Charming (Pax Arcana -1) by Elliott James

Charming (Pax Arcana #1) by Elliott James

Pax Arcana series — Elliott James

NEXT Release:  Fearless #3 — August 11, 2015

Genres and Sub-GenresEdit

Urban Fantasy

Series Description or Overview Edit

In Elliott James’s Charming the world is under a magical spell called the Pax Arcana, which prevents regular humans from being able to “see, believe, or even seriously consider any evidence of the supernatural that is not an immediate threat to their survival.”

Enter the Knights Templar, who sort of police the supernatural world. If a certain supernatural faction starts to behave in a violent manner that could get them noticed, the Knights step in and deal with the problem. ~ Vampire Book Club

John Charming lives in a world where magickind is protected from humankind by a glamour called the Pax Arcana, and humankind is protected from magickind by a secret order of modern day knights. John was once one of these knights, but that was before he became one of the creatures that he used to hunt. Now John is forced to hide in the same shadows he used to stalk through, constantly staying on the move, changing his name, and living off the grid. ~ About | Elliott James

John ends up joining forces with a group of vampire slayers, including the beautiful blonde, to help them take out an overzealous vampire trying to become Queen of her hive. During the investigation, however, it becomes more and more apparent that within this group vampires may not be the only thing John has to worry about. ~ Vampire Book Club

Lead's SpeciesEdit

  • Knight Templar

Main SupeEdit

What Sets it ApartEdit

  • A real knight as protagonist

Narrative Type and Narrators Edit

  • First-person narrative told by John Charming.
The author tells it in John's wry first-person voice as if John were sharing his story directly with the reader.

Books in Series Edit

Pax Arcana series:

  1. Charming (2013)
  2. Daring (2014)
  3. Fearless (2015)

Shorts, Novellas, Anthologies and Guides Edit

Pax Arcana Novellas

  • 1.5. Charmed I'm Sure (2013)
  • 2.6. Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls (2013)
  • 3.7. Pushing Luck (2013)
  • 4.4. Surreal Estate (2014)
  • 5. Dog-Gone (2014)

Themes, Motifs, Symbolism Edit

World Building Edit

Setting Edit

Clayburg, Southwest Virginia


  • Rigby's: pub in Clayburg owned by David Suggs where Charming works.

Supernatural Elements Edit

✥ dragon slayers, witch-finders, magickind, modern day knights, Valyrie, vampires, werewolves, faeries, elves, witches, vampire slayers, zombies, Ankou, djinn, Naga, Boo Hags, banshees, ghouls, spriggans, windigos, vodyanoi, tulpas.

Glossary: Edit

  • Geas: magical oath that drives knights to fulfill a specific duty—the geas overrides the effects of all mental magic, so Knights can see through glamours and are not affected by psychic influence. They do not harm supes unless they are on the verge of revealing themselves to mankind, but if judged terminally indiscreet, they eliminate them as quietly as possible.
  • Kresniks: A collection of mostly-psychic hunters of the supernatural from Eastern Europe with the same general goal as the Knights Templar. However, kresniks are far more likely to work alongside supernatural creatures.
  • Valkyrie: A legendary Norse figure said to guide dead heroes to Valhalla, Viking heaven. They are very strong, more-or-less immortal, see the dead, and are all women.
  • Naga: A creature from Hindu and Buddhist legends that can become a human or a water serpent, or somewhere in between. They live near water and can control it.
  • Hive: pack of vampires

Groups & Organizations:

  • Knights Templar: maintain law and order among the supernaturals—made up of the descendants of the original group that existed back in the Middle Ages

World Edit

At the center of this mythology is the titular Pax Arcana, a magical separation between the arcane and mundane worlds that allows supernatural beings to exist alongside humans, but blocks humans from recognizing anything remotely magical or otherworldly. Here's an example of how the Pax Arcana works: In one scene (in Charming), the hero sprays a vampire with holy water and the vamp begins screeching.

"The sound was horrifically loud and blatantly inhuman….Every human who heard that howl fell under the effect of the Pax Arcana. None of them would peer out windows overlooking the back alleys now. Squad cars would decide to stay on the main streets without knowing why. People whose needs or inclinations might have taken them through the alleys would impulsively decide to take alternate routes."

