Carolyn North, respected American author of more than ten books, has just been kind enough to send me this review of Watchers:
“Be prepared to be spell-bound, mind-jogged and heart-stopped as you follow Tilly Greenway and her half/brother Zack confronting the forces of evil who are trying to tip the balance of the world towards destruction. With ancient Guardians and bejeweled dragons who cast magic with minds that can see far beyond sight, Tilly and Zack lead us into the intimacy of a deeper world than perhaps we have ever known to exist. A book for children of all ages!” Carolyn North, Author of Voices Out of Stone and many other books, USA.
Thanks, Carolyn – and best midwinter wishes to everyone!
“The rider rode up beside them, reining in when he reached the hilltop. For a second or two he looked out on the valley below. Then he turned and looked at the children and as his gaze met theirs, a green light shone from the eye-slits in his helmet.”
(Extract from Watchers, by Essi Tolling)
There are many stories surrounding Herne the Hunter. Often he is portrayed as a shamanic figure (a real person dressed up as part of a ritual). In Watchers he is more than this. He is the Lord of the Wild Things, both Green Man and Spirit-of-the-Woods – and he is not to be crossed lightly.
He wears a holly-green cloak and rides a flame-eyed horse. At his side hangs a great, curved horn. Around him run a pack of spectral hounds, each one of which is milk-white with red-tipped ears. Sir Herne can move through the fields and woods without making a sound. Nor does he leave any footprints in the dew-wet paths.
As such he is a dangerous fellow to meet on a dark night, especially if you are not one for showing compassion to wild creatures…
“Deep in the countryside, something remarkable was happening. A bright light was pulsing in a chamber hidden inside a hill. It rippled and shimmered, filling leaf and branch and root and twig. It gleamed and sparkled in the waters of a fountain that rose and fell beneath the outstretched arms of an enormous oak. Unseen, but not unfelt, the bright light hosted magic of the deepest sort.”
So begins the tale of Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys.
Watch out for magic. It’s lurking everywhere, hidden inside every nook and cranny, waiting to pop out and surprise you!
The Cathars believed that to sit beneath an Oak Tree was therapeutic, especially for people with psychological “issues”. Now that we’re beginning to catch up with things our ancestors knew all too well, we know that simply thinking of a plant lowers blood pressure and helps relax the brain. Magic, mysticism and science are once again walking hand in hand.
Here is a Winter Oak Tree for you, bringing a bit of magic of its own…