Awen: A Novel of Early Medieval Wales

Overview

Awen is a tightly woven novel of suspense, intrigue, love, and warfare set on the border between the Welsh kingdom of Powys and the English Kingdom of Mercia at the end of the eighth century. The result of years of devoted research, the novel centers on an ancient and enigmatic poetry cycle, Canu Heledd.

Battles and kidnappings, blood feuds and political murders entangle the poet Cynfarch, as Brochfael of Powys struggles to protect his people's culture and sovereignty from the ...

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Overview

Awen is a tightly woven novel of suspense, intrigue, love, and warfare set on the border between the Welsh kingdom of Powys and the English Kingdom of Mercia at the end of the eighth century. The result of years of devoted research, the novel centers on an ancient and enigmatic poetry cycle, Canu Heledd.

Battles and kidnappings, blood feuds and political murders entangle the poet Cynfarch, as Brochfael of Powys struggles to protect his people's culture and sovereignty from the growing might of Offa of Mercia. From the harsh mountains valleys of North Wales to the quiet streams of western England, from the vanished court of Mathrafal to Charlemagne's throne, a bloody apocalypse looms as Cynfarch pursues both Meirwen's heart and his own quest for reinstatement as bard to the king of Powys.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Two major mysteries surround the fragment of the ancient Welsh poetry cycle . One is the historical events, if any, that lay behind their content. The other is who wrote them, when, where, and why. It is the second question that Canadian novelist and biographer Mayse addresses in a meticulously researched historical novel. She fleshes out bare names from inscriptions and annals, and mingles them with her own characters to portray the eighth-century border land between Saxon and Britain, and a good sampling of the rest of Europe. She includes lists of historical and fictional names, a glossary, a guide to pronouncing Welsh, a historical and literary essay, maps, and a list of further reading that includes recent editions of old texts as well as academic studies. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780910055376
  • Publisher: Eastern Washington University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.59 (d)

Meet the Author

SUSAN MAYSE is a prize-winning Canadian novelist, biographer, and playwright. She lives on Vancouver Island.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2000

    Do yourself a favour. Get it!

    This book is no ordinary novel. As such it requires some patience and commitment by the reader. However, the rewards for this small effort are vast and manyfold. The plot evolves around Brys, a soldier/poet in eighth century Wales. In his efforts to serve his country he fights battles, defends his friends, survives assassination attempts and deals in the political intrigues of the day. Fictional and non-fictional characters are woven into the plot along with historical events. Anyone interested in the real Dark Ages or Welsh history will be fascinated by Awen and anyone just looking for an exciting read will end up interested in the Dark Ages and Welsh history! Do yourself a favour and grab a copy today!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 1999

    A richly textured historical novel!

    Awen is a richly textured historical novel that would appeal to fans of Sigrid Undset, Dorothy Dunnett, and Sharon Kay Penman. The reader steps into early eighth century Britain and meets Brys, a disgraced court poet, who must somehow knit together an uneasy alliance of enemies. His mission is to unite warring Welsh kingdoms in time to stave off the encroachment of the English kingdom of Mercea. Palace intrigues, bloody raids, romance and misunderstandings are the name of the day. This is a monumental literary novel, and once you start it, you will immerse yourself in a world which is both unique and universal. Enjoy!

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