The Weirdstone

 

If you have just finished the last instalment of Harry Potter and can brave something darker than dementors, I would be doing you a disservice not to recommend The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, which has just received a lavish 50thanniversary reissue.

It is fantastical fairy tale set in the very real countryside of Cheshire, where two children fall into the possession of a magical stone. The Weirdstone keeps forty ancient knights safe, sleeping until the coming battle with the Lord of Darkness, Nastrond. If it should fall into the sinister hands of the morthbrood – whose eyes and ears are always where you least expect – then the world will fall to evil. Their journey through misty moors, forests and gloomy caverns with the wizard Cadellin Silverbrow is drenched in tense atmosphere, where old magic, shapeshifters and a last desperate stand in the Cheshire hills will etch a permanent place in your memory. 

One scene in which the children, Colin and Susan, must crawl through a mud tunnel the size of a rabbit hole to escape stunted monsters gives me claustrophobic shudders to this day. In fact, it could just be that Alan Garner’s nail biting prose gave me my claustrophobia in the first place.

Philip Pullman called Garner ‘indisputably the great originator, the most important British writer of fantasy since Tolkien, and in many respects better than Tolkien – deeper and more truthful’. I won’t argue with him.

 

                                

Other Articles

Introducing Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

When I sat down to write Kingdom of Souls many years ago, I was terrified. Growing up, I desperately searched for characters in books who looked like me and was always disappointed to find none. I loved reading stories where kids saved the world, tamed dragons, wielded magic, flew… Read More

Welcome to Rilpor, please enjoy the stabbing! by Anna Stephens

On 5 September 2019, the third book in my Godblind Trilogy will be published. Godblind, Darksoul and Bloodchild chart the story of an epic, world-changing and god-killing war of conquest and religious zealotry, not just between the neighbouring kingdoms of Rilpor and Mireces, but between the Gods… Read More

The End of a Trilogy by Anna Smith Spark

Five years ago I sat down and started writing a scene of violence. Men in the desert. Heat. Sunlight. Battle. A hero with a terrible flaw in him. A story emerged, fully formed, pouring itself out of me, a whole world and its history there in my head, love and… Read More