Acquired Book By: The author approached me about this novel whilst I was preparing for #Mythothon (2019). At the time, I thought for sure I’d be able to read this novel as I was excited about reading stories involving another spin on Arthurian lore as I had read the Guinevere Trilogy by Nicole Evelina as much as I had read “Sign of the White Foal” by Chris Thorndycroft. Evelina took us through a Feminist portal into Arthurian lore focusing on Guinevere whilst Thorndycroft took a masculine perspective into Arthur himself. To follow those readings with “Bel Nemeton” which focuses on Merlin felt like the right ‘next read’ for me as I am completely caught inside this niche of interest when it comes to combining elements of Historical Fiction, Arthurian lore and Historical Fantasy.
For a variety of reasons, I was not able to read this when I expected nor was I able to read it during #WyrdAndWonder or #Mythothon (2020). This is why I slated it to be read this May, as it is the first May in four years where I’ve been migraine-free during Wyrd And Wonder. I knew it was time to soak into this story and see where Black was going to take us into this part of the continuing story set round Arthur and the rest of the characters we’ve come to know so dearly well.
I received a complimentary copy of “Bel Nemeton” by the author Jon Black in exchange for an honest review. I I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
What an interesting Wyrd And Wonder it has been this May, hasn’t it?
It has been quite a few years since I’ve had the chance to revisit my curiosity and interest in Arthurian lore and legend. I had intended to re-open this door during one of the past years’ #Mythothon, however, several cycles of @Mythothon have come and gone and I’ve not had the chance to pick up any stories even remotely mythological! I am hoping to change this come September as I plan to take part in #Mythothon once again wherein despite seeking out the group read for the RAL, I am also hoping to make progress into my readings of Norse Mythologies courtesy of this novel.
This month, I wanted to attempt to read some of the stories in my backlogue which are stories within the scope of what we love to celebrate during Wyrd And Wonder. Where genres can become bent into Fantasy and where the fantastical doesn’t have to be through a portal or dimensional shift but quietly sneak into the narrative – whether that is through Magical Realism or Historical Fantasy or another gentler route which gives just as much Fantasy for the reader as any other story. Those are the kinds of stories I was seeking out to read myself this month and I’ve found them looping back into the contemporary and modern world – as you’ve might have taken stock of my readings for Cassandra and Tree Magic.
Coming up lateron this week, will be my readings of the collective works of E. Chris Garrison wherein I get to read the final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tales (ie. “Mean Spirit”) and the next story set in the same universe “Trans Witch”. Those also parlay between Fantasy and our modern world – through the realms of Urban Fantasy whereas the other two selections relied more on Magical Realism to set their foundations.
For me, “Bel Nemeton” occupies the other side of the ledger, which is Historical Fantasy – wherein, most of the story is rooted in a time slip narrative shifting between the historical past and re-aligning us with our modern world today as an academic is in pursuit of the truth behind the archaeological discoveries being made now which reflect new interest in the 6th Century.
Jon Black’s award-winning novel Bel Nemeton combines 6th century Arthurian historical fantasy with brainy 21st century pulp.
After Arthur’s death, Camelot’s fall, and his final break with Nimue, Merlin of Camelot is left with only his thirst for knowledge, hunger for new experiences, and a desire to forget. The great druid and sage leaves Britain’s shores behind, wandering the world of the 6th century. Merlin’s travels take him to the wild unknown of Dark Ages Europe, a wizardly duel deep in the Arabian Desert, the exotic riches of the Silk Road, the pomp and pageantry of the Sui Emperor’s court, and beyond.
Fifteen centuries later, time has obliterated all traces of Merlin and his journey. Almost. A chance discovery at archeological excavation in Central Asia leaves Dr. Vivian Cuinnsey, professor of Celtic linguistics, wondering if Camelot’s great druid was more man than myth. Traveling to Uzbekistan to discover the truth for herself, she is immersed in a web of intrigue revealing there are those who will kill to learn Merlin’s secret. Teaming up with morally-ambiguous treasure hunter Jake Booker, they begin their own globe-trotting adventure, racing all comers to discover the location of Merlin’s tomb. And his treasure.
Places to find the book:
Published by 18th Wall Publications
on 16th April, 2018
Format: Trade Paperback
The Bel Nemeton series:
Bel Nemeton (book one)
Caledfwlch (book two) ← pub’d 30th December, 2020!
( the name refers to Arthurs sword Excalibur)
Published by: 18th Wall Publications
Converse via: #HistoricalFantasy, #BelNemeton
as well as #KingArthur & #WyrdAndWonder
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: