Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.
Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.
Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball…and the human heart.
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of twentieth-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her imprint Pendragon Cove Press.
Praise for the Book
“Packed with politics, pop culture, sports, business, time travel, magic, deceit, humor and love, this story will keep you enthralled right up to the end. Whether you have ever read an Arthurian romance before or not, give this one a try. I am sure you will love it as much as I did.” ~ Dottie of Romance Junkies
“KASIWC is irresistible, passionate, and intriguing. Definitely check out this amazing new Arthurian Romance!” ~ Jill of Arthurian Romances
“It’s like Ms. Headlee has the touch of Twain in her.” ~ Darlene of Mousiey Books
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EXCERPT (from A Word of Explanation; ~150 words)
ALL CALL ME Queen. For my unparalleled skills in leechcraft, most call me “The Wise.” No man dares call me “le Fay,” lest he die.
I hight Morgan.
That is to say, my name is Morgan, so chosen by my mother, Duchess Igraine, to honor the Great Queen of the Old Religion, Mór Rigan, goddess of war. My mother never knew how prophetic her choice would prove to be.
I am the daughter of Duke Gorlois, the sister of Queen Margawse and Queen Elaine, the wife of King Uriens of Gore, and the mother of Sir Uwaine of the Table Round. Blessed good fortune made me all of these things.
By the capricious hand of ill fortune, King Arthur became my younger half brother, spawned upon my most virtuous and blameless mother by that demon in man’s raiment, Uther Pendragon.
I despised Arthur from the very hour of his birth.
EXCERPT (from Chapter II: King Henry’s Court; ~175 words)
“Ah, Connecticut. Nay, fair Queen Morgan, that land lies many leagues to the north.” After nodding northward, King Henry spread his arms wide. “I bid thee well come to Crownsville, and I further bid thee and thy comely companion”—King Henry smiled at Lady Jane—“to join us at the feast anon.”
Queen Anne cast her liege husband a disconcerted glance but glided forward, smiling and extending both her hands toward me, which I did grasp warmly; and she said: “Aye, Queen Morgan, thou art ever well come to feast with us on this most glorious of Saturdays, the twenty-third day of September in the year of Our Lord fifteen thirty-four.”
If I could lay head to heel the bodies of every loser of every tournament in every realm since the birth of Our Lord, even should such a line compass the entire kingdom, ’twould not come nigh unto compassing my anguish upon hearing that my enchantment had missed its mark by more than three full centuries.
I concealed my dismay as I accepted the royal invitation.
EXCERPT (from Chapter XV: Sandy’s Statistics, ~140 words)
“Is—is this you?” Sandy whispered.
“What is this book?” I asked.
He left his finger to mark the page and with the other hand flipped over the cover, upon which I read, A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and, beneath a fanciful yet ridiculous coat of arms, “Mark Twain.”
Ah. This must be the tome to which Clarice had alluded when we first met, when at the fair in Crownsville I was treated to a reenactment of events straight off a page of my ancient life. True to her promise, Clarice had procured me a copy—though not as old as this one—yet I had been too deeply engaged with Malory’s campaigns to have a go at reading it.
I said, “’Tis a reasonable likeness, do you not agree?”
He nodded, but his pallor increased a shade or two.
EXCERPT (from Chapter XXIV: A Rival Player; ~200 words)
“Grief? Is that how you view our relationship? Naught but grief?”
“No, of course not, but—”
“Indeed. Then how do you view it?”
He rolled his eyes. “You know how I feel about you—privately, that is. I just don’t appreciate my judgment being questioned on the job all the time. Believe it or not, Boss, I do want what’s best for the team, and I do know what the team needs; but I can’t deliver it to you under these conditions—it’s like I’m bound and gagged. I can’t operate like that. Either free me to do my job for the Knights or free me to do it elsewhere.” His gaze turned soft and sad. “Please.”
