“Well now, there’s legends and then there’s
secrets that the legends hide.”
~The Singing Stones
Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and T.L. Ashcroft-Nowicki, mother and daughter, have both written new takes on the Arthurian legends in the last few years. Dolores wrote The Singing Stones for her grandson and she plans to write more. T.L.’s first novel of a planned trilogy is entitled Merlin’s Daughter. In each novel, we get a glimpse into the spiritual traditions and teachings behind the Arthurian legends from one of England’s foremost magical families. Dolores studied with W. Earnest Butler, and is the head of the Servants of the Light, the organization founded (now renamed) by Western Mystery Tradition Occultist, Dion Fortune. T.L. grew up in her mother’s magical household, and I’ll just bet learned a couple of things here and there.
In The Singing Stones, the main character, Thomas Greystone, learns about his life’s destiny to sing awake the standing stones in his ancestral homeland and allow the Once and Future King to return. His mentor, Bald Bessie, an apparently homeless woman who lives in a cave with a Jack Russel terrier, turns out to be no less a personage than—but wait. Should I tell you? Let’s just say she’s a major player in this myth’s cast of characters.
We follow Thomas as he discovers his true heritage, regains his lost manor, evades the Others in the nearby village who are trying to stop him from coming to full consciousness of himself and his role, finds the circle of singing stones that move about from hilltop to hilltop (a portal to other worlds and realms), and fights a battle against Mordred and Morgan le Fey to bring back the light and the King. Many of us will have read Marion Bradley’s remake of Morgan into a priestess fighting to keep the old religion against the persecution of the short-sighted Roman Christians. Ashcroft-Nowicki has returned Morgan to her older role as a villain. Guinevere is a bit different as well. (I’m not telling.) Published in 2009, Ashcroft-Nowicki promises a sequel. She’s a busy lady, but I can’t wait to read it.
T.L. Ashcroft-Nowicki’s Merlin’s Daughter begins with the intertwined stories of Nimue and Merlin, telling the tale from the death of Merlin’s teacher to the death of Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon. But the timeline is not entirely linear; it weaves back and forth. Just a little at first, but later we begin to understand the truth of Merlin’s title of being the Walker Between the Worlds, someone who can move outside time and space, and of course through the portals of the standing stones. The Dragons are presented as Lords of Time and Space. We get to meet one, much to my delight.
In this novel, Merlin gets his powers from study and practice, yes, but also from his faerie bloodline. Merlin is the son of the Faery King Gwyn App Nudd, and a human mother who died young. Nimue’s mother is a Priestess of Avalon, also human, named Aeryn. They are both charged with the task of protecting the Thirteen Treasures that hold the magical energies of the Golden Age that will ensure Arthur can rule using their power and wisdom. Speaking of Arthur, their immediate task is to create the conditions for Arthur to be born, which turns into a rather arduous job involving perilous journeys. The book covers the major events of the mythical Arthurian saga through the eyes of different characters. The descriptions of life during that era, as well as details of the castles and keeps, the magical woods, and the Glastonbury Tor, all served to take me deeply into the story.
These novels will deliver an enjoyable and entertaining read for all readers. And they will even whisper teachings and visions to some.
Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her paranormal mysteries. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “The Judgment of Osiris” and “Bringing the Waters.” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.
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