Title: Into the Path of Gods (Signed By Author)
Publisher: Bardsong Pr
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
Signed: Signed by Author
Hard Cover - VG/VG - Book and dust jacket are clean and tight with light wear - Signed by author - 413 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 243340
Synopsis: In the war-torn fifth century, after the end of Roman rule and before King Arthur's rise to power, spy and master of disguise Marcus ap Iorwerth diligently works to place the rightful high king in control of Britain. One of his duties, discrediting brokers of foreign mercenaries, leads him to Claerwen, an ethereal woman whose gift of visions draws him into the path of gods, a destiny as unshakable as the love they come to share. In time, they realize Claerwen has inadvertently become ensnared in a lethal conspiracy to locate the priceless sacred symbols of Britain's high kings. Known collectively as Macsen's Treasure and lost for decades, the symbols have become the target of a mazelike network of unknown enemies seeking power. Claerwen knows nothing of the treasure and Marcus makes every effort to protect her, but he is betrayed and disappears. Alone and homeless, Claerwen must decide whether to believe what everyone tells her, that Marcus is dead and she should go into hiding, or to follow her instinct and the path of gods on a daunting quest to find him and the truth of Macsen's Treasure.
From the Author: From the Author's Note:
Dark Age Britain is one the most difficult periods of history to interpret due to the lack of recorded documentation. Society was oral, not literate. Given that druids were the keepers of history, genealogy, science, and the gods know what else, much was lost when they were driven underground or annihilated during the Roman invasion. Even with a strong Celtic cultural revival after the occupation ended in the early fifth century, little was recovered, and society continued to be oral. It is presumable that without druidic discipline, the stories were carried from generation to generation with haphazard embellishments instead of accuracy; the ordinary man was not trained to remember great scads of knowledge in precise detail and preferred to add his own touches.
And this is our legacy from our Celtic ancestors: We have many versions of the Arthurian Cycle and its related tales. We have the diligent work of archaeologists and historians who strive to piece together the obscure, the rare existing documents, the wild tales handed down to us, and the physical archaeology, most of which has not yet been fully explored.
The Macsen's Treasure series chronicles the years leading up to Arthur's reign. Into the Path of Gods begins the series; the subsequent volumes will carry the same foremost characters throughout. Each installment can easily be read alone, but they are well tied to each other and follow chronologically.
Several characters are historical: Ambrosius, Vortigern, Ceredig of Strathclyde, Cunedda. There has been enormous speculation over Myrddin's (Merlin's) reality; however, most feel there had to have been a real Myrddin on which to base the legendary magician. Arthur himself has been treated much the same way. (For fascinating reading on Arthur, see Geoffrey Ashe's The Discovery of King Arthur.)
The other characters are fictional, although I have spent so much time with them, Marcus ap Iorwerth's face haunts my dreams at night. It has been suggested that this comes from a former life, and these are memories pushing their way out of my subconsciousness. Hmmm...
Into the Path of Gods is fiction and should be taken as such. But the further I delved into the historical side of the Age of Arthur, the broader the scope of this project became. Over time, I learned to recognize patterns in the Celtic culture of Dark Age Britain, enough to start asking questions that no one else had answered. I began posing my own theories, attempting to answer my own questions, possibly even to prove them.
One of the most gnawing questions grew out of the conflict resulting from the waning Old Religions and the spread of Christianity. It is known that Christianity converted the pagan holidays to their own use in order to achieve ease of continuity into the new belief system. Many other symbols, customs, and traditions were adapted as well. Could it be that symbols of Britain's ancient High Kings had been adapted along with the holidays, items that became well- known, such as Excalibur and the Holy Grail?
It is highly conceivable that important symbols of the ancient kingship were manufactured and carried down through the centuries, as the current monarchies of the world still do, i.e. crowns, sceptres, ceremonial swords and such. Grails were important items in the Old Religion rituals, very likely used in kingship ceremonies as well. If Midwinter became Christmas, likewise it is possible the kingship grail became the Holy Grail, the quest for truth and holiness in druidry transformed into the quest for truth and holiness in Christianity.
Macsen's Treasure is not specifically named in any of the old legends; I have collectively gathered the symbols and dubbed them for the last true leader Britain had as the Roman occupation crumbled, Magnus Maximus, or in Welsh, Macsen Wledig. If he truly had such treasure to hide for its safekeeping, it could easily have been lost in the burgeoning turmoil after his death in 388.
Each volume in this series highlights one of the pieces of the treasure and ponders the possible fate of each piece historically, attempting to strip away myth. Symbolically in connection with the ancient culture, I have tied each with one of the four natural elements as is basic to the Old Religions. The poem fictionally attributed to Myrddin explains the connections. . .
. . .One last, quick note: To those who say King Arthur was king of England, remember, historically, England did not yet exist, not until the Saxons, Angles, and other invaders permanently established themselves after Arthur's demise. Many Medieval legends do call it England, but those who wrote them were not historians. Arthur was High King of Britain.
----- K.C.G., September 1997
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