THE CHALICE AND THE BLADE
A master storyteller whisks us away into pure enchantment in a faraway time filled with mystery and magic.
In 12th-century Wales, Ceridwen's fate is sealed the night Carn Merioneth falls to the evil invader. Rescued by Moriath, daughter of a Druid wizard, she grows to lovely adulthood in an isolated nunnery.
But when Llywelyn, the ruling Prince of Gwynedd, decrees that she should wed Caradoc, the Boar of Balor, Ceridwen flees in hopes of reaching her brother at the monastery at Strata Florida. Her worst fears are realized, however, when she falls into the hands of the lord of Wydehaw Castle and his brutal retainers.
There is one hope. The feared sorcerer Dain Lavrons, a Danish crusader who learned the forbidden arts while a prisoner of the Saracens, is called to tend to her wounds. And in his magical tower beyond the Druid Door, Ceridwen is fascinated by his exotic charm.
But a greater destiny leads the two into the company of the enigmatic Quicken-tree, who fight to regain the keep at Carn Merioneth and open the magical weir gate that seals the caverns of the ancient creatures known as the pryf.
Although answers are only obliquely forthcoming and much remains veiled for later revelation, Ms. McReynolds tantalizes us with a powerful mystical ambiance and searing passion, firing our imaginations in fresh and exciting ways. (Sep., 424 pp., $6.50)