Sunday, 28 September 2008

Magus of Stonewylde by Kit Berry

"Magus of Stonewylde" is the first title in a series of five. Written in an untapped genre, it's contemporary fiction set in an authentic pagan context. The book appeals to both males and females, from young teens to senior adults. Stonewylde is an alternative community, a vast country estate hidden away in Dorset and enclosed behind high boundary walls. Ruled by the charismatic Magus, life here is simple and seems idyllic. Into this magical world come Sylvie and her mother, trying to escape the stresses of modern inner-city life. Sylvie suffers from chronic eczema and a strange malaise, but soon begins to heal in the peace and tranquillity of the beautiful Dorset countryside. She and her mother are entranced, both by their new life in a place where time seems to have stood still, and by their attractive benefactor.But then Sylvie befriends Yul, a dark and rebellious Village lad, and slowly she begins to see that Stonewylde, and particularly Magus, are not quite what they appeared to be. Why is Yul so damaged? What secret is he trying to protect?
And is the old crone on the hill a powerful wise-woman or simply a demented hag bent on destroying the equilibrium with her wild prophecies? Sylvie and her mother Miranda are initiated into the community at Beltane, which is celebrated in a great Stone Circle hidden amongst the oak trees. They take part in the pagan festivals that are an element of everyday life here, and Miranda is introduced to the full moon rituals by Magus himself. Sylvie has her own problems to contend with at the full moon, which has always affected her in a strange way. She discovers a special standing stone where the hares dance to the moon and with Yul's help realises that she is in fact moongazy.But this brings the wrath of two men on Yul's head, and the boy is taken away for punishment of a barbaric kind. Sylvie must learn to fight, and Yul must learn to bide his time. As the young pair's friendship deepens into something more, Miranda realises she is expecting Magus' child. The old crone's ramblings take on a new meaning and Sylvie realises the full extent of Magus' ruthlessness, and just how much danger Yul is in. Only she can save him.

If not, the boy will be destroyed by the dark forces that Magus has at his command.The first book in the "Stonewylde" series ends in an exciting and satisfying manner, and yet leaves the reader longing for the next book to take the story further. Meticulous research ensures authenticity to every detail of rural Dorset life, which makes the dazzling setting seem so real. Earth energy, moon magic - strange stuff, and yet all seems possible at Stonewylde.

My View
This book has had amazing reviews on Amazon and I was a bit dubious at first as I always feel let down by overhyped books but, totally not here!

Kit Berry has created an amazing story, there are sadly few books around that capture the true Pagan way of life in the way Kit has and which Pagan would not want to live in Stonewylde I know I would.

Sylvie is a great character it did take me a little while to warm to her but, over the three books her character really does develop, all the characters were brilliant and unlike some books I could not guess where the plot was going which was good.

The descriptions of all the Pagan festivals were brilliant really capturing the sense of the occasion.


mariel said...

Interesting. I had not heard of this series, but it sounds right up my alley! Plus it is set in Dorset, where I have family and spend a lot of time. I shall definitely be looking this book up. Thanks for the great review!

margotreehugger said...

I loved this book too.