Drawing from two medieval Welsh manuscripts with roots dating back many centuries earlier, this series of 11 stories sheds light on Celtic mythology and Arthurian romance while providing a new perspective on Great Britain itself. From enchantment and shapeshifting to the age-old dichotomies of conflict versus peacemaking and love versus betrayal, all of these tales are uniquely reinvented, creating fresh, contemporary narratives that portray the real world as much as they depict the past.
Recast from the medieval tale of Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed, a young Welsh king who dreams of escaping the burdens of his throne, this fantasy is set in a post oil economy of the near future. This time Pwyll becomes the rebellious son of a wealthy family who sinks into the same murder and mayhem as his prototype. Embracing the simple pleasures and shorter work week available in this petroleum-free environment, Pwyl surfs whenever he wants and rides to his office on horseback down what was once a freeway. However, human nature has not changed, and what was called magic in the old story becomes clinical depression in this one Pwyll spirals into chaos as he murders his future wife’s fiancé, loses his only son, and switches beds with the king of the underworld.
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Russell Celyn Jones is a professor of creative writing at Birkbeck College, London University and the author of The Eros Hunter, An Interference of Light, Small Times, Soldiers and Innocents, Surface Tension, and Ten Seconds from the Sun. He is the recipient of the David Higham Prize, the Society of Authors Award, and China's Weishanhu Award.Review:
"A haunting, engrossing story with a unique aura of its own. Alex Bell's remarkable debut is original, cleverly plotted and so well written the pages just flew by." —Raymond Khoury, author, The Last Templar
"Effectively fuses theological fantasy with psychological mystery to create a gripping narrative." —The Guardian
"Highly engaging . . . successfully taps into the rich vein of deep-seated biblical superstition that is so compelling in works like The Omen or even The Da Vinci Code." —SFRevu
"With typical humour." —Saturday Guardian
"Beautifully packaged, the first in the series [New Stories from the Mabinogion] demonstrates a knack of being contemporary yet seemingly ageless, updating the original blend of Celtic mythology and Arthurian legend to create a work that's full of life . . . Told in sparse and understated prose, it's a tense and evocative piece of work that maintains the fine tradition of Welsh myth-making." —Big Issue
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