"Moondance of Stonewylde" is the second in this series of five titles, and follows on from "Magus of Stonewylde". The story is picked up again at the Summer Solstice, where Yul has incurred Magus' wrath by challenging him for the leadership of the community. The sunrise ceremony amongst the great standing stones was a disaster for Magus, with Yul lighting the Solstice Fire and receiving the powerful earth energy in his place. But Magus still holds the power, and embarks on another attempt to subdue the rebellious Village boy. The story unfolds throughout the glorious summer at Stonewylde, where crops are grown organically and the people are self-sufficient and productive. Beautiful descriptions flow of this idyllic place, a community steeped in magic and time-honoured traditions. There's an exhilarating cricket match on the Village Green at Lammas, and the harvesting of wheat in honour of the Corn Mother.Yul proves worthy of the wise-woman's prophecies, hardening himself to the brutality that Magus inflicts so casually, and waiting with growing impatience for the time when his destiny can be fulfilled.
But Magus discovers Sylvie's secret gift, bestowed during the rising of each full moon, and sees a way to exploit her to boost his own waning power. His attempts to harness the young girl's magic are aided by his shaman half-brother, who is weak and easily bribed with the addictive hallucinogenic cakes that are part of every pagan festival at Stonewylde. Sylvie grows fragile and thin again, and Yul seems powerless to save her from Magus' cruelty. The Autumn Equinox sees the harvesting of apples in the great orchards at Stonewylde, and Sylvie realises she has a rival for Yul's affections.Her innocent and evocative relationship with the boy is developing into something more adult, and both struggle to control their powerful feelings for each other. Meanwhile Sylvie's mother Miranda remains besotted with Magus, his baby growing inside her, and abandons any attempts to protect her daughter from the man's exploitation. As Samhain (Hallowe'en) approaches, the tension notches even higher when Yul makes a disastrous attempt to rescue Sylvie from the clutches of the two men. By the end of the book, his life hangs by a whisker as Magus gives free rein to his excesses.The reader is left feverish to discover what happens next.
A fantastic sequel to 'Magus', I enjoyed this instalment even more, and I did not think that was possible!
The book starts practically where 'Magus' left off.The same great storytelling as 'Magus', completely had me gripped! I won't bore you by explaining the story as it is summed up in the Sypnosis suffice to add Sylvie is getting more interesting, I was a bit concerned at first that she would just beome another whiny teen but, she isn't and I really love her character.
Although this and the others are based heavily on Paganism I don't think you need to be a Pagan to read this, after all there were millions who read Harry Potter that were not Wizards, and who knows it might make you more interested in the way of a Pagan.
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