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Friday, 22 August 2014

The Stonehenge Saga : What next?

I hope as a visitor to this site you find that the information contained in it is of use and inspires you to investigate either your own sacred landscape, or that of Stonehenge & Avebury, where I have been lucky enough to not only live these past 7 years, but study on and off since 1984.


I was inspired to write The Stonehenge Saga, comprising of STONE LORD & MOON LORD after living,breathing, walking and working in its landscape. This often involved helping on excavations locally and being in the position to interpret & guide visitors around the wonderful monument of Stonehenge.

I have received wonderful feedback from readers and peer reviews from academics in the field citing that the books (albeit being a work of fiction) nevertheless pay a lot of respect and attention to archaeological detail.

This was one of the main reasons for writing this book. I wanted to bring the landscape alive as it had never been done before, literary speaking. To put flesh on to the bones of the people that built, used, and existed on those chalk downlands 5,000 years ago.

Anyone wanting to know about Stonehenge faces sometimes impenetrable scholarly text books & journals, but often the reverse -  pseudo intelligent astronomical mathematics which leaves you cold and tells you nothing about the people, or that which misrepresents those people in the case of new age, airy-fairy beliefs that pay no heed to any of its physical archaeology.


Save for a handful of novels, the most well known is Bernard Cornwell's Stonehenge. Most novels about the stones have always depicted ancient Britain as a primitive backwater, at the same time that fantastic achievements were going on elsewhere in the Middle and Near East, I've always fought that the British Megalithic Culture of the Neolithic & Bronze Age easily rivals Troy, and anything else going on in the world at that time. I've tried to highlight this in Blog posts here.

Cornwell's novel was excellent, but it had its flaws, notably not the same kind of access to information as I've been able to research. Not quite that same feeling for landscape either, that only a person living there could experience. Also that it was written before a  lot of the new studies were completed, namely the excellent work of Parker Pearson, Gaffney, Jacques, Darvill & Pollard, to name but a few.


Stone Lord was/is my first "baby," but as an author you also cannot hold on too long. You need to keep moving on and above all, keep writing. So, after these two full length novels I've dabbled with writing short stories inspired by my love of European Folk Tales, with Robin Hood, resurrected a few early forays into the British Prehistory, and set about tackling the divine kingship of King Richard III

A full list of my published works to date are available here.

The Stonehenge Saga will not be my final work involving the Stonehenge area.
I hope to write a fictional account of the journey of the Amesbury Archer; one of the oldest known, and richest early metal workers to be found in Britain. Also a piece on Amesbury's Queen - Eleanor of Provence, of which very little seems to be known (even her exact grave site is unknown and remains to be found) I want to do something with the Irish Sagas too in a new and interesting way, similar to Stone Lord.

I hope to also combine Stone Lord and Moon Lord into an Omnibus Edition, replete with new cover, and a few new chapters (perhaps containing a prequel.)

If you want to follow my activities better, I can be contacted on Facebook and I'm also on Twitter
There are Facebook Groups for Stone Lord and for Sacred King. I hope you can stop by and "Like" the pages.


As ever, thank you for your continued interest and support.


Yours,

J.P.R




Sunday, 10 August 2014

KING RICHARD III FANTASY NOVELLA *NOW OUT* Anniversary of Bosworth Field 1485 :- Black Annis / Thomas the Rhymer

SACRED KING, a historical fantasy novella about King Richard III, the Battle of Bosworth, and its aftermath. 

In August, 1485, King Richard III rides on the hunt in Bestwood Park, near Nottingham, and sees a disturbing vision, a man being killed in ritualistic manner, his blood given to the hungry Land. Riding into Leicester with his army several days later, eager to face the invading Henry Tudor and defend his crown, he encounters yet more disturbing omens…
The old woman Agnes Black upon Bow Bridge, who prophecies his head will strike the stone upon his return from the field. On the day of battle, the King is betrayed and loses his life in a heroic last charge, his blood falling on the red soil of Redemore Plain…. but that is not the end. 



A Lady who walks between Heaven and Hell takes Richard Plantagenet to the Middle Kingdom, like the prophet Thomas the Rhymer many centuries before. 
Will he join her band of unearthly knights, or will he find a way to escape from what he sees as purgatory? 

Includes a climax featuring the latter day discovery of the body of Richard III in a car park in Leicester, on the actual anniversary of the King's burial at Greyfriars after Bosworth—the event of his 'return to the world' heralded by brooding storm clouds. 



A tale of sacrifice and redemption, weaving into the story not only the history of Richard III’s final days, but various underlying legends and pieces of folklore connected with the event. 


"Well-written, obviously well-researched, boldly imagined..."
"Flawless blending of the real and the mythical..."
"Loved, loved this book..."
"I have to warn you that once picked up - it's difficult to put down again..."


SACRED KING is a fantasy, but perhaps most of all it is a story of hope. It tries to ascribe deeper meaning and a greater heroism using powerful archetypes such as The Doomed Hero, prevalent in stories millennia old. 



TO DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON UK CLICK HERE

TO DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON US CLICK HERE


ADDENDUM 10/08/14 - FIRST REVIEW NOW IN!

5.0 out of 5 stars WowAugust 10, 2014
This review is from: Sacred King: Richard III: Sinner, Sufferer, Scapegoat, Sacrifice (Kindle Edition)
If I mention 'the Golden Bough', many amazon users many know what to expect when they read this. For those who do not, there is an appendix that explains many of the themes in the book, but . . . wow.

