The Ninth Wave and White Ravens, the first two New stories from the Mabinogion: It is hard to take on the giants of the past without being felled by them, but Celyn Jones and Sheers have done justice to the Mabinogion, and to themselves. The Times White Ravens and The Ninth Wave, the two first New Stories from the Mabinogion: Seren has had the intriguing idea of asking prominent Welsh authors to 'reinvent' the [Mabinogion] stories [ - ]: the assignment has drawn both authors into fresh imaginative territory, without becoming entangled in what Alison, in Garner's The Owl Service, ruefully calls 'the complicated bit: all magic'.A" Saturday Guardian with typical humourA" 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.A" Big IssueVom Verlag:
What with religious wars, piracy on the high seas, global plagues and a looming oil shortage, it's not so far-fetched to imagine a medieval world of the near future. And this is exactly what Russell Celyn Jones has done in this arresting retelling of the centuries-old Welsh Mabinogion myth, Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed. Pwyll finds his inherited status hard to bear and is never sure how he is drawn into murdering his future wife's fiance, losing his son and switching beds with the king of the underworld in a bizarrely upside down world where surfing and sailing are perfect freedom but you need a horse to get home again down the M4. Breathing life into this ancient story and retelling it in modern fictional form, Russell Celyn Jones swops the magical for the psychological, the courtly for the post-feminist and goes back to Swansea bay to complete some unfinished business. New Stories from the Mabinogion is an exciting series of contemporary novels by leading authors, reworking ancient Celtic myth cycles.The first two stories are published in October 2009.Authors so far commissioned are Owen Sheers, Niall Griffiths, Russell Celyn Jones and Gwyneth Lewis. The eleven stories in the Mabinogion are diverse medieval Welsh tales taken from two fourteenth-century manuscripts collating a much earlier oral tradition. They were first translated into English in the nineteenth century. They bring us Celtic mythology, a history of the Island of Britain seen through the eyes of medieval Wales, and include the first appearance in literature of King Arthur - but tell tales that stretch way beyond the boundaries of contemporary Wales. There is enchantment and shape-shifting, conflict, peacemaking, love, betrayal. A wife conjured out of flowers is punished for unfaithfulness by being turned into an owl,Arthur and his knights chase a magical wild boar and its piglets from Ireland, across south Wales to Cornwall, a prince changes places with the king of the underworld for a year - Each author has chosen a story to reinvent and retell for their own reasons and in their own way: creating fresh, contemporary tales which speak to us today, while tapping into a vigorous source of stories still flowing just beneath the surface of our culture.
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