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Several years ago, Christian Huxley's father, George, obsessively documented the strange phenomena emanating from Ryhope Wood at the edge of their property. He watched the ancient heroes emerge, shouting both incomprehensible warnings and unmistakable invitations. Recklessly, George followed them inot the mysterious sylvan shadows that changed him forever.
Christian himself was not untouched by these living dreams. A childhood encounter with a phantom from another time draws him to the Wood as an adult. Deep in Ryhope, Christian uncovers the lie that permeates his worst nightmares. And like his father, he will be consumed with the mythagoes of Ryhope, especially a young Celtic warrior called Guiwenneth. She is the key to the mystery of the universe, an ancient heroine caught in a timeless tale of bravery and sacrifice.
Now, together with a band of crusaders from a world long gone, Christian and Guiwenneth become part of the unfolding stories both remembered and forgotten. They meet sorcerers in battle and giants who can travel miles in one step. And they discover the meaning of the two gates, Ivory and Horn - one the lie, the other the truth.
Robert Holdstock (1948 - 2009)
Robert Paul Holdstock was born in a remote corner of Kent, sharing his childhood years between the bleak Romney Marsh and the dense woodlands of the Kentish heartlands. He received an MSc in medical zoology and spent several years in the early 1970s in medical research before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. His first published story appeared in the New Worlds magazine in 1968 and for the early part of his career he wrote science fiction. However, it is with fantasy that he is most closely associated.
1984 saw the publication of Mythago Wood, winner of the BSFA and World Fantasy Awards for Best Novel, and widely regarded as one of the key texts of modern fantasy. It and the subsequent 'mythago' novels (including Lavondyss, which won the BSFA Award for Best Novel in 1988) cemented his reputation as the definitive portrayer of the wild wood. His interest in Celtic and Nordic mythology was a consistent theme throughout his fantasy and is most prominently reflected in the acclaimed Merlin Codex trilogy, consisting of Celtika, The Iron Grail and The Broken Kings, published between 2001 and 2007.
Among many other works, Holdstock co-wrote Tour of the Universe with Malcolm Edwards, for which rights were sold for a space shuttle simulation ride at the CN Tower in Toronto, and The Emerald Forest, based on John Boorman's film of the same name. His story, 'The Ragthorn', written with friend and fellow author Garry Kilworth, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella and the BSFA Award for Short Fiction.
Robert Holdstock died in November 2009, just four months after the publication of Avilion, the long-awaited, and sadly final, return to Ryhope Wood.