Well-written, obviously well-researched, boldly imagined and put together. It has the added advantage of pointing toward other, more scholarly books people might not otherwise explore. At one point I was even sure it was straying into 'Hamlet's Mill'. And yet the Bible is there too.

I read this on kindleunlimited, and come Monday I plan to buy it for my own library. Wow.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Sacred King: Richard III and the Divine Victim

I've pretty much finished the final draft of Sacred King, my novella featuring a fantasy version of the death and afterlife of Richard III,  today. I am just working on the author's notes now. I have one more going over to do just to catch any last minute errors. Wow, feel tired as if I was in the damn battle myself...

Today (Aug 1 and by extension the second as well!)  of course is Lugnasad, the feast of Lugh, a harvest festival associated with ritual games, and with solar overtones (since Lugh was the Shining One as well as being an artisan god, Samildanach, the man of Many Talents.) 

It is also the 30th anniversary of the finding of Lindow Man, the preserved Iron Age body from Lindow Moss. 

Lindow was, in the bog man's day, Llyn Dhu, the Dark Pool, and so he ended up, a man of high status, killed in the rite of the triple death--a blow to the back of the head, garroting and a stab to the throat. Despite his high status, he went to the otherworld naked, and like many other bog bodies he had a 'defect'-a supernumary thumb. Other bog bodies have similar physical defects or things that made them 'different'--one in Ireland was massively tall, another very short. Yde girl, a female bog body, had scoliosis (like King Richard himself) and a problem with one foot.

These preserved bodies appear to be prehistoric 'sacred kings' (or female equivalents in the case of Yde girl)  who gave their lives for their land, sometimes perhaps willingly, other times maybe not.

And why did I  use this motif in connection with the Christian, medieval King Richard? I believe some of his appeal is because his tragic life and heroic last charge has almost made of him an archetype--both as Doomed Hero and as Scapegoat. Added to that the weird similarities to the bog bodies, such as a physical difference (his scoliosis), the marsh on Redemore that may have caused him to be unhorsed, cranial trauma and 'overkill', and the stripping and humiliation of his body (Old Croghan man had suffered mutilations.)

Official Facebook Page for the novel. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sacred-King-Richard-III-Sinner-Sufferer-Scapegoat-Sacrifice/803796409639909




Sunday, 13 July 2014

I didn't want Stone Lord to be another "Mists of Avalon"

By The Historical Novel Society

"Stone Lord’s highly original premise takes the legend of King Arthur back into prehistory to the early Bronze Age. This inspired choice allows the author to place some of the anomalies of the legend, such as the reference to Merlin being responsible for the building of Stonehenge and the story of the sword in the stone, into a very plausible historical and archaeological context."


This is a Guest Post I did for Dennis's site awhile ago talking about how I came up with the Stone Lord series. 

"...Sadly, British prehistory is rather neglected as a fictional subject. Once the Romans come into the picture this changes and novels and movies abound, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. But earlier periods–only a handful of novel exist. People seem afraid to write in this era, and when they do often seem to fall into the fantasy trap of fluffy mysticism, aliens, or Atlanteans..."

Full 'Eternal Idol' Guest Post HERE - http://www.eternalidol.com/?p=11794

At the Swallowhead Spring at WKLB, near Avebury. - J.P.R

Visit my Author's Page at AMAZON UK

Friday, 4 July 2014

WIN A COPY OF MY BEST-SELLING STONEHENGE NOVEL.


In co-operation with GOODREADS, I am offering one lucky person in the U.K a chance to win a copy of MOON LORD, the sequel to the best-seller, STONE LORD.

GOOD LUCK! 




Wednesday, 2 July 2014

NEW KING RICHARD III NOVEL, "SACRED KING" - Black Annis / Thomas the Rhymer

Great news! I've now completed my Richard III fantasy novella, "Sacred King."

I have to do the editing, then the historical notes, but I plan to release it for the Anniversary of Bosworth Field.

I have decided to release this in paperback as well as e-book, available via Amazon and other stores.
The paperback might take a little longer to hit the shelves.

Sacred King takes place in the weeks approaching Bosworth and its aftermath, using folklore connected with the battle itself, the Prophecies of Thomas the Rhymer, and local Leicestershire folklore. Notably Black Annis.

It's a redemption tale, a modern version of Dante's Inferno, with a hint of Plowman and Pilgrim's Progress.

Loyaltie Me Lie!

J.P.R


SACRED KING - RICHARD III : Sinner, Sufferer, Scapegoat & Sacrifice 
OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Happy Summer Solstice, from Stonehenge

"... The warriors of Ardhu Pendraec rejoiced, and so did the people of God's Peak, the Spiralfort of the good God Dag and his Son. People danced around the stone circle through the day and night, and beakers were filled, drunk and smashed. Offerings were given in the pit circle and to the maiden of the Holy Chalice and her chosen one, Gal'havad, winner of the Cup of Gold.
The folk of Ibherna came from all around, climbing up the terraced hillside from the river, to gift them with fruit and wheatsheafs and to give Ivormyth ancestral gifts to take to her own home in Prydn, the Isle of the Mighty - Barrel shaped beads and schist plaques of jaedite, a miniature axehead pendant and two polished balls for fertility."

Extracts from "Moon Lord"

HAPPY SOLSTICE! 

Dan Rendell. Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2014