By Robert Holdstock
A tale of ancient mythic wonder and a mesmerising psychological fantasy thriller by 'one of the finest living crafters of myth' (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)
Jack Chatwin has visions, which leave tangible evidence - sounds and smells, which linger afterwards. What he sees are two primitive figures, with painted faces - Greyface and Greenface, a brother and sister. He calls them bullrunners.
John Garth is a city dowser, searching for the mythical pre-Roman city of Glanum. He hopes to find an entryway to the elusive city beneath Exburgh, Jack's home town. And he thinks Jack's bullrunners may be connected to Glanum . . .
Years later, Jack, now grown up, agrees to take part in experiments to investigate his bullrunners - until Greyface, the male, breaks free of Jack and takes corporeal form. The bullrunner kidnaps Jack's young daughter so Jack will force Greenface to follow her brother-husband, even against her own wishes. Though Greyface returns the daughter, he keeps a shadow of her, which takes on a life of its own. If Jack refuses to co-operate, the shadow will drain his daughter's vitality and personality - and her very future.
The story of Jack's search for Greenface is interwoven with the connections between the bullrunners and the mystical city of Glanum in this resonant tale of ancient mythic wonder.
Robert Holdstock (1948 - 2009)
Robert Paul Holdstock was born in a remote corner of Kent, sharing his childhood years between the bleak Romney Marsh and the dense woodlands of the Kentish heartlands. He received an MSc in medical zoology and spent several years in the early 1970s in medical research before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. His first published story appeared in the New Worlds magazine in 1968 and for the early part of his career he wrote science fiction. However, it is with fantasy that he is most closely associated.
1984 saw the publication of Mythago Wood, winner of the BSFA and World Fantasy Awards for Best Novel, and widely regarded as one of the key texts of modern fantasy. It and the subsequent 'mythago' novels (including Lavondyss, which won the BSFA Award for Best Novel in 1988) cemented his reputation as the definitive portrayer of the wild wood. His interest in Celtic and Nordic mythology was a consistent theme throughout his fantasy and is most prominently reflected in the acclaimed Merlin Codex trilogy, consisting of Celtika, The Iron Grail and The Broken Kings, published between 2001 and 2007.
Among many other works, Holdstock co-wrote Tour of the Universe with Malcolm Edwards, for which rights were sold for a space shuttle simulation ride at the CN Tower in Toronto, and The Emerald Forest, based on John Boorman's film of the same name. His story, 'The Ragthorn', written with friend and fellow author Garry Kilworth, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella and the BSFA Award for Short Fiction.
Robert Holdstock died in November 2009, just four months after the publication of Avilion, the long-awaited, and sadly final, return to Ryhope Wood.
- Other details
- Publication date:
14 Dec 2012
- Page count: