Kamila Shamsie’s last novel, Burnt Shadows, was probably my favourite book of 2009, so I was excited about her new title, A God in Every Stone.
Burnt Shadows elegantly and resonantly connected Nagasaki, partition and Guantamo Bay, and A God in Every Stone is similarly epic in scope, taking the reader from ancient Persia to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the troubled end of British colonial rule in India. On the eve of the First World War, a young British woman, Vivian Rose Spencer, joins an archaeological dig in Turkey and falls in love. Thousands of miles away, a Pashtun soldier, Qayyum Gul, is learning about brotherhood and loyalty in the British Indian Army. A year later, Viv has been separated from her lover by the war, and become a nurse, and Qayyum has survived the bloodbath at Ypres, but lost an eye. They meet on a train to Peshawar, unaware that their lives will connect in ways that only become clear many years later…
This is an excellent, ambitious novel of empires and their aftermath, and how individuals get caught up in the tide of history. Alice
This beautifully produced small hardback is an absolute treasure trove! Miranda Aldhouse-Green, a Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University, skilfully weaves together evidence from manuscripts, artefacts and Iron-Age archaeology to explore the world of the ancient Celts and their mythology.
Beginning with a discussion of how the myths were transmitted and by whom, she then moves on to vividly recount a very comprehensive selection of Irish and Welsh myths, taking in well-known figures such as King Arthur and the giant Cuchulainn, as well as a host of more obscure tales. She examines their key themes and motifs, before finishing with a look at how these myths survived the advent of Christianity, and the influence of monastic chroniclers on the tales, which were often adapted and re-spun for a Christian audience.
Clearly presented, with two-colour illustrations, drawings, photographs and boxed features, the book is accessible enough for a reader new to Celtic mythology, but also contains enough new research and analysis to satisfy even the most expert mythologist! A really perfect gift for those curious about our nation’s Celtic origins. Gudrun