"I've loved every one of Susanna's books! She has bedrock research and a butterfly's delicate touch with characterssure recipe for historical fiction that sucks you in and won't let go!" DIANA GABALDON, #1 New York Times bestselling author of OutlanderSOMEWHERE IN THE HEART OF LEGEND
LIES THE KEY TO HER TERRIFYING DREAMS
The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.
Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who's convinced that Lyn's recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purposeand she's running out of time.
With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.
Other bestselling books by Susanna Kearsley:
The Winter Sea
A Desperate Fortune
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Shine, little lamp, nor let thy light grow dim.
Into what vast, dread dreams, what lonely lands,
Into what griefs hath death delivered him
Far from my hands?
-Marjorie Pickthall, "The Lamp of Poor Souls"
The dream came, as it always did, just before dawn.
I was standing alone at the edge of a river that wound through a valley so lush and so green that the air seemed alive. The warble of songbirds rang over the treetops from branches bent low with the weight of ripe fruit, and everywhere the flowers grew, more vivid and fragrant than any flowers I had ever seen before. Their fragrance filled me with an incredible thirst, and kneeling on the riverbank I cupped my hands into the chill running water and lifted them dripping, preparing to drink.
A shadow swept over me, blocking the sun.
Beside me the grass gave a rustle and parted, and out came a serpent, quite withered and small. It slipped down the riverbank into the water and opened its mouth, and as I knelt watching the serpent swallowed the river, and the flowers shriveled and died and the trees turned to flame, and the songbirds to ravens, and everywhere the green of the valley vanished and the world became a wasteland underneath a frozen sky, and the riverbed a hard road winding through it.
And the serpent, grown heavy and large, slithered off as the ravens rose thick in a chattering cloud that turned day into night, and I found myself walking beneath a pale moon through the wasteland.
I was looking for something-I didn't know what, but I'd lost it just recently...
And then, far off, I heard a baby crying in the night, and I remembered.
The crying grew stronger. I started to run, with my hair streaming out like a madwoman, running, but always the cry came from somewhere ahead and I couldn't catch up with it. "Justin!" I called again, panicked. "Oh God, love, I'm coming. Hold on, Mummy's coming."
But already I was losing him, I wasn't running fast enough, and then the road fell away and I fell with it, spiraling helplessly down through the dark into nothingness, hearing the cries growing fainter above me, and fading...
I woke with a jolt.
For a long moment I lay perfectly still, blinking up at the ceiling and forcing my eyes to focus through the stinging mist of tears. Outside on the pavement I heard footsteps pass with the brisk, certain ring of a businessman heading for Kensington station. The sound, small and normal, was something to cling to. I drew a deep breath...and another...reached my hand toward the lamp.
Light always helped, somehow.
Clear of the shadows, my room felt less cold and less empty. I rose, shrugged myself into my robe, and crossed to the window. The sulfurous glow of a late November night had given way to hard gray light that flattened on the line of roofs and chimney pots that faced me. In the street below, the stream of morning traffic had already started, sluggishly, as everywhere the houses yawned to life. It was morning, just the same as any other morning.
I pulled the curtain back an inch, and looked toward the fading morning star. It looked so small, so vulnerable. Another hour, and it would be forgotten. There wasn't anybody in the flat who could have heard me, but I spoke the words quite softly, all the same: "Happy Birthday, Justin," I said, to the tiny point of light.
It winked back, faintly, and I let the curtain fall.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I found the history compelling, made the story larger and made me want to read more by this Author.
Fans of Mary Stewart and Barbara Erskine will rejoice to have found this talented Canadian writer! Her characters are unique and vividly drawn, as are settings and plot. Highly recommended!
I think that "Named of the Dragon" is an absolutely fabulous book! The descriptions in the novel are so vivid that I want to be there. I like the fact that there is a romance between two unlikely people, and that it doesn't make up the whole book, it is a part of it. This book keeps the suspense alive, and left me wanting a sequal. Susanna Kearsely did an outstanding job with this novel.
Lyn Ravenshaw is a London literary agent whose star client is Bridget, a volatile children¿s book author. She¿s invited Lyn with her to Wales for the Christmas holiday. While there, Lyn encounters the Swift brothers, as well as Gareth Glyn Morgan, a famous playwright. She also meets Elen, a young widow whose eight-month-old son stirs up feelings in Lyn that bring back memories of the loss of her own child, five years before.Another strong offering from Susanna Kearsley, although not my favorite novel of hers. I love the bleak, desolate setting, and the historical backdrop to the story provides some wonderful atmosphere. I also liked the interplay of historical eras: the ancient Welsh kings and the old Arthurian legends; the more recent Normans; and the even more recent Tudors, one of whom features in Lyn¿s dreams. The psychological suspense is also top-notch, though I thought that Lyn¿s ¿turnaround¿ with Stevie was a little too abrupt. But in all, this was an entertaining read; Kearsley always knows how to suck her reader in. I¿ll be looking to read The Splendour Falls next¿if I can get my hands on a copy of it.
3.5 stars rounded. I’ve read a couple of Kearsley titles, and I love them for the atmospheric escape that they bring, evocative prose allows you to exist with the characters within the setting. In this title, set in Wales is liberally sprinkled with Arthurian legend, paranormal spooky moments, and a clear correlation between Gareth and Lyn (in this story) with the couple, Sir Gareth and Lynnette from Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King. You don’t have to have a familiarity with either element to enjoy the journey, but the references are easier to spot, and are richer for the knowing. Lyn is a literary agent with a star children’s book author, Bridget. Bridget is more than the stereotypical spoilt star, she’s rather annoying most of the time, then does or says something that has you wondering just why you were annoyed. A bit of a trial though, and Lyn’s rather passive approach to antics that are far from acceptable made this friendship a bit one sided. Fortunately, we have other townsfolk, some strange dreams and a touch of romantic interest mixed in, that give the story some body beyond focusing on Bridget and Lyn. Enter Gareth, a bit of a recluse, difficult and purposefully abrasive, the attraction between he and Lyn is an odd one, more hinted at then actually consummated, and often falling to the background when strange happenings and stranger dreams start to become more prevalent and important. A bit of a mix in the combinations: Arthurian legends, Tennyson’s poem and the events in the current day would have shown stronger, for me, had this been more of a time-slip / travel inclusion, even as there were distinct parallels in many moments. While those didn’t work as well for me, the whole concept, placed against the wonderful description and details of the setting, bringing in a tone that varies from grey and rainy to actually a spookier sort of gloom works together to keep me reading. While not my favorite, there is enough here to escape and shiver along for several hours, and the intersections of current, past, legend and place all create an atmospheric read from start to finish. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.