Look out for the original series starring Katherine Langford coming soon to Netflix!
The Lady of the Lake is the true hero in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Thomas Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City). Featuring 8 full-color and 30 black-and-white pieces of original artwork by Frank Miller.
Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.
But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?
Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave...
That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.
Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.
But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.
About the Author
Frank Miller is an award-winning comic book writer, novelist, inker, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, and 300, among others. He also created Cursed with Tom Wheeler, which is being adapted as a series for Netflix starring Katherine Langford. Visit him online at FrankMillerInk.com or on Twitter @FrankMillerInk.
Known for his intense, hard-boiled storytelling and gritty noir aesthetic, Frank Miller is one of the most influential and awarded creators in comics, graphic novels, and film. The codirector of Sin City (based on his graphic novel) and an executive producer of 300 (based on his graphic novel series), his projects have been nominated for the Palme d’Or and have won the Harvey and Eisner Awards, including those for Best Writer/Artist, Best Graphic Novel Reprint, Best Cartoonist, Best Cover Artist, Best Limited Series, and Best Short Story. In 2015, Miller was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame for his lifetime contribution to the industry. He is also the creator of Daredevil’s assassin-for-hire, Elektra.
Miller’s notable projects include: The Dark Knight Returns; Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again; Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race; Batman: Year One; the award-winning Martha Washington miniseries Give Me Liberty; and Hard Boiled. Most recently, Miller completed writing and illustrating Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander, the highly anticipated five-issue companion epic to his award-winning series 300.
Thomas Wheeler is a screenwriter, producer, showrunner, and the author of The Arcanum. He was the executive producer and creator of Empire for ABC and The Cape for NBC. In feature animation he wrote the Academy Award–nominated Puss in Boots, as well as The Lego Ninjago Movie. Together with Frank Miller, he is cocreator and executive producer of Cursed, based upon the novel of the same name.
Read an Excerpt
FROM HER HIDING PLACE IN the straw pile and through eyes filled with tears, Nimue thought Father Carden looked like a spirit of light. It was how he stood, back to the bleached sun, and the way the clouds poured under his draping sleeves and upraised palms, like a man standing on the sky. His trembling voice rose above the din of bleating goats, crackling wood, screaming infants, and wailing mothers. “God is love. It is a love that purifies, a love that sanctifies, a love that unites us.” Carden’s pale blue eyes passed over the piteous, howling mob, prostrated in the mud, barricaded by monks in red robes.
“And God sees,” Carden continued, “and today he smiles. Because we have done His work today. We have washed ourselves clean with God’s love. We have seared away the rotten flesh.” The clouds of smoke billowing around Carden’s arms and legs swirled with flakes of red ash. Spit flecked his lips. “Sawed away the corruption of demonism. Expelled the blackened humors from this land. God smiles today!” As Carden lowered his arms, his draping sleeves dropped away like curtains, revealing an inferno of thirty burning crosses in the field behind him. The crucified were hard to see in the thick black smoke.
Biette, a sturdy block of a woman and mother of four, rose up like a wounded bear and hobbled on her knees toward Carden before one of the tonsured monks in red stepped forward, planted his boot between her shoulder blades and kicked her face-first into the mud. And there Biette stayed, groaning into the wet earth.
Nimue’s ears had been ringing since she and Pym rode into the village on Dusk Lady and saw the first dead body on the trail. They thought it might’ve been Mikkel, the tanner’s boy, who grew orchids for the May rituals, but his head had been crushed by something heavy. They could not even stop to check, for the entire village was on fire and Red Paladins swarmed, their billowing robes dancing with the flames. On the fallow hill, a half-dozen village elders were already burning to death on hastily erected crosses. Pym’s screams had seemed far away to Nimue as her mind went white. Everywhere she looked, she saw her people being choked in the mud or torn from their homes. Two paladins dragged old Betsy by her flailing arms and hair through her pen of geese. The birds squawked and fluttered in the air, adding to the surreal chaos. Shortly thereafter, Nimue and Pym were separated, and Nimue took shelter in the straw pile, where she held her breath as monks stomped past her carrying blanket bundles of confiscated goods. They unfurled the blankets on the floor of the open wagon where Carden stood, spilling the contents around his feet. The priest looked down and nodded, expecting this: roots of yew and alder, wooden figurines of elder gods, totems, and animal bones. Carden sighed patiently. “God sees, my friends. He sees these instruments of demonic conjuring. You cannot hide from Him. He shall dredge this poison out. And shielding others like you will only prolong your suffering.” Father Carden brushed ashes from his gray tunic. “My Red Paladins are eager for your confessions. For your sakes, offer them freely, for my brothers are deft with the tools of inquisition.”
