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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur (The Chronicles of the Stone #2) by Fiona Ingram

Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. 

Description:

Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Join Justin and Adam as they search not only for the second Stone of Power, but also for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, they learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped. Book extras include some historical background on King Arthur, the Dark Ages, warfare and weaponry during Arthur’s time, and details on Excalibur. A fascinating peek into the life and times of the real King Arthur, perfect for young time travelers and budding archaeologists.

GUEST POST
Researching King Arthur and the Dark Ages 

What a treat for me to include the story of King Arthur in Book 2 of The Chronicles of the Stone, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. King Arthur is, without doubt, the greatest legendary figure in the western world. A mighty king, brave in battle, with a seemingly magical sword: Excalibur. Even death cannot touch him since legend says he is not dead, but sleeping in a cave on the isle of Avalon, waiting to be awakened in time of his country’s direst need. It’s the very stuff of heroism and adventure. However, research was not as easy as I thought it would be. Countless poems, books, screenplays, and material have been written about him, speculating on his birth, his exploits, his legacy, and what he has come to represent to the world. But what are the true facts about the life and death of Arthur, King of the Britons? 

After 400 years of Roman rule, the Romans withdrew from Britain in AD 410. This heralded the beginning of the Dark Ages, a period of chaos and warfare that lasted from AD 500 to approximately AD 1000. It is appropriately called the Dark Ages, not only because it was a time when civilization collapsed, but very few records survived. That’s why so little is known about when Arthur is said to have lived and why there is such debate concerning his historical existence. There was a real Arthur, a great and skilled war leader who performed many brave and epic deeds. It is thought he came from an area called the kingdom of Powys which is now West Midlands and central Wales. He most likely was a nobleman of British-Roman ancestry. Arthur was believed to have had extensive knowledge of Roman military strategies and warfare which he successfully used against the Saxons during the late 5th and early 6th Centuries. His possible birth date was around AD 478/488. 

History is an ever-changing subject where what is thought to be fact today can be considered fiction tomorrow! A modern interpretation of an historical event is surely based on fact, one would assume. Medieval historians did not think that way at all. They would ‘adjust’ historical facts for one reason or other so modern historians can’t rely completely on them. They would sometimes report something told as a factual account, even if it did not actually happen. Or else they would place a story in a context familiar to the listeners/readers, thus causing much confusion. Names of places, people, and rivers would also change according to an era or the writer’s interpretation of events.

Despite the abundance of material written on Arthur, much of it, especially from the 12th Century onwards, is embellishment of existing legends to suit the trend at the time for romantic stories and songs, and the resurgence of popularity of Celtic mythology. To glean any real facts about Arthur, one has to delve further back into more prosaic (and possibly more accurate) references, such as writings by various monks (who did stick more or less to the facts), collections of old stories, battle poems and sagas, calendar calculations, records of historical events, and battle descriptions. Luckily, I was able to find books with detailed analyses of these relatively accurate accounts. Yet, each expert had their own opinions as to what was correct. I had to make my own decisions based on the material available. Researching Arthur was quite a monumental task, given the experts’ varying opinions, but it was one of the most gratifying projects I have ever undertaken. I hope you enjoy the book!

EXCERPT




Adam shivered in the chilly air. It was hard to tell if it was early morning or late evening because the moon was still visible, a pale disc hanging in a dark gray sky. Ragged shreds of clouds

scudded across the moon’s face, casting strange shadows on the ground in front of him. Mist floated around his ankles and swirled in soft eddies when he moved his feet. In front of him lay an open field, grayish green in the dim light. Farther away, he saw the mound of a huge hill. Adam got the feeling he had fallen through a hole in time—back to the Dark Ages, back to Arthur’s era.
He heard a faint howling noise in the distance. Wolves? Adam froze with fear. He desperately tried to remember whether there had still been wolves in England during the Dark Ages. There must have been because there was no other sound quite like the howl of a wolf. The hairs on his arms rose as he heard the howl again. Although he pinched himself to wake up, it was no good; he remained in the dream. At the sound of distant hoof beats, he shrank back against a large tree trunk. There was no time to run away because suddenly the drumming hooves were all around him. Then came the faint melancholy wail of a battle horn and the tinny sound of chinking metal. He could hear the crisp snap-snap of fluttering pennants and when he turned, he glimpsed banners waving among the trees. The surge of spectral riders halted and one man, seated on a white horse, appeared at the head of the cavalcade.

The eerie figure came closer, the horse lifting its feet carefully, clip-clopping right up to the trembling boy. The horse was huge, its trappings gleaming with pinpoints of metal rosettes, its long tail and mane hanging like ghostly cobwebs in the pale moonlight. The beast snorted and stamped restlessly. Adam saw the burnished glint of a helmet with a dragon-shaped crest topped by a red plume. Although the cheek pieces of the helmet obscured the man’s features, the shadowy figure was looking right at him. A red cloak swirled around the warrior’s body and, as the fabric swung aside, Adam saw the gleam of chain mail and the dark shape of a breastplate on the man’s chest. The warrior’s armor seemed more Roman than he expected. A banner flapped from the spear of a man behind the warrior: a red dragon on a white background. The warrior raised one arm, and a roar erupted as the sounds of cheering burst from what seemed to be thousands of throats. Although Adam heard strange words in another language, somehow he understood what the voices said.

“Hail the Pendragon!”

Adam was so close that he could have reached out and touched the rider. The spectral figure drew his sword from its scabbard and held it aloft. It seemed to Adam that he saw every detail with strangely magnified clarity. It was the same sword from the museum, but it looked so different now. The metal gleamed with a peculiar bluish sheen. Curious characters embossed the length of the blade. At the top, just under the crossguard, was a small circle with a seven-pointed star inside it. Sparkling gems decorated the hilt and pommel, with two dragons’ heads facing inward on the crossguard. The stone between the dragons’ open mouths glowed brilliant red. Suddenly, a fiery, almost blinding light shot from the stone, dazzling him. The white horse reared on its hindquarters. The radiant beam lit up the forest as the warrior whirled the blade around his head several times. Adam fell to his knees, shaking with a mixture of terror and excitement as he realized the second Stone of Power was embedded in the sword of Arthur. But the stone in the museum sword was nothing like this one.




About the author:
Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor.

Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone.

Fiona has just published the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, a treat for young King Arthur fans. She is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

1 comment:

Fiona Ingram said...

Thank you so much for hosting me!