Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The bronze age revisited

While I was writing my fantasy novel The Sarsen Witch, I didn’t think of it as a romance, so much as a prehistoric adventure about the intersection of the Neolithic and Bronze Age worlds, and the building of Stonehenge. In re-reading, though, I realized that the template I’d borrowed, in a setting millennia earlier than the Arthurian legends or the story of Tristan and Iseult, was the archetypal romantic triangle of king, king’s wife, and king’s friend. Ricca, the Wessex warrior chieftain, is a flawed and barbaric Arthur; Gwi, the bronze-smith, his trusted friend; Naeri, the woman they both love; and Daui, the vengeful kinsman who would destroy them all.

Now, after many years, The Sarsen Witch is coming back into print. In the dramatic cover by Tim Lantz, Naeri appears as she does in the first pages of the book – “chapped lips, windburned face, lean hard-muscled body … a creature spare and strong and hardy as the gorse”.

On a trip to England in 1990 I traveled through Wiltshire, retracing the path of Naeri’s adventures in the megalithic world of Avebury and Stonehenge. You can find some of my experiences on that trip in the archives at http://eileen-kernaghan.blogspot.com

1 comment:

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Hi Eileen:

I wonder why that template King-King's wife-King's best friend-Vengeful kinsman is such a powerful one in the western mind.

I wonder, is it also found in non-western cultures?

Either we were all affected by Arthur or Isolde as a kid or there's something way deep in the human psyche that wants to always revisit the story as love as duty (marriage), love as powerful emotional instinct (romance), and family avenger.

I never realized The Sarsen Witch was so deeply archetypal. -C