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The Ash Spear by G. R. Grove
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5322313,611 (4.24)2 / 23
  1. 10
    The Summer of the Danes by Ellis Peters (gwernin)
    gwernin: Some of the action in Summer of the Danes takes place in the same areas as The Ash Spear, but 600 years later.
  2. 00
    Her-Bak: The Living Face of Ancient Egypt by Isha Schwaller de Lubicz (elenchus)
    elenchus: For those who liked Gwernin's initiation in the Druidic 'Dark Path', Schwaller de Lubicz provides a two-volume work, fictional / novelistic but very well researched, into the corresponding initiation of a young boy into the Egyptian esoteric tradition. Schwaller de Lubicz has more historical detail and commentary than does Grove, but there is (apparently) far more historical material to work with for Egyptian than Druidic historians. Pyramids are better preserved than ancient Yew and Ash and Oaks, for the most part!… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
It took a long time for me to get around to finishing this book. I go through feast and famine stages with my reading, and unfortunately I was having a hard time sitting down to finish. I've had to resort to audiobooks because I don't have much time at home, and that was obviously not an option with this book.

This is the third book in a series, and I have not read the others so I'm not sure how this tale fits into the grand scheme, but as a stand alone it still held up. I'm not sure if he is a recurring character but the books main character is Gwernin a Storyteller. He is apprenticed to a renowned bard and is hoping to follow in his footsteps.

He grows a lot in this tale, he fights a little, he starts to find his poetic voice, and in the end he finds out more more about himself and his desires than he thought possible. There are elements of his character that I wasn't fond of, mainly his insatiable appetite for women without knowing more about who he was as a man. I don't know if it's his youth, or a permanent character attribute though I expect it's the latter.

It's an interesting book, and I'm glad I finally was able to curl up and read it. ( )
  whisperingfen | Jan 28, 2012 |
Finally got around to reading this book. I was slightly confused as I hadn't read the others, but it was an intriguing storyline with great characters. I'll definitely go back and reread after I've picked up the previous titles. ( )
1 vote mlsmit | Aug 8, 2011 |
The Ash Spear is the third book of G. R. Grove's Storyteller series, which details the adventures of Young Gwernin, a Storyteller and Bardic student. This book concludes the first trilogy of what is hoped will be about a 10 book series. As with the second volume, Flight of the Hawk, this third volume begins shortly after the end of the preceeding book. The glossary at the back is a big help with the Welsh words, which provide atmosphere for the story.

The neat, dove-tailed fit of each story/chapter makes each both a stand-alone tale and part of the larger adventure. That dovetailed fit applies to the novels within the series as well as to the chapters within each book. This would allow the reader to experience The Ash Spear without first reading the other two books of the series, but I don't know why anyone would want to do that. Each novel is so fascinating, you're bound to want to follow Young Gwernin's tale from the beginning.

I found the well-written novel easy to follow, and hard to put down. Each chapter left me eager to read more, and this book has left me on the edge of my seat while I await publication of the 4th book in the series. Let the adventure continue!

This ebook was provided to me by the author, free in exchange for review. This review is simultaneously being published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and anywhere else I deem appropriate. ( )
3 vote 1dragones | May 10, 2011 |
The Ash Spear is based in medieval Britain in the 6th century, the Dark Ages, and is the third of the series.
The other books are Storyteller and Flight of the Hawk written by G. R. Grove.
Gwernin Kyarwyd is an apprentice bard, or storyteller, and this is a story of his journeys and trials. He is telling the story which begins in his seventeenth year and his second year of being an apprentice to become a harper and bard from his teacher Talhaearn Tad Awen. Talhaearn is the pencerdd (head poet) and harper to Cyndrwyn, prince of western Powys in mid-Wales.
Gwernim has a love, Rhiannedd, who is "the dark-haired delight of my heart" and she is carrying his child.
There are a number of characters in this book that have a close connections and loyalty to each other. Some other characters are Taliesin Ben Beirdd, Ieuan, Ugnach of Caer Sean and Neirin. The names are Welsh and hard to understand at first.
I had to go back and read the first chapters to get the names straight. I have not read the other two books and think they may have helped but this can be a stand alone book. I began to pull the pieces together.
The book is after the time of King Arthur and Taliesin tells the story of when he was the bard for Arthur and the final battle.
One character in the book, Neirin, is going to walk the Dark Path and needs the help of three bards. The Dark Path is a Druidic spiritual rite of passage. It is becoming a true bard. They go to the Island of Mon,
The Ash Spear was "the symbol of warfare and manhood but also stood for awen, the poet's inspiration of the bards". I had to find this on researching because somehow I missed the definition in the book.
I liked the saying after most chapters" O, my children, is a story for another day" which encourages the reader to keep reading. It was like a bard leaving you waiting.
G. R. Grove does an excellent job of descriptions and helps the reader know where the characters are and what they feel. There are emotions, pain, food, drinks, people, daily lives and worry. I really liked this book and look forward to reading her other books. I give it a five star because of the details and leaving me to want to do more research.
Go to the authors blog on treGwernin.blogspot.com to see what she is writing.

