Thursday 17 September 2015

Book Review - The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates

I first discovered this book through one of my favourite albums of all time - Dreamweaver by Sabbat - which quite simply pure poetry with racous guitars and drums. The album is based on this book telling the story of Wat Brands' quest to discover the secrets of Saxon beliefs.

Naturally the book covers a lot more detail than the album and that extra richness adds a lot to the story. This is a fascinating journey, not only of very different faiths, but also differences in mindsets. The exploration of the less familiar Saxon faith is portrayed in a vivid style, colouring the world with its viewpoint.

As interesting as the journey is, it's the style of writing that elevates it into an excellent read. Although the one slight downside is also evident here. Generally speaking the quality of the writing is superb, with some exquisite turn of phrase that really draws you into the wonders and terrors the young monk faces. It is a bit uneven though, in patches the prose is simply workmanlike, although that does provide an accent to the pacing of the story.

It's a hard book to place in any particular genre, it's a spiritual journey, yet also a historical record. In many ways it also reads like a fantasy tale, albeit one based within a genuine belief structure. in some ways its also a horror tale with some very dark moments. I like a book that doesn't settle easily into standard definitions and the imagination and emotion of this story is something I'd recommend to anyone.

Sent on a mission deep into the forests of pagan Anglo-Saxon England, Wat Brand, a Christian scribe, suddenly finds his vision of the world turned upside down. The familiar English countryside is not what it seems: threatening spirits, birds of omen and plants of power lurk in this landscape of fallen terrors and mysterious forces. With Wulf, a sorcerer and mystic, as his guide, Brand is instructed in the magical lore of plants, runes, fate and the life force until finally he journeys to the spirit world on a quest to encounter the true nature of his own soul.

Click here to buy The Way of Wyrd from Amazon (and it's a fascinating read)

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