enemy—trailed in his wake, their blue robes of priestesshood covered by thick off-white aprons that signaled their readiness to see to my wounds as soon as I was released into their care. Arthur dashed to my side, his eyes widening as he took in my scarred face and neck, all that was currently visible from beneath my clothing.

“Guinevere! Sweet Mother of God, what have I done?” Arthur brought a hand to his blond beard, covering his mouth.

“You’ve nearly killed her, that’s what you’ve done,” Grainne shot back, already examining me.

Morgan moved in to help transfer me to the bed, but Arthur stepped in front of her. Her eyes widened in offense. If I was not in so much pain, I would have laughed.

Arthur leaned down to me, his blue eyes softened with tenderness and grief. “I did not intend to kill you, please know that. I gave no order, despite what you may have been
told. You must believe me.”

“Arthur, move away and let us work,” Morgan snapped, elbowing past her husband. She dripped a few drops of a bitter liquid onto my lips, and I instinctively licked them away before recognizing my error.

“No. I will not let you poison me too,” I yelled, flailing my right arm at her and trying to sit up. A wave of nausea pushed me back to the pillows.

Grainne held me down with muscles honed from years of birthing babies and wrestling recalcitrant patients like me. “Stop fighting us. No one is trying to poison you. It is only a small dose of poppy juice, just enough to make you sleep. You do not want to be awake to experience what is to come.”

“Why did she accuse you of poisoning her?” Arthur asked Morgan. When she ignored him, slicing into my dress with a dagger to expose the extent of my injuries, he turned to me. “What did you mean, Guinevere? You said ‘too.’ Who has she poisoned?”

I attempted to answer, but my lips felt swollen and my tongue wouldn’t obey my commands. Snorting out a breath, I balled my fists and tried again, but the effort was
too great. Blackness tugged at my eyelids, making them feel as though they were made of wet sand.

Finally, I managed to slur, “You,” before I slipped into unconsciousness.

More information about this book can be found on Nicole’s website. Need to catch up? Nicole has released a single-volume of the entire Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy as well.

A box set containing Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen, and Mistress of Legend

Guinevere is remembered for her role as King Arthur’s wife and for her adulterous affair with Lancelot. But there is so much more to her story…

Priestess. Queen. Warrior. Experience the world of King Arthur through Guinevere’s eyes as she matures from a young priestess who never dreamed of becoming queen to the stalwart defender of a nation and a mistress whose sin would go down in history. Throughout it all, Guinevere she faces threats from both foreign powers and within her own court that lead her to place her very life on the line to protect the dream of Camelot and save her people.

This compendium of Nicole Evelina’s two-time Book of the Year award-winning trilogy – Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen, and Mistress of Legend – gives fresh life to an age-old tale by adding historical context and emotional depth. Spanning more than three decades, it presents Guinevere as an equal to the famous men she is remembered for loving, while providing context for her controversial decisions and visiting little-known aspects of her life before and after her marriage to King Arthur.

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About the Author

03_Nicole Evelina
Nicole Evelina is a historical fiction, non-fiction, and women’s fiction author whose five books –Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen, Been Searching for You, Madame Presidentess and The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend (nonfiction) – have won more than 30 awards, including three Book of the Year designations.

Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent Journal, Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness.

Nicole is currently working on Mistress of Legend (September 15), the final novel in her Guinevere's Tale historical fantasy trilogy and researching two future non-fiction books. She also teaches online writing and business classes for authors at Professional Author Academy.

Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 10
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Daughter of Destiny)

Wednesday, December 12
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, December 13
Review at A Book Geek (Daughter of Destiny)

Friday, December 14
Interview at Donna's Book Blog

Saturday, December 15
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (Daughter of Destiny)

Sunday, December 16
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective (Mistress of Legend)

Tuesday, December 18
Review at Book Nerd (Camelot's Queen)

Thursday, December 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Camelot's Queen)

Friday, December 21
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 27
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (Camelot's Queen)

Friday, December 28
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit (Mistress of Legend)

Saturday, December 29
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Mistress of Legend)

Sunday, December 30
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Mistress of Legend)

Monday, December 31
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Curling up by the Fire (Mistress of Legend)

Wednesday, January 2
Review at Book Nerd (Mistress of Legend)

Thursday, January 3
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (Mistress of Legend)


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a boxed set of The Guinevere's Tale Trilogy in paperback (US only) and one set in eBook (international)! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– PB Giveaway is open to US residents only & eBook Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Mistress of Legend

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