The Monk who Cast a Spell

Durstan, a seventeen year old Monk, falls in love with Ailan in 794 AD.

She disappears after their sexual awakening at Beltane, and he is drawn to Beth who believes that she can gain the protection of the Christian Church by manipulating the Monk’s emotions.

The Viking raids, relationships and love for the natural world help Durstan come to the realisation that his life must change.

He has discovered that… love belongs to everyone.

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Abbot Faisal rules the Iona Monastery through fear of punishment, and deprivation.

Brother Andrew writes manuscripts with the oblate, Osfric. Mora, Durstan’s sister, loves clothes and jewels; Roy the Blacksmith was an outcast; and there’s Erik the Viking warlord and his family; Cormac the fisherman; Saille, Ailan’s ethereal friend, and many others.

We meet the Druid Brionach, and learn of Lora’s infatuation for him, as the story unfolds against the beautiful scenery of the Hebridean islands.

The characters cross the sea in coracles from Iona, to walk through ancient forest to Lord Duncan’s Hall inside its timber enclosure.

The seasons change from spring to midwinter when the Old Gods are in the magic of the firelight and the shadows at Yule.

The British isles are ruled by warlords, Kings and Abbots; whilst the forest is a wild place, filled with dangerous animals and the lawless.

The early Christian Church is challenged by tradition, and the Druids. Charms, amulets and spells are prevalent. The books which Andrew writes have their own magical element. The Monks take part in the solstice celebrations, and the Abbot is forced to turn a blind eye because the Old Gods are then at their most powerful.

It is a society dominated by fear of being outcast; violence; slavery; famine and disease. Both men and women are seeking protection from the strongest man: a husband, Lord or Abbot.

And Durstan’s goal… to regain Ailan’s love.

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