One of the groups that maintain law and order among the supernaturals is called the Knights Templar, and it is made up of the descendants of the original group that existed back in the Middle Ages. Although they have long since divided into factions, most of them adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to punishing supernaturals who put the Pax Arcana in jeopardy. Each of the Knights is bound by a geas—"a magical oath that drives knights to fulfill a specific duty, and the Knights Templar have sworn to uphold the Pax Arcana. Basically that means that we do not harm supernatural beings unless they are on the verge of revealing themselves to mankind, but when a supernatural being is judged terminally indiscreet, we eliminate them as quietly as possible." (Charming, p. 32) One effect of the geas on the Knights is that the geas overrides the effects of all mental magic, so Knights can see through glamours and are not affected by psychic influence. "They cannot be possessed, charmed, warded, cursed, predicted, or beguiled." ~ Fang-tastic Fiction

Vampires: this world, vampires have some of the traditional traits: surviving on human blood; being super-sensitive to the sun; and having enhanced speed and strength. What's different is that they do not magically become ultra-handsome or beautiful when they become vampires. They do look that way to mortals, but it's just a glamour. Underneath, they are "walking corpses with pale white skin the color and texture of worm flesh, lank greasy hair, bad teeth, and breath that smells like a butcher shop. Also different is the fact that, for the most part, vamps can drink only the blood that matches their original blood type, and they can identify blood types by smell. Another vamp talent is the ability to burrow underground.

Protagonist Edit

The series hero is John Charming, a descendant of a long family line of Charmings—the princes that gained fame over centuries of fairy tales. "The reason there are so many stories about 'Prince' Charming is that there was never one man—the Charmings were an entire family line standing between humanity and all other for generation after generation, and in the old days it was common to give any monster killer in a story royal status." (Charming, p. 29) Unfortunately, when John's mother was late in her pregnancy, she was bitten and changed into a werewolf, and he was born with some mild werewolf traits, principally slightly enhanced strength and speed. John's family was part of the Knight Templars, and he was always meant to join that group as part of his heritage. At first, the Templars grudgingly and suspiciously accepted him into their ranks, but when he was in his late twenties, an incident triggered more of his werewolf traits. After that happened, the Templars labeled him an abomination and have been trying to capture and kill him ever since.

At this point in time, John is 76 years old (although he looks to be in his twenties). His life style consists of moving from place to place, using a variety of aliases, and continuing to be one of the good guys, while always looking over his shoulder for the Templars. Here he explains: "I carried my name proudly for as long as I was able. And I am still that man. No matter what else is in my DNA, no matter what my old order says, no matter what titles have been stripped from me or how long I am forced to run and hide…I am still that man….I think." (Charming, p. 29) Even though he is no longer a Knight, John is still bound by his geas, so he keeps himself ready to battle any monster that comes along, always making sure that he keeps his guitar case close to hand—a case that contains a katana, holy water, blessed salt, ceremonial candles, a Glock, a blowgun, and tranquilizer darts—all tucked neatly under his guitar.

John is intelligent, battle-scarred, transient loner with few possessions, and they spends his lives fighting the good fight against the monsters in our world. John also has a predilection for MacGyverisms, assembling assortments of common objects to build weapons and/or defenses. In one story, for example, he constructs. ~ Fang-tastic Fiction

Sidekick Edit

Name:  — What: — Sidekick-to:  — About:  — Book First Seen In:  —Series:

Characters Chart Edit

Characters What About
John Charming  Knight descendent of a long line of charmings; fightis monster; a loner; McGyver-like magical ability
David Suggs bar owner;
Sandra waitress age 19; works at Rigby's
Renee waitress older; works at Rigby's; de facto manager;
Sig Norresdotter  long-term relationship with Stanislav
Stanislav Dvornik Kresnik surly;

To expand the table, in Edit–Visual mode, right-press on a Row of the table or Column (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add Row or Column.

Author Edit

Elliott James

Bio: An army brat and gypsy scholar, ELLIOTT JAMES is currently living in the blueridge mountains of southwest Virginia. An avid reader since the age of three (or that's what his family swears anyhow), he has an abiding interest in mythology, martial arts, live music, hiking, and used bookstores. Irrationally convinced that cellphone technology was inserted into human culture by aliens who want to turn us into easily tracked herd beasts, Elliott has one anyhow but keeps it in a locked tinfoil covered box which he will sometimes sit and stare at mistrustfully for hours. Okay, that was a lie. Elliott lies a lot; in fact, he decided to become a writer so that he could get paid for it. ~ Goodreads

Contributors Edit

Cover ArtistsEdit

Other Contributors Edit

  • Audio Book Narrator: — Source:
  • Editor: — Source:

Publishing InformationEdit

  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Bk-1—Charming: Paperback, 400 pages, Pub: September 24th 2013—0316253391
  • Bk-2—Daring: Paperback, 400 pages, Pub: Sept 23rd 2014—0316253405
  • Bk-3—Fearless: Paperback, 400 pages, Expected pub: Aug 11th 2015—ISBN 0316253448

