The final thrilling chapter in the Tristan and Isolde trilogy . . .Isolde, heir to the throne of the queens, is now a sovereign in her own right. With the glories of the throne comes the responsibility of a queen, and Isolde knows she must return to her beloved Western Isle. She can no longer tolerate her marriage to King Mark of Cornwall, a marriage she has accepted for years in order to save her country from the threat of war and to be near her only love, Mark's nephew Tristan of Lyonesse. King Mark, always cowardly and spiteful, is too heavily influenced by his monks and counselors, who loathe the powerful and independent Isolde. And so she leaves Cornwall for good and comes home to Ireland, where her lords face a growing threat from the warlike Picti, who live in the barren highlands to the north of England. The Picti have a bold new king, Darath, who is determined to take the riches of Ireland for his own people, whether by war or by marriage with Isolde.
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December 07, 2004
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Excerpt from The Lady of the Sea by Rosalind Miles
Forked lightning split the blackness of the sky. Swollen clouds raced screaming through the air and peal after peal of thunder came rolling in from the edge of doom. Far below, the little ship fought doggedly through the boiling sea. Soaked to the skin in spray, the figure in the prow raised a bony fist and shook it in the tortured face of the sky.
"Grief upon me!" he cried, "grief on all of us. And a curse upon you, Lady, for raising this storm!"
His words were lost amid the raging winds. All around lay nothing but a black expanse of roaring waves. Mountains of water were torn up from their depths, filling the air with the primeval smell of the seabed, where shipwrecks sleep and long-ago dead things rot.
"Aft, aft!" came a cry from one of the crew.
"See to the mizzen!" the captain shouted back.
"Spare your efforts, fools, and say your prayers!" cackled the old man in the prow. "Nothing can save us now."
The busy crew took no heed of the tall, lean figure in the prow, his crabbed hands gripping the rails, his bare head and hawk-like face defying the full fury of the storm. But crouched at the foot of the mast, the cabin boy watched the wind whip the curses from the old man's lips and shook with fear from head to foot. He saw his mother's face as she kissed him good-bye and made his own farewell to her in his heart.
Hastening past, the bosun checked his pace. "Never fear, lad," he called out more stoutly than he felt, "you'll come to no harm. The Lady of the Sea takes care of little 'uns like you."
The boy grabbed at his arm and pointed to the old man in the prow. "What's he doing, swearing and cursing like that?" he wailed. "Won't he offend the Lady and drown us all?"
Another burst of lightning shattered the sky. In the sickly light, the bosun had the color of a corpse. Shuddering, the child saw himself and all the crew drifting through the depths with glassy eyes and floating hair. He tasted the salt of his tears and the salt of the spray and felt himself dissolving into the sea, the primal ocean where all things are one. Over the side of the ship he saw great green-black masses of writhing water come to drag him down, and whimpered with dread.