THE LILY AND THE BULL by Moyra Caldecott


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Slightly more lively and less feathery than Caldecott's mystical Stone-Age Britain flights, this is the tale of the clash between two religious impulses in Minoan Crete--the gentle pantheistic cult of the Earth Mother (Lady of the Mountains, Groves, and Lilies) vs. the dark, fierce Cult of the Bull. And that clash is being played out largely through the rivalry between powerful Queen Nya-an and lovely lady Quilla: the Queen lusts after Quilla's husband, Miron, Keeper of the sacred bulls, and so exiles Lady Q., who starts learning the steps to spiritual awareness. She's tutored by the seers of the Lords of the Sun (cf. Caldecott's Stone-Age trilogy), she's visited by the dead Queen Hatshepsut, and she's gifted with a revelation from the Beings of Light. That's all very nice, but meanwhile all hell is breaking loose in the valley below, with the Queen--and later her Bull Cult priestesses--on the rampage. Amid horrid rituals, Miron is being forced into the Queen's bedchamber, and Thyloss--son of Miron and Quilla--is being forced to marry the Queen's daughter instead of lovely Ierii, the royal gardener's daughter. Bad stuff--so eventually the earth starts rumbling, the forces of dark and light exchange spirit fire, and it all ends, as Quilla has predicted, with the death of the Queen-dom, the survival of a believing few, and a liebestod for Quilla and Miron. For those attracted to humming around in realms of the spirit, just okay; for others, a lotta bull.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1979
ISBN: 1843192705
Publisher: Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux