06 December 2012

Excerpt Thursday: THE SILVER WHEEL by Mary Gilgannon

This week, we’re welcoming author Mary Gilgannon whose title THE SILVER WHEEL is set in ancient Celtic Britain. Join us Sunday, when Mary will be here to talk about the novel and offer a paperback copy to a lucky winner in the US or Canada only. Here's the blurb:

Visions of secret sacrifices, desperate battles and magical transformations haunt Sirona, a young seeress struggling to save her people from the ravages of the Roman invaders. Driven from her beloved home, she shares her destiny with Cruthin, a childhood friend obsessed with seeking out the mysteries of the Otherworld, and Bryn, a warrior graced with unexpected wisdom who loves her with all his generous heart.

Sirona’s journey takes her through forested glens and treacherous bogs to the land of the northern tribes and the court of the warrior queen Boudica. As she risks her life and her immortal spirit to change the course of history, Sirona discovers it is not warfare that will defeat the invaders, but magic and the intense connection of her people to the mystical forces of their homeland.

Blending history, romance, magic and mysticism, The Silver Wheel tells the story of the Celtic Britons and the triumph of the eternal forces that guide all our destinies.

**An Excerpt from THE SILVER WHEEL**

Instead of putting on his clothing, Cruthin climbed down the side of the mound and began to twirl around.  "I can make the Goddess come to me," he said.  He lifted his arms to the heavens and sang:

"Arianhrodd, Cerridwen, Rhiannon,
Blodeuwedd, Modran, Don,
Branwen, Cyhiraeth, Morrigan.
I invoke you—maiden, mother, crone
Lady of the moon,
Keeper of the cauldron,
Great queen,
Maiden of summer,
Grain goddess,
Lady of love and desire,
Keeper of pools and springs,
Raven of death.
Enfold me in your warm, soft flesh.
Fill me with your light.
Quench my thirst with your gleaming rivers and streams.
Feed me from your supple breasts.
Make me strong.
Make me powerful.
Make me invincible."

Sirona realized she had never heard him sing before.  He had a bard's voice, beguiling and honey sweet, yet edged with power.  He continued his dance, his movements wild and unrestrained.  Flailing arms.  Twirling body.  Jumps and leaps.  Pure, instinctive movements.   As if he heard music. Suddenly, Sirona heard it, too.  A wild, keening melody, sad and lovely.   
She stared at Cruthin, in awe of the beauty of his movements.  He reminded her of an otter cavorting beside a stream.  A salmon leaping the rapids.  A deer bounding through the forest.  Lithe and graceful.  The moonlight flashed over his spinning body, black, then silver, then black again.  Light and shadow.  Life and death.
Abruptly, he leapt over the circle of stones and continued his mad dance in the open meadow nearby.  As he jumped and twirled in the tall grass among the bracken and heather, people came out of the shadows to join him.  Slender and naked, they danced around him, moving in a slow, rhythmic pattern.  They began to chant in a language Sirona had never heard before.  And yet, it seemed familiar, as if the meaning of the words was buried in her mind somewhere. 
When she returned her gaze to Cruthin, he had turned into Cernunnos again.   On his head were the antlers of a stag, while his body remained that of a man.  She could not see his face.  But she knew now that he was the god of the animals, of the hunt, of death.  This time she was not afraid.   She was watching from a distance, not feeling the hot breath of the beast looming over her.   Faster and faster he whirled, until he was a blur.  The moonlight shone down, turning him into a vivid, bright light.  The light grew in intensity, blazing, brilliant, the brightest thing she had ever seen.  Then it vanished.

For more information about her books, visit Mary’s website . She can also be found on Twitter  and Facebook