The first book in a brand new trilogy from the author of Prospero's Children. Bartlemy Goodman is approximately 1500 years old. An albino of Greek parentage he was born in Byzantium amidst the decline of the Roman Empire and now resides at Thornyhill house, England, with his dog, Hoover. Bartlemy is one of the Gifted. But long experience has taught him the perils of the power of the witch-kind and so throughout the ages has channelled his considerable talents into cooking, his culinary prowess becoming the stuff of legend: he worked for the Borgias, was among the first to discover chocolate and even taught the likes of Escoffier. On a warm evening in 1991 a young homeless woman holding a baby turns up on Bartlemy's doorstep and he senses destiny at work. The woman's name is Annie Ward and her son, Nathan, is an exceptional child as Annie cannot account for his conception. Her husband Daniel died in a car accident so Nathan cannot be his. Soon Bartlemy comes to believe that the boy was created beyond the Gate of Death by a superior being for a special purpose, one that may threaten all of witch-kind and that it is his job to protect him. Whilst Nathan grows and Bartlemy continues to watch over the small family, strange occurrences begin to plague the village. The Thorn family, who gave their name to the village have lived close by since pre-Christian times, were once the guardians of a strange cup of greenish stone and set with jewels. When it was lost; sold to a Jewish collector in Austria by the black sheep of the family who absconded with it in the 1920's, the family's fortune soon followed suit. Rumoured to have been stolen by the Nazis during the war it has now turned up at Sotheby's and the last of the Thorns is determined to get it back by proving the original sale false. Bartlemy joins his friend, Rowena Thorn, in her campaign. But the matter becomes complicated and sinister when Nathan discovers the body of the Austrian owner in the wood nearby and begins to experience disturbing visions involving the cup itself.
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"A desperate mother spirits away her infant son, seemingly drawn (chased, perhaps?) to the small English village of Thornyhill. She ends up on the doorstep of old Bartlemy, a curious man who has lived on the forested land for as long as anyone can remember-and who comes to believe that the child is destined for great things. . . .
While growing up under Bartlemy's protective eye, Nathan Ward senses something "else watching him, a shift of shadows in the surrounding Darkwood. Then pieces of his dreams begin to come to life. A man he saved from the ocean washes ashore on the television news. A greenish stone cup set with jewels that has haunted his visions sounds eerily like one lost by the Thorn family centuries ago-a cup that has recently made its way back into the hands of the village's last living ancestor.
Yet when Nathan learns the chalice may have come from another world, a land with bloodstained moons and a toxic sun, he knows he is destined to play a part in something beyond his most vivid imagination. But why is the cup here, and what could it possibly want with a teenage boy and a sleepy town of villagers full of tall tales? With the help of his best friend, Hazel, Nathan must figure out why he's been chosen-and for what purpose. Even if it means traveling deeper each night into dreams, into lands, into legends that both terrify and mesmerize him.
"The Greenthorn Grail is the first novel of a thrilling new trilogy, tracing a boy's journey-a quest rife with magic, wonder, and forces as dark as midnight.
"From the Hardcover edition.From the Back Cover:
A winged darkness swooped low over the city, swift as a sudden squall; on the slope a stunted tree twisted with the wind. There was a noise which might have been thunder or the booming of immense pinions. Whether the shadow was cloud or creature Nathan couldn't tell, but he felt the icy chill of its advent, and the wind that tried to tear the tree from its roots whirled his thought away, out of the city, out of the dream, into the gentle oblivion of sleep.
When Nathan Ward sleeps his dreams take him to other worlds, where strange things feel familiar and familiar things feel strange - like most people's dreams, but Nathan's dream-worlds are real and his nightmares have teeth…
The last time he dreamed, Nathan found himself trapped in Arkatron - a city at the end of time, in a dying world - and he almost died there. Now, Nathan has begun to dream of another place far removed from the harsh, bustling technology of Arkatron. This place is a hollow shell, haunted by cursed shadows and fear.
Nathan has a task to complete, impressed upon him by malevolent will and a world's agony. A quest which began with the discovery of a strange green stone cup, but will only be completed when all the missing pieces of a great spell are brought together, and a terrible sacrifice is made.
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Book Description Voyager, 2004. paperback / softback. Book Condition: new. 1st trade edition paperback, new In stock shipped from our UK warehouse. Bookseller Inventory # 21039