SUMMON THE BRIGHT WATER by Geoffrey Household


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Household's preoccupation with things mystical continues--though this mild adventure, even with its Druidical and Atlantean touches, is a good deal less murky than last year's The Sending. The narrator-hero is economic historian Piers Colet, who wanders into a forest near the Severn Sea one day and winds up at Broom Lodge, a Druid-y commune led by charismatic Simeon Martin--who envisions a return to the Neolithic era and trains his followers in such basic crafts as smelting; indeed, there seems to be a suspiciously large quantity of gold around the place. So Piers, quickly enamored of Martin's niece Elsa, does some curious looking about, spying a great gold cauldron (a stolen or faked antiquity?) and an odd turtle skeleton. But this inquisitiveness is not appreciated: when Martin suggests a bit of skin-diving, Piers finds himself nearly drowned via foul play--and, secretly escaping, he takes up residence in the forest, in contact only with Elsa and old Major Matravers-Drummond, a half-skeptical commune-er who believes that the gold cauldron is the Holy Grail. In fact, the Major agrees to try to steal the cauldron (so that Piers can have it checked out). But soon things become rather chaotic: Martin drowns accidentally; the more fanatical quasi-Druids kidnap the Major; Elsa steals the cauldron; the Major is rescued (the Druids are closed up in a cave). And after the cauldron is revealed to be pure gold recently melted, Piers concentrates on learning just where Martin had been getting his gold from: an underwater cave is the answer, and there's a treasure-from-Atlantis theory. With leisurely chats about smelting, Atlantis, and comparative theology--a rather damp but fairly scenic caper, woozily and harmlessly eccentric.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1981
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown