Longsword by David Pilling

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Chronicles of Sir Kay

Today sees the release of MORDRED'S APPLE, first in my series of short stories written from the perspective of Sir Kay, King Arthur's foster-brother. I've put it up for just one shiny U.S. dollar (or 77pence) on Amazon:


The much-altered and abused character of Kay has always interested me, and I thought it was high time he was permitted to voice his own version of events at Camelot (or Caerleon, as I've called it in my version of the tale, after the naming of Arthur's city in Geoffrey of Monmouth).

Kay is also one of the oldest characters in the legend. He first appears in various Welsh texts as Cai, one of Arthur’s chief warriors and capable of superhuman feats, such as breathing underwater for nine days and nights and giving off magical heat with his hands. In Geoffrey of Monmouth he is downgraded to a brave but ordinary knight, and from Chretien de Troyes onwards he is downgraded further to a malicious, spiteful, incompetent braggart, a foil for the more heroic knights to play off against.

Pondering the development, or degeneration, of his character led me to create my own version of Sir Kay. ‘My’ Kay is a sort of Francis Walsingham figure, a ruthless, scheming politico whose chief concern is to protect Arthur and the security of Arthur’s realm, no matter the cost.
The following is my first attempt at recasting him in this mould. See what you think…

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