The Red Paladins waded into the mob to single out targets for torture. Nimue watched as family and friends clawed over one another to avoid the paladins’ reach. There were more screams as children were pried from their mothers’ grips.
Unmoved, Father Carden stepped down from the wagon and crossed the muddy road to a tall and broad-shouldered monk in gray. His cheeks were lean beneath his cowl, and strange black birthmarks were blotted around his eyes and ran down his face like streaming tears of ink. Nimue could not hear their words for the shouting around her, but Carden rested a hand on the monk’s shoulder, like a father, and pulled him into a whisper. Head bowed, the monk nodded several times in response to Carden’s words. Carden gestured to the Iron Wood; the monk nodded a final time, then climbed onto his white courser.
Nimue turned to the Iron Wood and saw ten-year-old Squirrel standing in the monk’s path, bewildered, blood dribbling down his cheek as he dragged a sword behind him. At this, Nimue burst from the straw pile and charged at Squirrel. She heard the Gray Monk’s hoofbeats getting louder behind her.
“Nimue!” Squirrel reached for her, and she yanked him against the wall of a hut as the monk thundered past.
“I can’t find Papa!” Squirrel cried.
“Squirrel, listen to me. Go to the hollow in the ash tree and hide there until it’s night. Do you understand?”
Squirrel tried to pull away from her. “Papa!”
Nimue shook him. “Squirrel! Run now. As fast as you can. Are you listening!” Nimue was shouting into his face. Squirrel nodded. “Be a brave one. Run like you do in our fox races. No one can catch you.”
“No one,” Squirrel whispered, summoning the courage.
“You’re the fastest of us all.” Nimue swallowed back tears, for she did not want to let him go.
“You’ll come?” Squirrel pleaded.
“I will,” Nimue promised, “but first I have to find Pym and Mother and your father.”
“I saw your mother near the temple.” Squirrel hesitated. “They were chasing her.”
Ice coursed through Nimue’s veins at this news. She shot a look to the temple at the top of the rise. Then she turned back to Squirrel. “Fast as the fox,” she commanded.
“Fast as the fox,” Squirrel repeated, tensing as he shot furtive glances left and right. The nearest paladins were too occupied with the beating of a resisting farmer to notice them. So without a look back, Squirrel shot across the pasture for the Iron Wood.
Nimue lunged into the road and ran for the temple. She slid and fell in the mud dredged up from horses and blood. As she climbed to her feet, a horseman suddenly swung around from one of the burning huts. Nimue barely saw the ball of iron whip around on its chain. She tried to turn away, but it caught her at the base of her skull with such force it sent her nearly airborne into a pile of firewood. The world unglued as stars burst behind Nimue’s eyes and she felt warm liquid stream down her neck and back. Splayed out on the ground, firewood all around her, Nimue saw a longbow snapped in two pieces beside her. The broken bow. The fawn. The council. Hawksbridge.
It seemed impossible that only a day had passed. And as she lost consciousness, one thought left her choking with dread: this was all her fault.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thank so much to NetGalley for this ARC! One of the things I really love about using NetGalley is the access to titles that I would have never heard of had it not been available on their website. I would have seen the show when it came out, noticed it was based on a book, and been so far behind on the times as I tried to read to catch up. Luckily though, I was approved and got to read about Nimue first hand. As we grow up, we learn about history both fact and fiction. We’re told what wars happened when, what books are considered classic that will never age. One thing that I missed out on as a kid was how the things that all of these tales and lore had in common was that it was dominated by white men. Men were the saviors, men were the kings, the presidents, the end all be all. Women were who nipped at their heels and stayed quiet and demure while all hell broke loose around them. This retelling was such a breath of fresh air because it puts that trope right on its head and puts strong women in the foreground. Nimue is the Lady of the Lake, whom we know from the legend of King Arthur. We know she gives him Excalibur, and in a few other myths she raises Lancelot or has a brief affair with Merlin. In this story, she is a young sorceress touched by the darkness; called to a purpose she could never imagine. Her village is pillaged by the Red Paladins who are hell-bent on destroyed Fey Kind in the name of God. She escapes with a sword she has never seen before, thrust into her arms by her mother, the Arch Druid, and told to find Merlin. Along the way, she meets familiar faces from the tales of old, and proves herself worthy to be Queen of the Fey, the Wolf-Blood Witch, and a true example of the strength of women. She fights to free her fey brethren while combatting the rage that lies deep within the iron of the blade. It begs her to kill, and she has to find a way to quench its thirst without losing herself at the same time. It’s such a compelling fantasy, and the best retelling I’ve ever read of the story of King Arthur. I so hope that the show is faithful to this source material, because it is sure to give so many girls the push they need to believe in their own body and soul.