Book Cover Blurbs Edit

BOOK ONE—Charming (2013): John Charming isn't your average Prince... He comes from a line of Charmings — an illustrious family of dragon slayers, witch-finders and killers dating back to before the fall of Rome. Trained by a modern day version of the Knights Templar, monster hunters who have updated their methods from chainmail and crossbows to kevlar and shotguns, he was one of the best. That is — until he became the abomination the Knights were sworn to hunt. That was a lifetime ago. Now, he tends bar under an assumed name in rural Virginia and leads a peaceful, quiet life. One that shouldn't change just because a vampire and a blonde walked into his bar... Right? ~ Goodreads | Charming (Pax Arcana, #1) by Elliott James

BOOK TWO—Daring (2014): THE WEREWOLVES HAVE A NEW LEADER...AND HE CANNOT BE STOPPED. Something is rotten in the state of Wisconsin. Werewolf packs are being united and absorbed into an army of super soldiers by a mysterious figure who speaks like an angel and fights like a demon. And every Knight Templar—keepers of the magical peace between mankind and magickind—who tries to get close to this big bad wolf winds up dead. No knight can infiltrate a group whose members can smell a human from a mile knight except one. John Charming. Ex knight. Current werewolf. Hunted by the men who trained him, he now might be their only salvation. But animal instincts are rising up to claim John more powerfully than ever before, and he must decide if this new leader of wolves is a madman...or a messiah. DARING is the second novel in an urban fantasy series which gives a new twist to the Prince Charming tale. ~ Goodreads | Daring (Pax Arcana, #2) by Elliott James

BOOK THREE—Fearless (2015): THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A CLEARCUT CASE OF RITE AND WRONG... When your last name is Charming, rescuing virgins comes with the territory, even when the virgin in question is a nineteen-year-old college boy. Someone, somewhere, has declared war on Terry Perez, and that someone has a long list of magical predators on their rolodex. The good news is that Terry lives in a town where Ted Cahill is the new sheriff and old ally of John Charming. The attacks on Terry seem to be a pattern, and the more John and his new team follow that thread, the deeper they find themselves in a maze of supernatural threats, family secrets, and age-old betrayals. The more John learns, the more convinced he becomes that Terry Perez isn't just a victim, he's a sacrifice waiting to happen. And that thread John's following? It's really a fuse. ~ Goodreads | Fearless (Pax Arcana, #3) by Elliott James


First Sentences Edit

Pax Arcana series:

  1. Charming (2013) — Once upon a time, she smelled wrong. ~ or ~ There's a reason that we refer to being in love as being enchanted.
  2. Daring (2014) — Once upon a time, Chauncy "choo" Childers made himself a secret lair.
  3. Fearless (2015) —

Quotes Edit

Trivia Edit

Awards Edit

Notes Edit

In the "Extras" section of Charming, the author explains the structure of the PAX ARCANA world and why he changed his mind about having a fully human protagonist: "The world in my novel is in a state of schism: it's actually two worlds that have been unnaturally divided and are coexisting side by side in an uneasy state of truce…. I reluctantly decided that I needed a character who was going to have a foot in both worlds while ultimately belonging to neither…. I chose to make John a werewolf because werewolves are one of the weakest monsters individually, and also one of the most familiar…. If I couldn't have an ordinary human protagonist for my novel, I at least wanted to make his abilities familiar so that I could use him as a starting point to explore this world…. I made my first antagonist a vampire for similar reasons." (Charming, p. 374) — Elliott James, author

Read Alikes (suggestions) Edit

Notes Edit

My short stories are fairly straightforward and go the Conan the Barbarian route, chronicling John Charming’s adventures as he travels through this dark magic-filled world, still compelled to right wrongs and protect innocents. Sometimes this is against his better judgment, and sometimes John’s judgment isn’t all that good to begin with. ~ About | Elliott James
A Note About the Short Stories: All of these stories take place in the PAX ARCANA world, but none of the plots rely on any information from the novel. Each is told as if John were sitting down with you, the reader, over a cup of coffee, spinning some entertaining tales about some of his adventures. Remember that a good story teller can be somewhat unreliable—always holding back critical details in order to maintain suspense and build to a perfect ending. Reading the short stories will give you a good sense of John's (and the author's) voice and his incredible story-telling techniques.

Here is a list of the story titles and their lengths:

  • "Charmed, I'm Sure": word count—6,900 (36 pages)
  • "Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls": word count—6,800 (33 pages)
  • "Pushing Luck": word count—12,300 (43 pages)
  • "Surreal Estate": word count—4,100 (25 pages)
  • "Dog-Gone": word count—11,500 (40 pages)

See Also Edit

External References Edit


Freebies & Excerpts:

World, Characters, etc:


Interviews, Guest Posts, Author Commentary:




Community, Fan Sites:

Gallery of Book Covers Edit

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