Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New Historical Novel is Not Your Granddad’s King Arthur Story

New Historical Novel is Not Your Granddad’s King Arthur Story

Published by Bardsong Press, The Anvil Stone is Kathleen Cunningham Guler’s latest Arthurian novel in the Macsen’s Treasure Series. Set in fifth-century Britain in the period preceding King Arthur’s rise to power, this impeccably researched book explores the endless quest for resistance against tyranny and how shell-shocked one can become in the process. Instead of writing just another retelling of the legend, Guler looks beyond the magic and glory and creates characters that use their wits and courage.

Steamboat Springs, CO (PRWEB) March 27, 2006

“Freedom is all that matters.” Those words are the mantra that spy and master of disguise Marcus ap Iorwerth lives by in the newly released book, The Anvil Stone, by award-winning novelist Kathleen Cunningham Guler.

Published by Bardsong Press, this impeccably researched novel explores the endless quest for resistance against tyranny and how shell-shocked one can become in the process.

The book, set in fifth-century Britain in the period preceding King Arthur’s rise to power, realistically portrays the volatile tribal nature of Dark Age Britain and interweaves it with its mystical Celtic roots and the promise of hope found in the Arthurian legend. Here, we find a world where "king" simply means "warlord” and few souls have any understanding that freedom will be lost if dreaded Saxons invaders get their way and overrun the entire island.

The story begins when the minor-ranking prince called Marcus ap Iorwerth receives a gruesome, bloodstained effigy fashioned to look like him. He recognizes it as both a warning and a challenge, but it also thrusts him back into haunting memories from a tragedy in his past. During the many years he fights both the encroaching Saxons and the treacheries of his own people, he must also fight those memories every step of the way.

Marcus’s beloved wife Claerwen, gifted with second sight—called “fire in the head” in this series—is a perfect counterbalance to Marcus’s earthy grit. Her challenge is to interpret what the gods need her and Marcus to do to keep on track—that quest being the halting of political chicanery while at the same time hunting for the lost sacred sword Excalibur. She finds an equally daunting struggle in helping Marcus come to terms with his past—a past he refuses to talk about with a veteran warrior’s iron-willed resolve.

Library Journal says of The Anvil Stone: “…Guler creates a pair of memorable characters in the resourceful trickster Marcus and his farseeing wife.” Indeed! The Macsen’s Treasure Series has been compared to Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon,” though told with gritty realism instead of sorcery and time-travel. The four-part series, of which this is the third volume, also includes "Into the Path of Gods" and "In the Shadow of Dragons", a 2002 CIPA “Evvy” Award winner for fiction.

Guler, who has studied Celtic history and Arthurian legend for more than twenty years in both the US and the UK, says that her work was never meant to be a retelling of the legend, but rather a deeper look into the dramatic effects of the long-term resistance ancient Britons had against Saxon encroachment as well as their struggle to find unity amongst themselves. A descendant of the Celtic nations of Wales and Scotland, she is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the International Arthurian Society.

The Macsen’s Treasure Series is available from bookstores and major online booksellers. For more information, review copies or to arrange an interview with the author, contact Ann Gilpin or visit www. bardsongpress. com.

Bardsong Press is a small independent publisher specializing in novels and anthologies with Celtic themes.

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