When I saw the premise for this book, I was very intrigued. I'm a sucker for a good retelling of Camelot and will read anything that illudes to those stories. While I did enjoy this book, the plot felt a bit jumbled in parts and was a bit hard to follow. But it was worth reading and I look forward to seeing it on the screen as I think it will lend itself well to television. Thank you to NetGalley for my review copy of this book in excitement for my honest review.
Can you ever have too many Arthurian retellings? The magic, the characters, the intrigue, all with a different spin, which is what Thomas Wheeler has done with his own sense of flare and creative license. CURSED has the plot, the bones and some pretty original thoughts, but something was just off for me, maybe that special spark that fantasy brings to a story. Expect to see characters in a completely different light, some positive, some, not so much. Told through Nimue’s point of view, we see everyone through a different light and heroes of old become something less, something not exactly larger than life. I felt I was being fed more of a visual tale, less of a story, could that be because this is designed for commercial viewing and not as a book for mental viewing and imagination? This tale skimmed the surface of what could have been a very deep pool of creativity. So, yes, you can have too many Arthurian tales, but only when they miss the mark of magic! 2.5 Stars I received a complimentary ARC edition from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. My honest review is voluntary.
High schoolers and above will probably like this book, not appropriate for middle school and below as it's very violent. I'm going to forget it's supposed to be an Arthurian retelling and precursor to a Netflix show because it reads like a script. Based on the written work only, it kept me reading, I was invested in the main character, but as mentioned earlier it is violent with slightly graphic depiction. Nobody is truely good or sacrificing in this, they all have their agendas. The bad guys are really easy to hate and to cheer for their demise. So the written work was an okay read, however the art work leads a lot to be desired. There are full illustrations and those were okay, but the line drawing looked like a middle schooler did it with computer graphics and a mouse, and I actually collect lowbrow art and comic books, so to say it's disappointing was putting it mildly. My biggest pet peeve was the cliffhanger ending of all the major characters, everyone was left hanging by a thread. Aside to the book itself, it only came as an adobe restricted reader download which made pages load very slowly breaking the flow of the story, and the artwork took forever to load. I had to keep going to my desktop to see if it was glitches or if it was art work that was hanging the program up. I would suggest to the publishers to allow this to be reviewed in other options in the future. I do thank the authors and netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.
Ok....who else gravitates to books/graphic novels that have that lovely sticker "Soon to be a Netflix Original Series'' or "Now a Major Motion picture"? I know I do! While I hate the darn sticker on the front cover of my book (Geez....wrap them in plastic and put that darn tag on the plastic so you aren't marking up my book!!' And DON'T make it a perma-part of the cover art....I don't want an ad displayed on the front cover of a book I paid for! Mini rant over.) I come running every time I see those tags, but I follow my rule which is I have to read the book before I watch any television adaptation. Then I understand the characters and I can join in on the complaining about what they changed/left out and any huzzahs about special effects, casting, awesomeness. I have been both wildly entertained and completely disappointed in my quest for the most awesome book/film adaptations. I often go in expecting another Haunting of Hill House but prepared to deal with an Iron Fist.....ending up happily entertained somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. I enjoyed this book. And I'm looking forward to it coming to Netflix in 2020! Cursed is a twist on the King Arthur legend. The Lady of the Lake gets to be more than just a silvery hand appearing holding up a sword. This tale is told her her point of view. Nimue experiences the brutality of the world at a very early age....her entire village is slaughtered and her mother dies. But that is not her fate. Her fate is intertwined with a magical sword, Merlin, and Arthur. Add in some great art by Frank Miller, and it's a very entertaining read. I have the suspicion that this story was written for television. The tale reads like a fleshed out script. The story is a nice update to the traditional Arthur legends....all the main characters are there....doing a new version of what they usually do. It just had the feel of a film script with some bookish details and flow added, plus nice artwork. A teaser for the Netflix series. I'm definitely on-board for more ..... and I will definitely watch the series. But....I feel this is following the current YA trend. Trends get old when they are recycled again and again and again.....and again and again. Yes, I am totally in support of strong female characters....but the theme is getting done to death over the past couple of years. I hope this revisit to Arthurian times stays fresh and creative.....and doesn't get bogged down in what will soon be The Same Old. **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Simon and Schuster via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Cursed is a YA retelling of the King Arthur told from the point of view of Nimue, a female Fey whose village is viciously ransacked. The aftermath leaves her orphaned with a final mission given to her by her mother, get the sword to Merlin. Its not my normal cup of tea, but i'm sure for those who are into this genre it would be a hit. Was just a case of not the book but my issue in regards to it. Thank you NetGalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Thanks to NetGalley for sending me a copy of this to review! I had heard about the book at BookCon, and it sounded intriguing. A King Arthur retelling, gender swapped. Admittedly, I'm only vaguely familiar with the King Arthur story. But this was an enchanting retelling, nonetheless! I'll start out by saying I can't wait to see the finished copy so I can see the finished illustrations. I think they'll definitely add a lot to the story; a magical element that's missing without the finalized art. As far as I can tell, they supplement the story really well and help to create the atmosphere Wheeler has created in the story. Seeing familiar characters also really helps to bring the story to life. However, there were times where I found it a tad difficult to follow the story, and I wonder if it would have helped if I was more familiar with the original King Arthur. There were characters that I recognized, but I couldn't remember how they fit into the original. But, they're well-rounded characters that you're cheering for in the end, pulling you into this magical world that Wheeler has created. After a bit of research, I've also learned that this isn't necessarily a retelling, just telling the story from a different lens. Would I have rathered a female version of King Arthur? Yes, I think so. However, I did enjoy Nimue's story, and her dedication to helping her people. She was the focal point of the book, and she shined throughout. I'm curious about the Netflix adaptation, because the overall book definitely read like a movie. It definitely lends itself to an onscreen adaptation. There's also a lot of history in the book, which helped me to learn about the time period the book was set in. An overall enchanting story, just a bit different than I expected.
