Excerpt and Overview from LeAnne Hardy’s website: I am a coward.
Were I not, I would have died this morning on the Tor with the others, but I fled and hid. The Abbot told me I should be gone to Wales by now, but I hadn’t even the courage for that. My father spoke truer than he knew. He said I would never amount to anything as a monk, and he was right.
I close my eyes and mutter the prayers of protection for the dying.
. . . From the ancient enemy: free and defend their souls, O Lord. . . .
Across the moors three gallows loom atop the Tor. Three bodies swing in the cold November dawn. I draw my cloak about me. The bundle that is my treasure presses against my side, safely wrapped in the wool of my old habit. I try again to pray, but it is the warm baritone of the priest in my old parish in Wales, that fills my mind. More than a year has passed since he chanted those prayers for my mother. The pain still runs deep, and it is for her that I weep.
* * *
The ancient olivewood drinking bowl that young Colin finds in the treasury of Glastonbury Abbey, was disregarded as worthless wood by King Henry VIII’s men when they inventoried the abbey’s treasures. But Father Dunstan, the tortured prior who preaches forgiveness, treasures it. Father Bede, as demanding as the hated father from whom Colin has fled, covets it. Abbot Whiting finds in it the courage to face his enemy, even as monasteries are being dismantled all over sixteenth century England. Will Colin find the personal faith and sense of worth he seeks? Can he ever forgive his father… or himself?
I was fascinated by this book and its story. The author obviously did a great deal of research on the history of Glastonbury as well as the period of Henry VIII and his persecution of the church. Colin Hay, the protagonist of this story, grows from a young impetuous and angry young man into a true man of God. Besides being an awesome coming-of-age story and superb historical fiction, it is, at its heart a story of forgiveness. Colin and others must forgive those who persecute them in order to be obedient to God and also in order to receive forgiveness themselves. Little Wil reminds them all of this one simple biblical fact. Also important to the story is the conflict of doctrines between what Colin learns in the Catholic monastery and what he witnesses being practiced by the Thatcher family. The conflict between practicing religion and seeking a personal relationship with God is explored throughout the book. The author also delves into local tradition and folklore by having Colin fight evil in the form of Gwyn ap Nudd of the Celtic underworld. She includes King Arthur and the Holy Grail as well as the story of Joseph of Arimathea. Glastonbury Tor is very well-written book that takes the reader on a trip to Glastonbury, England during a turbulent time in history. Sometimes the book gets a bit preachy, but overall I highly recommend it. (Review copy provided by Kregel Publications)