Oh, God, he used that magic word on me—me, mistress of magic, and I stood helpless to resist its effect. The rage that had built within my breast throughout his speech seeped from me like helium from a balloon, leaving the skin inflated but with no volition to rise from the floor. Quietly I said:
“Very well, Sandy Carter, if your job means more to you than I do, then you are fired.”
EXCERPT (from Chapter XXV: A Competitive Examination; ~120 words)
Being queen means always getting one’s way, and in the end, the board had to bow to my wish to invite Prince Peter to become Patron of the Knights, which he accepted with the grace and speed of a leopard on the hunt.
I must admit in retrospect the move was an unequivocal disaster. It did carry the singular advantage of my being invited to the über-posh Royal Box; but the sex was only fair, and Prince Peter’s public entourage, which included a cloud of hopeful young women, and ever so many photographers hoping to film him with anybody in a compromising pose, was an annoyance of imperial proportions.
They do not make royalty like they used to.
EXCERPT (from Chapter XXVIII: Drilling the President; ~160 words)
During a stop scheduled for fueling the dragon on our way back to DC, I took Malory aside and said:
“You have spent four days trying to be someone else. Strike that—as a politician, you have spent your entire career trying to be someone else. Do you even know how to be yourself?”
Panic dominated her countenance. “What are you talking about? My PR staff, through countless hours of study and research, has determined the image I need to project to maximize my popularity, and that is what I have been doing all this time.”
“Have you, now? And how is that working out for you?”
I knew very well the answer to that question, and I had a feeling so did she; I was testing whether she was willing to admit her failing to another.
The droop of her chin was my answer. A moment later, her chin rebounded, and defiance flashed from her gaze. “What would you suggest?”
EXCERPT (from Chapter XXXIII: Twenty-first Century Political Economy; ~140 words)
Conversation was sparse, awkward, and inconsequential until Malory laid down her fork, nailed Dowley with her gaze, and said:
“Dan, you know you had that coming, what with all the verbal shots you’ve been taking at me of late. It has to stop. We’re in the same party, for God’s sake. All this sniping is bad form.”
“If I discontinue my opposition tactics and support you, what’s in it for me?”
The cheeky bastard! I would have racked him on the spot.
Malory said, “Why, the ’88 Presidential nomination, of course.”
This, of course, would be for naught if Malory became President for Life. Promises made by twenty-first-century politicians were rarely kept; how anything of import ever got accomplished in this hellish climate of false hope being strung along by true deceit lay far beyond my ken.
EXCERPT (from Chapter XXXVII: An Awful Predicament, ~130 words)
PRADA HEELS MAY turn many a head, but they are sheer hell for running. A constable stopped me before I could exit the park.
“What happened back there, missus?”
“A man attacked me. I defended myself and escaped.”
“He’s dead, you know.”
“Is he? Oh, my!” Of course I knew he was dead; it seemed best to play dumb.
“Your name, missus?”
I felt more than a trifle taken aback that the constable did not recognize me, and so I did not answer right away. The constable was not pleased to repeat the query.
“Morganna Hanks, owner of the Knights.”
“Right. Prove it. Show me your ID, please.”
I could not, I realized with mounting dread. “I—may we go back? I must have dropped my purse in the scuffle.”
EXCERPT (from Chapter XLI: The Dictum; ~200 words)
Sandy said in an endearingly hopeful way, “Do you want me to stay?”
I wish he had not phrased it that way; of course I wanted him to stay! Of a sudden I had never wanted anything more acutely in my life. But sometimes wants have nothing to do with the way things must be. I said as gently as I knew how:
“If Ambrose has come all this way to speak with me, then I suspect he would prefer a private audience. Do not worry, my love, I shall be fine.” I conveyed my further assurances with a kiss that I hoped was more convincing to Sandy than I felt.
“I’ll wait on the other side of the door. If there’s a problem, just give a shout, and I’ll be here in an instant.”
Our second—and final—kiss felt deeper and sweeter than all its numberless predecessors combined. It took my full exertion of will to keep the tears from slipping free. At last we parted. He rose, stooped to brush his lips across the top of my head, and left my office.
Sandy is—was—will be—such a daisy.