A lovely review of Swords of Destiny from Diana Wallace Peach, author of The Rose Shield series…
In this modern-day adventure, the world is in peril, and the immortal Merlin (of King Arthur fame) has gathered four ordinary people with extraordinary heart and courage to stand against the destructive forces. Their mission as the Champions of Light is to acquire the four swords of destiny and bring balance to the world.
The tale draws heavily on the legends and myths of the British Isles, the sacred places, and the beliefs of those who were intimately connected to the spirits of the land. The Fae are alive and well, trolls hide out in caves. There are unicorns, elves, and mountain giants. Most of the story unfolds in conversation/exposition, though it does have some action scenes that are quite intense and emotional. There is also quite a bit of romance, and some fun humor.
What I enjoyed most was the characters, not only the human champions, but Merlin, his brother Heilyn, and the fairy queen Mab. Point of view is shared by most of the main characters with pov shifts in the middle of scenes. The dialog is witty, including sections of clever banter. There’s mischief, for sure. Recommended for lovers of ancient British Isle mythology who will likely recognize some of the sacred places and characters.
Excerpt from Swords of Destiny
“Where’s that dratted brother of mine when you need him? We could use a nudge from Heilyn right now!” The old man stomped off and sat down on a large stone, muttering under his breath.
Alec turned away from the lake to scan the horizon, searching for clues. The tarn nestled between the Raydale hills. There were a few ruined buildings, small clumps of trees, but nothing stood out as a landmark. A flash of white caught his eye, the only movement in the silent landscape. He watched in a desultory manner as a pretty white mare pawed the ground and shook her mane, while his mind searched for answers. Timidly the young mare came closer. Slowly, she approached the party. Sabrina was at Alec’s elbow, watching entranced.
“She’s the symbol of Epona, isn’t she? The Horse Goddess in the Celtic myths.”
“Of course. I never thought of that, I was miles away.” Alec glanced at the blade in his hand. Sabrina laughed quietly.
“See, I told you I’d come in handy!” The young woman motioned to Jamie who came to stand beside her. The white mare was very close now. “Alec look… she’s not all there!” Jamie uncharacteristically bit back the retort that sprang to his lips, it seemed not the time for teasing. He followed her gaze and saw what she meant. “Look, you can see the hills through her flanks.”
“Good Lord!” The exclamation drew all eyes to watch the final approach of the translucent, transcendent creature. Solid she seemed, white as carved ice reflecting rainbows of light. Gently she nuzzled Jamie and bent her foreleg before him, inviting the young man to mount. Jamie met the peat brown eyes of his mentor.
“Go on, lad. She’s waiting for you.”
Jamie took one deep breath and mounted, burying his hands in the snowy mane. The mare threw back her head, meeting the gaze of the companions, and then walked towards the lake. Stepping into the shallows her hooves seemed to melt away as the water lapped around them. Jamie took one last look behind him, then set his face towards the centre of the lake as the deep water took them and he disappeared from sight.
Many things touched the calm acceptance that had suffused Jamie as he rode towards his destiny, but none broke through the barrier of conscious thought. He existed only in the moment, pure emotion incarnate. He felt detached, outside of reality and at peace with the rightness of his fate. As the waters closed over his head he did not fight.
On the bank, Alec held his sister as she watched, shocked to the heart, as Jamie sank into the depths. Merlin looked out across the water, searching with inner sight to see what was to come, but he could not pass the barrier of the shifting waters. All he could see was blood. From the deep, cold centre of the lake, a great bell tolled.
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SWORDS of DESTINY
“…and the swords must be found and held by their bearers lest the darkness find a way into the heart of man. Ask the waters to grant guidance and tell the ancient Keeper of Light that it is time to join battle for the next age.”
Rhea Marchant heads north to the wild and beautiful landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales where she is plunged into an adventure that will span the worlds. The earth beneath her feet reveals its hidden life as she and her companions are guided by the ancient Keeper of Light in search of artefacts of arcane power. With the aid of the Old Ones and the merry immortal Heilyn, the company seek the elemental weapons that will help restore hope to an unbalanced world at the dawn of a new era.