CELLS OF KNOWLEDGE by Sian Hayton

CELLS OF KNOWLEDGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hayton's first novel offers the familiar combination of Celtic myth with medieval history, but with a fresh approach that makes few concessions to formula. Set in tenth-century Scotland, the story is told in the form of three long letters from Selyf, a Celtic monk whose monastery is visited by a strange woman seeking in. struction in their faith. The misogynist monks are taken aback by her great strength--she forges metal as well as any man--and her unusual beauty. When she departs, Selyf follows her in an attempt to learn the truth of her origin. He finds that she is the daughter of a giant who wields both supernatural powers and advanced technology (gunpowder, flying spy cameras, etc.), and who entices human warriors to marry his daughters, intending to kill them before they can claim the prize. In the margins of the text are comments on Selyf's letters by a younger, more rigidly orthodox monk who finds heresy and evil at every turn. The interplay of folk-tale plot, Selyf's earnest narrative, and the priggish marginal gloss produces a multilayered text of surprising vigor and complexity. Entertaining and authentic, Hayton's well-crafted debut marks her as a fantasy writer to watch.

Pub Date: July 16th, 1990
Publisher: New Amsterdam