What drew my attention to this book was Sybil’s comment on its rather tastefully done cover. I was interested in The Grail King by Joy Nash, which marks the debut of the author’s Druids of Avalon series, because of its loose connection to King Arthur and my love of Avalon, medieval magic and fantasy. I would have forgotten about it had it not been for Kristie and Cindy (thanks, ladies!).
Fans of the Arthurian saga would be familiar with the search for the Holy Grail, and though there have been many other fictional works covering this quest, few speculated on how the Grail came to be connected to Avalon. I must commend Joy Nash for weaving that into this story very convincingly.
The story happens some years after Celtic Fire which, judging from Jayne’s review, I don’t regret skipping … I would have given it a wide berth if I’d gone by its cover anyway. Boy, am I glad this paranormal fantasy (which earned a C+ from Jayne) didn’t suffer from an awful clinch cover!
Here’s the synopsis from the back cover (or you can always read the excerpt):
The vision came upon him [Owein] suddenly: a delicate Roman beauty materializing out of the swirling whiteness of the snow. Her appearance near his ruined Celtic village made no sense, but when the trance left him, she remained, demanding that he use his Sight to help her find a stolen grail. The last thing he intended was to use his gifts for the good of his enemy, yet something told him this innocent lass had the power to touch him, to bring warmth where there had only been coldness, and to heal his wounded heart.
Apart from the rather standard development of the romance between Owein and Clara, sworn enemies by virtue of their identifies, The Grail King is an imaginative tale of magic, upheaval and conflicts the triumph of Light over Darkness, Good over Evil, Love over Hate. Ms Nash has woven a fantastical world of druids and Avalon that I would love to continue exploring. You could tell she has really done her research, and there’s nothing to ground a historical work more soundly than sticking with the times. I confess I’m already looking forward to the next instalment, which I suspect will be Marcus’ story. I’m also guessing that Rhys will end up with Breena.
Oh, and this book is a Romantic Times 2006 Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee for HISTORICAL FANTASY. Her next effort, The Awakening, as part of The Immortal Series, looks intriguing although Dorchester should seriously consider re-designing the website for the series.