After being sucked through a portal in No Man’s Land during the First World War Battle of Mons, Royal Flying Corps observer Kerne finds himself in another world, fighting for his life against his unpredictable pilot – Madoc, who has become Taranis, the Iron King. Modern weapons of war have been introduced to the Bronze Age realm of the ancestors with devastating results. Kerne must learn the Way of the Windsmith, a magician of sacred sound who can summon winds, with the help of Merlin, his feathered guide, if he is to stop his power-mad companion. The power of words is set against the power of swords in a deadly battle for control of Shadow World, Earth’s symbiotic twin. War comes to the land of the dead, and only one of the airmen can live if both worlds are not to be torn apart by their anomalous presence.
‘You have captured the strong physicality of the ancient Celtic Afterlands from their myths and legends, without sacrificing any of their ‘otherness’, their spirituality. It is gripping story made even more poignant and potent for being woven out of familiar and haunting strands from ancient Irish and Welsh traditions, and familiar and haunting images from modern wars…It is a chilling concept that we affect the Afterlands by our actions in this world. It is a thought-provoking book…apart from being a thoroughly readable yarn. I love that your skill in poetry comes through in your prose. I love the quotes at the beginnings of the chapters drawing the threads of time together and weaving a rich tapestry of different, yet similar, realities.’
Moyra Caldecott, author ‘Guardians of the Tall Stones’ and many others
‘This interesting novel follows a man’s adventures from the battlefields of WWI to a Celtic afterlife. The plot has echoes of Tolkien, when the hero has to bind a disjointed group of allies to battle a seemingly insurmountable villain who threatens to overwhelm the land with his brutish armies. The philosophy underpinning this Otherworld is a bit of an odd mix of Wiccan and Eastern notions, with a hefty dose of lolo Morgannwg for good measure, but so long as the reader treats it as fantasy and not a historical text, it is actually a good read. The hero, Isambard Kerne, is likeable enough and his mentor Ogmios comes across as a grumpy Gandalf. Those familiar with Irish myth will recognise a lot of the set pieces, which are well handled. Each chapter is prefaced with a poetic excerpt, including some evocative Welsh verses. I don’t think I have ever read a novel with such extensive appendices, containing as they do more information than some books! The novel seems designed for sequels, and I can easily imagine many Druids, Celtic Wiccans and the like eagerly awaiting Part Two.’