Cover by Jimmy Broxton [click to enlarge/close]
Shortlisted for the 2014
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
for Adult Literature
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Sleepless Knights

A Novel by Mark H. Williams

PAPERBACK: $15/£10 rrp: $19.95 can / $17.95 usa / £12.95 [isbn: 978–1–927609–01–9]

Published in the United Kingdom: August 5, 2013
Published in North America: September 24, 2013

eBOOK: $10 can (about £5.95 / €7) rrp: $14.95 usa (about £9.75 / €11,35) [isbn: 978–1–927609–02–6]

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Published in the United Kingdom: August 5, 2013
Published in North America: September 24, 2013
A knightIntroducing the publishing début of Mark. H. Williams: Sleepless Knights, a novel that blends Arthurian legends with the story of Lucas, Head Butler to Camelot and personal assistant to King Arthur.
To read the first 40-pages, click herePDF for “Day I”

Sir Lucas is butler to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table — the person who managed every quest from behind the scenes. He’s a man whose average working day involved defeating witches and banishing werewolves, while ensuring the Royal pot of tea never crossed the thin line separating ‘brewed’ from ‘stewed.’ What’s more, 1,500 years after that golden age, he’s still doing it — here in the modern world, right under our noses.

When King Arthur and six of his knights are exposed as living among us, Merlin is unleashed and a grim apocalypse unfolds, uncovering secrets from the past that King Arthur would rather stay buried. When Lucas is forced to confront his own peculiar destiny, will he choose to sacrifice his true love and lay down his life in the service of his master?

Sleepless Knights is a tale of high adventure and warm humour, with a spring in its step, a twinkle in its eye and, at its heart, the ultimate butler.

“I suggest you find something to hold on to,” I said. “I fancy this will be somewhat unorthodox.”
     I edged the car onto the embankment at the side of the road, which got progressively steeper the closer we got to the tanker. Realising that I was not about to stop for him, or indeed his vehicle, the driver ran for the safety of the surrounding fields. Between the cab of the tanker and the side of the road there was a gap exactly half the width of the Jaguar. I took the last few metres of the embankment at top speed.
     The car swung up onto its right side. The wheels left the ground, and we shot up and clear through the gap. The weight of the Grail on the roof turned us upside down in mid-air, and the momentum of the jump flipped us back round again in a perfect side roll. We landed upright on the road, on the other side of the tanker, just as its engine caught fire.
     The world exploded.

ALSO AVAILABLE: things bearing the cover art of Jimmy Broxton to wear and use

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Here are some interviews with Mr. Williams:


Praise for Sleepless Knights:

Sleepless Knights is, quite simply, a cracking good read. A cross between The Remains of the Day, Le Morte d'Arthur and Harry Potter, it's packed with charming characters, thrilling chases, intrigue and mystery. A glorious modern chapter of an age-old legend, Sleepless Knights introduces us to a distinctive and sympathetic new voice in fantasy writing.

Toby Whithouse, writer for Doctor Who, creator of Being Human

Who would have thought that a mash-up between Jeeves and King Arthur would result in such a charmingly bonkers adventure? Sleepless Knights has the kind of silly energy that inspired Monty Python and Time Bandits, and plays out like a modern-day version of The Sword in the Stone. It's clearly the Arthurian epic PG Wodehouse never got around to writing. Grail-tastic fun for all ages.

Christopher Fowler, author of Film Freak, Hell Train, and the “Bryant & May Mysteries


There’s more here than just madcap farce — although there is, indeed, plenty of that — there’s also a depth to the whimsy that echoes with regrets and mistimed love. … Williams’s voice is vaguely Rowling-esque, in that the antic wordplay and wit is tempered by an almost elegiac tone. …a heck of a lot of fun.

Adrienne Martini, reviewing for Locus Magazine (October, 2013)

NEW REVIEWI found it hilarious, and I have a feeling that even if teens don’t know all the references, many of them will too. … Williams is far from the first novelist to take a parodical approach to Arthurian legend, but he takes to it with fresh vigor and great aplomb. The knights are fully realized, while holding closely enough to their mythic selves to yield great humor. And just as the plot seems ready to reel out of control, readers realize that Williams has had a plan all along. Teens who have graduated from Rick Yancey’s “Alfred Kropp” series (Bloomsbury) will love this new take on a very old story.

Mark Flowers, John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA; for School Library Journal
(October issue of print edition, and September 23, 2013 on site)

A ‘Highly Recommended’ STAR! from “Library Journal!”As butler to King Arthur, Sir Lucas has always managed the affairs of Camelot’s elite, and he’s still doing it, as the Knights of the Round Table continue to exist, in hiding, in the modern world. When Arthur, whose connection to reality comes and goes, determines to enact a ritual bringing Merlin into the world, he does not realize that the act will also open a door to other banished creatures. As havoc in the form of wild dragons and other fantastical beasts draws the attention of the modern media, the spotlight also focuses on the knights of Camelot, whose swords and courage are all that stand between the world and destruction. Williams’s first novel begins humorously, as it imagines the heroes of Arthurian legend living quietly in the English countryside. Soon, however, the tale takes on a more serious note as it deals with the problems of those who try to live beyond their time. verdict: Written with obvious love for the Arthurian mythos, this tragic-comedy should appeal to anyone who shares a longing for the days of Camelot.

Library Journal (August 2013)

A ‘Highly Recommended’ STAR! from “Publishers Weekly!”Action and comedy duel for prominence in this brilliant debut novel about the knights of the Round Table. Sir Lucas, King Arthur’s butler, has been Arthur’s faithful servant for hundreds of years. In the modern world, it’s Lucas’s job to make sure that Arthur and his remaining six knights gather on an annual basis to drink from the Grail and continue their Eternal Quest toward “truth, justice and the Arthurian way.” When the exploits of Lancelot and Gawain make the modern news broadcasts, threatening the secrecy of the quest, desperate measures must be taken, but plans to find Merlin end up releasing a host of dragons and undead. Lucas is left, Jeeves-like, to clean up the mess, which might do more harm to Arthur’s legend than the fall of Camelot did. Lucas brings a refreshing “downstairs” sensibility to the usual heroic acts, and his fate is both surprising and entirely satisfying. Williams, an experienced playwright and television writer, has created a delightful addition to the Arthurian canon. (Aug.)

Publishers Weekly (6/17/2013, Vol. 260 Issue 24)

Mark Williams’ dazzling début shakes up Arthurian legend into a wildly inventive, roller coaster ride of thrills, hilarity, dark fantasy and brilliant characterisation all written with an exquisite elegance befitting the originality of the tale. Treat yourself.

Muriel Gray author of The Trickster, Furnace, and The Ancient

Wonderful neo-chivalric highjinks. Williams gleefully takes the training wheels off the Arthurian cycle.

Mike Carey, author of the “Felix Castor” novels and The Unwritten

One of the most imaginative and original books I have read in ages. This type of out there fiction is right up my street. Give me more!

Darren Craske, author of The Lantern Menace, Above His Station, Before His Time,
as well as “The Cornelius Quaint Chronicles

4/5 What more do you want?
Thrills, action, comedy all mixed up in the world of myths and legends, the book has it all. Highly recommended.

Crockers, a reader (9 Oct 2013)


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