Cursed is a bit of contradictory to me. While the storyline and the writing was super immersive, the likes of which I haven’t read since the first time I read Harry Potter, the writing and descriptions made the story go super slow. Like really slow. A few years ago, I watched Life of Pi and while the story and the movie was captivating, the movie itself did not captivate me. I was constantly looking at the clock, frustrated that only mere seconds seemed to pass between looks. This was similar. The story itself, while super captivating and immersive, had a bit of a habit of losing me when it would change Point Of Views. Characters both became and were already beloved. And in completely different roles than in any other retelling of the famous Mort d’Arthur that I was used to seeing. Cursed really turned the legend on it’s head. But the fact that the story is full of inner monologues and so many POVs, made it really drag. That’s not to say that I won’t totally be reading it again right before the Netflix series comes out. But it was very, very slow for me. It could be that I prefer books that have a little more action, both in romance and actual action, or it could be something else entirely. All I know is that while I ultimately loved Cursed, it took me a little bit to get there. It also drops off at a cliffhanger which irritates me to no end. RANT TIME Listen up people. After The Cruel Prince, Lord of Shadows, and countless others, I don’t want anymore freaking cliffhangers! The ending doesn’t even need to be happy. I JUST NEED CLOSURE! *clears throat* Rant time over. The characters that we all know and love: Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Percival were totally different and that definitely brought a freshness to this age old tale. Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler completely changed the roles of the characters. So much so that they were almost antithetic to the original. It was so good though!
This book was received as an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I have loved every sign pieces, page by page, cover to cover of this book. The drama, the suspense, the legends are really captivating and will leave you glued to the book from beginning to end. After reading this book, I am very curious to see how the Netflix TV Show will turn out and I really hope it is just as exciting as the book was and not another flop like other comic based TV Shows. I have always been a fan of King Arthur and Camelot and having the drawings at the end of each chapter be done by Frank Miller was such a nice additional treat. We will consider adding this title to our YFantasy collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
If you like fantasy retellings and badass girl warriors, then my friend, this is the book for you. Especially if you’re familiar with King Arthur, Camelot, Excalibur, Merlin, and all that good stuff. Honestly, I don’t know a whole lot about those stories, and I still really enjoyed it. And the more you know, I can only imagine the better it will get. Our main character is Nimue, who comes from a Fey village. She has a close connection with “the Hidden,” aka the source of magic in the world, and she’s ostracized for it. Then her village is razed to the ground by militant Catholic missionaries, the Red Paladins. Her mother produces a sword from a hiding place and tells Nimue to find Merlin and give it to him — and then she goes down fighting. Nimue sets off with Arthur, a sellsword she met a few days before in the nearby trading city. Together they join up with others — many of whom turn out to unexpectedly become our beloved characters we know and love from King Arthur legends — to save the rest of the Fey Folk. There’s also a heartwarming cozy romance that buds between Nimue and Arthur, and a nice little twist midway — the most surprising character development of the book. Plus, Nimue is a badass but flawed character in the best way. Although I read an advanced reader’s copy of this book and so didn’t get to see them all, finished copies of this book will have almost 40 illustrations by Frank Miller! The ones I did see where fantastic, and it made the reading experience even richer. The story was fast-paced and read quickly, which is always a plus in fantasy (especially for young readers). Note that it can be a tad graphic for the target age, but it could definitely be worse. It’s billed as middle grade, but I think teens and adults will love the story too!