One more day to go! And today, we check in with Jon Black, Merlin, and Bel Nemeton! 

Welcome back to the 12 Books of Christmas! Every day, we’ll feature a book from our store. Each featured book will have a new article from the author (or curator for the anthologies in the lineup) with some new insights.

And we hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!



From the Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll Award-Winning Author Jon Black…

Carvings have been unearthed in the Middle East. They bear impossible names–Arthur and Merlin, albeit in a native transliteration. How did these names come so far? Do they imply the existence of a historical Arthur and Merlin? The scholars do what they always do. They arrange a discussion.

But scholars aren’t the only attendees. After heavily-armed mercenaries steal the stone, Dr. Vivian Cuinnsey is forced to work with Jake Booker, a self-professed treasure hunter. Can he be trusted? Or is he just one more force after Merlin’s treasure for personal profit?

From the Middle East to the caves of Israel to German record rooms to Oxford’s secret underworld, chase Vivian and Jake in their pursuit of Merlin’s greatest treasure.

We asked Jon Black some questions about Bel Nemeton

Tell us about this series!

Bel Nemeton was born from a simple “what if?” In this case, “What if, after King Arthur’s death and Camelot’s fall, Merlin left Britain behind and wandered the world-seeing everything that could been seen and learning all there was to learn?”

The story unfolds from two points of view. First, directly through Merlin’s eyes in 6th century historical fantasy. Second, in a 21st century action/adventure arc, as linguistics professor Dr. Vivian Cuinnsey and sketchy treasure hunter Jake Booker set aside their differences to race an evil archeologist and his henchmen to Merlin’s tomb and its fabled treasure.

Encouraged by 18thWall Productions to develop that concept into a series, upcoming books will see Bel Nemeton’s protagonists return to the pages as that same duality of 6th century historical fantasy and 21st century pulp delivers a quirky and distinctive take on the entire Arthur cycle.

The Arthurian legends are rich, varied, and often weird. What aspects of the legends keep you up all night, pulling out your hair, as you wonder “How am I going to adapt that”?

Just like they did to Merlin, the Saxons are one of the things that keep me up at night. How do I handle them? Do I treat them like Nazis in an Indiana Jones flick, faceless fodder for shooting (or stabbing)? Or do I give them depth, individuality, and nuance? I still don’t know. And, while I know what my take on Lancelot is, I still don’t know how and when to integrate him into the series. Finally, I’m still struggling with the holy grail of any Arthurian series … the Holy Grail.

We’ve seen you call Vivian your favorite “child.” What makes her stand out to you like that?

Dr. Cuinnsey’s interests and passions are fundamentally similar to mine: linguistics, travel, archaeology, history, mythology & folklore, and international cuisine. Of course, she’s also a world-renowned linguist who gets to travel to exotic destinations in pursuit of those interests. A big part of the joy of writing Vivian has always been playing her against type … an academic with a two-fisted streak who, from the first moment of danger, loves mixing it up with henchmen and foiling their shadowy masterminds.

”If I were a betting man,” we’d bet something exciting is coming for Vivian, Jake, and the Bel Nemeton readers! We’d also bet you could tease it…

The next book in the series is called Caledfwlch (pronounced “Caled-fwook), the oldest surviving name attached to the sword which would become known as Excalibur. That’s more than a tease … it’s damn near a spoiler. Vivian and Jake may also have to confront the seemingly impossible reappearance of an old nemesis. In the 6th century arc, readers should prepare themselves to meet Merlin’s mentor and learn more about his relationship with Nimue.

Oh, yeah, and badass action sequences all the way around.


Bel Nemeton is available in both print and as an ebook.