The Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Set in the pre- Christian times of Great Britain when England was divided into
many small kingdoms , a monk from the Christian kingdom of Mercia is sent to
learn the pagan ways of a neighboring kingdom. The purpose is to bring them over
to Christianity .
Eappa , the head monk of the monastery sends him on this frightful mission. A
guide has been arranged for this hapless monk and what follows is the adventure
of a life time.
Brand, the protagonist arrives in a neighboring kingdom via ship to experience a
lonely shore beset by rainy weather . He spends a couple nights alone and one of
those nights he is presented with a nightmare of wild horses and dogs going on a
hunt. He hurts his ankle trying to hide . Later on he links up with Wulf, an
Anglo -Saxon sorcerer.
Sorcerers are both respected and feared. Brand and Wulf go on a series of small
adventures. Mostly healings of sick villagers and animals.
Later on as they enter the forest Brand is hunted by spirits who haunt him and
snatch his soul to the underworld. What follows is a gathering of plants, spirit
allies and an adventure into the spirit world . Brand is being watched and
Bryan Bates is a scholar of Norse paganism. One gets a good view into the
animistic world of the Anglo-Saxons. Yet I detected many native American
influences in the work. Could be parallels or borrowing as he has worked with
Native American spiritualist and the books are listed in the bibliography.
Brand despite what he sees is always in doubt as to what is real and what is
not. In the end it becomes clear that what he is experiencing is real and true.
Mention of the gods is slight .
For a more thorough view of Saxon spirituality one should read the authors other
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