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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Grail King by Joy Nash

The Grail King by Joy Nash
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (337 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Jasmine

All who dwell in Avalon possess the powers of the Old Ones. But only some are keepers of the Light. One among them has dared to call upon the Deep Magic, conjuring up a dark storm that bodes ill for the people of Britanni…

The vision came upon him suddenly: a delicate Roman beauty materializing out of the swirling whiteness of the snow. Her appearance near his ruined Celtic village makes no sense, but when the trance leaves him, she remains, demanding that he use his Sight to help her find a stolen grail. The last thing Owein intends is to use his gifts for his enemy, yet something tells him this innocent lass has the power to heal his wounded heart.

If you are a fan of legends of the Holy Grail and also of Celtic lore, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this book. The hero of The Grail King was first introduced in Ms. Nash's previous novel, Celtic Fire, as a young man. For those of you that have read that book, you will enjoy seeing Owein's return in this novel. If you haven't read Celtic Fire, not to worry, this is a stand alone book and you will get to know (and love) Owein quite well throughout the course of this tale. The author begins our tail in the year of A.D. 130, well before Arthurian legends associated with the Grail, throwing us headlong in to the aftermath of the conflict between the Romans and the Druids.

Owein is a Seer and a bitter recluse, wanting nothing more than to be left alone to live his life away from the Romans. Clara, a pampered Roman daughter, is on a mission to find what has been lost so that she can save her father's life. On the advice of a slave, she seeks out the man that was once the “wise one” of the slave's village in the remote hills away from the city. When Owein realizes what it is that Clara searches for, he agrees to help her, for the Grail once belonged to the druids of the mystical Isle of Avalon, where the druids once again reside in secret.

Owein is the perfect combination of gruff and caring, while Clara is determined and independent, refusing to take no for an answer. They offset each other fabulously and, whether ready or willing to admit it or not, they are exactly what the other needs. Clara is just perfectly the right combination of spunky and vulnerable, fearless and cautious to be completely believable. Ms. Nash's extensive knowledge of the time period made this a very interesting read, making you want to know more about the time period, the Druids and Romans, and the legends associated with Avalon. The ending was also left open to a sequel involving some of the secondary characters that you come to like.

The magic portrayed in the book is interesting and believable. The legend of how the Grail came to be, and what happened to it, is also fascinating. You will find yourself speculating and, quite possibly, looking into more legends once you've finished.

If you enjoy all of these elements, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Even if you don't, pick it up anyway – you may find yourself a fan afterwards. No matter what, I can guarantee that you will be looking forward to the hoped for sequel.