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Blame it on a marathon reading session of The Da Vinci Code followed by a viewing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was December 2004 and
I was just getting started on a new novel. I knew the hero would be Owein, a hunky Druid who appeared in my recently sold manuscript, Celtic Fire, which was released last June by Love Spell. Owein's heroine was Clara, the innocent daughter of his enemy. But what adventure would unite the unlikely pair of lovers?
Then the Python crew traipsed past the killer rabbit, and Eric Idle read the last words of Joseph of Arimathea, scrawled on the wall of a dark cave: "He who is valorous and pure of heart may find the Holy Grail in aaarrrrgghhh ... ." Bells tolled, angels sang and inspiration struck. Of course! I would write a grail story.
But my version of the Holy Grail legend would take a different approach than Dan Brown's -- or Monty Python's! The Grail King (Aug., Love Spell) is the first installment in my Druids of Avalon series. The story takes place before King Arthur; my characters are Arthur's ancestors. The elements of Druids -- the Holy Grail, Excalibur, the enchanted Isle of Avalon -- are natural ones for me. I'm fascinated by Celtic lore and have spent years making room on my bookshelf for my husband's ever-increasing collection of King Arthur
novels. We even spent our honeymoon in England on our own grail hunt, searching out traces of the Once and Future King.
There we saw Glastonbury Tor, a mysterious hill rising from the plains of southwestern England, thought to be the legendary
Isle of Avalon. Local lore claims Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail to Avalon shortly after the Last Supper. Some say the cup is buried beneath the Tor, feeding the red waters of the Chalice Well. More practical-minded people say a high iron content causes the water's rosy tinge.
There's no shortage of final resting sites for the "true grail" in the British Isles. The Welsh claim the Holy Grail is the Nanteos Cup, a wooden relic that attracted pilgrims for centuries before being sold to a private collector in 1952. The Marian Chalice theory posits that Mary Magdalene collected Christ's blood in a cup that was later moved from Christ's tomb to Shropshire, England. Yet another tale tells of the Knights Templar carrying the grail from Jerusalem to Roslin Chapel, Scotland, where it's still hidden.
In The Grail King, the elusive cup has once again found its way to British shores. Druid-keepers have added their own magic to the relic, only to lose it during a time of political upheaval. Now, a century later, Druidry is outlawed, Britain is controlled by foreign conquerors, and the Lost Grail has resurfaced. Who will claim the awesome and dangerous power of the Holy Grail? Owein, grandson of a deposed Celtic queen? Clara,
a Roman beauty with a guilty secret? Or the unknown Druid shadowing them both? Read The Grail King to find out!
Editor's Note: If grails, adventure and the Knights Templar are your thing, here's a sampling of books for your enjoyment: The Holy Grail Theme Spotlight.
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