Black Blade
by Alexander Charalambides
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: June 11th 2017

Summary:

Lance is a hero.

With his friend Megan, he does his best to survive high school in a world that doesn’t always make sense, and is almost never fair.

When their school receives a donation from an anonymous millionaire, Lance and Megan find themselves on an international field trip to England, where the two receive an irresistible call to a supernatural adventure that could change their destinies, and the destiny of the country, forever.

Together with three mysterious adults who all claim to be wizards, Lance must safe-guard the legendary Excalibur. Traveling into a strange parallel world and keeping his friends, new and old, safe from harm at the hands of a malevolent army of magical soldiers, Lance discovers the truth about heroism and the content of his character.

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Guest Post – The Art of Sword Fighting

I’m going to be honest, because the topic of this post is supposed to be “the art of sword fighting”, but there’s no actual sword fighting in Black Blade. Sorry.

What’s sort of funny is that really, the whole book is about this sword (Excalibur, maybe you’ve heard of it?) but more in a symbolic sense, so while I can’t really talk about sword fighting beyond the role it plays in a single scene, I hope I can lay out how the idea of a sword as a symbol sort of inspired the whole story.

The core of my inspiration was the idea that a sword as a symbol covers a whole spectrum of different concepts, and after spending a while conflating and condensing them I realized that not only were they powerful, fundamental symbols, most were contradictory.

First and most obvious is power, the very simple advantage you gain from having a weapon, and this shift between armed and unarmed sort of felt to me like the prologue of a classic myth, before the hero inherits their power, and since the power of a sword is almost always male (let’s not get into why, but you know) I immediately started to think of classic fantasy (mostly Conan). However, since I’m a YA obsessed insane person, I began to think about how that sort of hero would make sense in a modern world which neatly leads us into the next two ideas, which we can’t really separate, since these are the contradictory ones I mentioned earlier.

Nobility, or obligation, if you like, since they seem to have a subconscious connection. I knew the hero of this story would have to be charged with a duty, probably a quest (how else do you get a magic sword?) but this would contrast with the other, more realistic meaning of a sword: violence.

The element of violence is what tied the whole thing together for me, and once I realized that, the story had almost written itself: take the very teen feeling of powerlessness, combine it with an apparent obligation and the (again very teen) sense of moral superiority that comes from it, and then add in the logical conclusion. What happens to this person when confronted with reality and who would be so cruel as to deceive them in the first place?

You have to read the book to find out. I have tricked you.

About the Author
Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire.He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.In 2008 he moved to the United States, and now lives in New Hampshire. As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.
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