Leona Olson ( )
1 vote mnleona | Feb 25, 2011 |
The Ash Spear by G. R. Grove is an entertaining fantasy novel with a lyrical, engaging narrative; it is a spirited book with a strong voice. The book is the third entry in the author’s Storyteller series (Storyteller and Flight of the Hawk being the others). I haven’t read the other books, but I found this novel stands on its own without confusing the reader on what went before.

The Ash Spear is set in sixth century Britain and tells of the continuing adventures of the bard-in-training Gwernin as he encounters kings, politics, war and hardship. I was impressed with the setting and background; the author did impeccable research and the history is brought to life with magnificent detail.

Written in the first person, the tale is spun with an effective tone, well flavoured in nuance and the right inflections. The narrating character is a genuine portrayal, coming across as a three-dimensional person with flaws. He was at various times amusing, heroic, irritating and unsympathetic, but always interesting. The book also does a nice job in depicting other characters and having them interact as a whole.

The Ash Spear does have a few problems, with occasional lapses in grammar and some poorly compiled sentence structure in the beginning of the novel. Also, the author ended the chapters with the same sentence, which I found quite annoying and repetitive. The novel, perhaps, could have benefitted from a shorter length as well; while beautifully written, some of the scenes had expansive descriptive passages which caused the pace to meander a bit.

Still, it was an enjoyable novel to read and appealing enough for me to consider reading the rest of the series. ( )
  scribe77 | Feb 16, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Pren onn ydyw fy awen gwen.
My ash spear is my holy awen.
-Taliesin
Dedication
To all those gone before.
First words
Elidyr Mwynfawr, King of Aeron, was a weak, greedy fool, and like many another such fool, he died of his folly.
Quotations
I had been lucky in my childhood, though I did not know it at the time; our local prince Brochfael Ysgithrog and his successor Cynan Garwyn were both of them stark men whom their neighbors took good care to leave alone, and until the previous summer I had seen nothing worse than a few cattle raids. But exchanging awkward spear-casts in the summer twilight with the lads of the neighboring cantref while running off a few of their young heifers, or even riding down a band of half-awake Saxon raiders in the gray dawn—as Neirin and I had done in Elmet the summer before—is no more like full-fledged warfare than a brief summer shower is like the winter tempest which drowns wide valleys and lays whole forests low. Now that I am old and have seen the worst of it, I know that warfare is no game, but every young man has to get that lesson for the first time—supposing that he lives long enough to learn it. So it was with me.
Below us, but still out of sight, was the enemy camp, on the far side of a little river. We started down the last slope, Rhun leading, and our horses broke into a trot as we went; then, as we hit the flat, into a canter. I heard Taliesin’s voice somewhere behind me, calling my name; but my blood was up, and I did not stop. There was a yell ahead of us, suddenly cut off, as a sleepy sentry gave his last alarm. Rhun’s full-throated battle cry of “Arfon!” answered him, and then we were all of us shouting. We bust yelling out of the last trees and splashed across a shallow ford, and there ahead of us was the enemy camp, and beyond it the sea. And on that sea, even as I looked, the anchored ships bloomed one by one with red-gold fire.
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Book description
“Elidyr Mwynfawr, King of Aeron, was a weak, greedy fool, and like many another such fool, he died of his folly. But because he was a King, in his dying he cost many better men their lives as well, and this was the way of it: for I, Gwernin Kyuarwyd, was there, and saw much of it myself, and the tale that I tell you is true…”
In 6th century Wales, the ash spear – pren onn – was a symbol of warfare and of manhood, but it also stood for awen, the poetic inspiration of the bards. As war comes to North Wales, bardic apprentice Gwernin must master all three of its meanings in order to keep himself and his friends alive. From otherworldly dangers to rich rewards in the fire-lit halls of kings, from bloody battle and grueling labor to tender romance, The Ash Spear follows him in the thrilling conclusion of this first trilogy in the Storyteller series.
(This pre-publication description provided by the author)
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G. R. Grove chatted with LibraryThing members from Oct 8, 2012 to Oct 26, 2012. Read the chat.

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