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G. R. Grove

Author of Storyteller

16 Works 317 Members 112 Reviews 5 Favorited

About the Author

Includes the name: G. R. Grove


Works by G. R. Grove


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Grove, G. R.
20th century
Country (for map)
Places of residence
Houston, Texas, USA
Santa Barbara, California, USA
Juneau, Alaska, USA
Denver, Colorado, USA
Rice University (BA|Geology)
University of California, Santa Barbara (MA|Geology)
Database Administrator
scientific illustrator (show all 7)
Awards and honors
Cadair Eisteddfod Cymdeithas Madog (2008)
Honorary Order of the Ivorites (2010)
Cadair Eisteddfod Cymdeithas Madog (2012)
Short biography
After a long career as a mining geologist and a shorter one as a database administrator, G. R. Grove is currently writing her sixth novel set in 6th century Britain.



Storyteller series: part 5 in Roman and Dark Ages Britain (January 2015)
The Druid's Son: Group read in Hobnob with Authors (November 2012)
Storyteller series - connections to earlier threads in Roman and Dark Ages Britain (November 2012)
Storyteller series: The Druid's Son: part 4 in Hobnob with Authors (November 2012)
Storyteller series #3: Bards and druids... in Hobnob with Authors (October 2012)
Storyteller Series: General chat thread #2 in Hobnob with Authors (November 2011)
Storyteller Series: General chat thread in Hobnob with Authors (November 2010)
Historical fiction in Hobnob with Authors (May 2010)


This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways.
The Ash Spear is the conclusion of a trilogy that centers around Gwernin, a bard-in-training traveling around sixth century Wales and surrounding areas. While the book is part of a trilogy, it is perfectly readable as a stand alone novel. The time period in which it takes place is not long after the time of King Arthur and Druidic influences also still abound. Gwernin accompanies Taliesin, the bard to who is to be his trainer for the duration of their travels. His hope is to complete his bardic training and become a full fledged, respected bard in his own right. When he takes to the road with Taliesin at the beginning of the story, he leaves behind his old master and teacher to whom he is apprenticed, the head bard Talhaearn. He also leaves behind his girl, Rhiannedd, who has just announced that she is pregnant with their child.

Factional fighting between clans has erupted into full fledged warfare as Gwernin and Taliesin take to the road and before long they are literally in the thick of the battle. The research and detail appearing in the book are extensive and the author explains how she used the available resources and scant information available on that timeframe to weave a story as true to the time as is possible. She's done a very good job it seems, as the story flows along quite smoothly and believably. I felt immersed in this tale from the Dark Ages, of which we technically know so little regarding specifics. On a personal level, as a newbie to Dungeons and Dragons, this story has vastly improved my ability to imagine Druidic type characters and their lifestyle and the setting in which they lived by feeding my imagination so thoroughly with so many details.

Gwernin's adventures, besides bloody warfare, include "helping" his friend through a dark passage, a quite risky coming of age ceremony in which a psychedelic drug is drunk inducing an approximately 48 hour state of hallucinations that can easily prove to be fatal. Unfortunately for Gwernin, a young, insolent, obnoxious and unpopular acolyte is also under the tutelage of Taliesin and has taken a distinct dislike to our protagonist; a feeling that is mutual. This young lad and his foolish behavior very nearly end up being the end of Gwernin.

We are treated to realistic scenes of gatherings and festivities in the great halls of the time, and of course, the performances of the highly respected bards, including Gwernin, who hopes to become a full fledged member of their ranks before long. I enjoyed these scenes immensely, including the songs and stories that we are treated to. There is a refrain at the end of every chapter, as a segue into the next; and I liked that, too.

One detraction for me was the frequent gratuitous sexual escapades of Gwernin's which were eventually explained as something he just couldn't help and with which he continued throughout his life, apparently. All this while having a very pregnant girl back in his village who he was planning on settling down with before long, yet "settling down" he explained did not mean becoming monogamous. It was explained that his girl (presumed to be his wife eventually) allowed him this and turned her head the other way. That didn't sit well with me, particularly as it seemed against the grain of what we had come to expect of Gwernin, though while not perfect, of course, did usually seem to come off as better than that would indicate. I think that was an unnecessary dereogatory trait for him and took away somewhat from my enjoyment of an otherwise quite enjoyable tale of this time frame and setting.
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shirfire218 | 23 other reviews | Oct 6, 2023 |
The story told from the pov of Gwernin, an OC meeting a cast of historical personages during his travels through 6th century Britain and Ireland. The plot is neglibile and serves as a framing device for a re-telling of myths and stories, Some of the events I had already read in the "The King's Druid", that work quoting them verbatim (read: copy-paste) from this one.

The author clearly knows her topic and shows herself to have meticulously researched the mythology and history of her timeframe, from historic events down to mundane details of everyday life.

Two things that struck me unfavourably about the main character was at the unconcerned attitude shown by Gwernin and his companions - a priviledged lot who use their status as bards and poets to benefit from apparently boundless hospitality and to finagle valuable gifts from their hosts - show on the occasion of two young boys being killed successively on the same day. Are they shocked, concerned, saddened by the tragic accidents? Afraid, worried, anxious about what might come of Colum Cille’s cursing the High King Diarmait? Nope, they just shrug and go back to business as usual, which is: idling, laughing and joking and, in Gwernin's case, ogling the girls. Who, being a husband and father, jumps at the first opportunity that comes "like a holiday to me, recalling my carefree wandering as a lad" to leave his family behind, not sparing them a single thought, except when missing company in his bed. Not exactly Mr Nice Guy, this. I would have minded more had he not failed to come across as a real person in the first place.

Lastly, as with "The King's Druid", I can't help griping about the incongruous mix of languages: Old Irish, Welsh and modern Irish place names are jumbled into the narrative along with their modern English equivalents. Characters speak Hiberno-English to signify their switch from British to Irish, unless they forget. The dialogue is peppered with snippets of Irish, as often as not out of context, misspelled, misunderstood or just plain wrong.

To sum up: This is not a novel, but a short story collecction that may be best enjoyed not by reading cover-to-cover in one sitting but by dipping into on a more random basis. Could do with a spot of editing.
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Nooiniin | 2 other reviews | Feb 12, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book is advance level of poetry, The book is collection of 70+ poetry with genre of historical fiction, nature, historical figures, old cases , study of various authors, songs for the holy saints, animal kingdom, like boar , seagulls, about island. The wrote on various topics and have tone of arrogance , and written more as narrative , than as a poet and , Rhyming scheme of the poetry is difficult and , wrote more in a sonnets then in liners. The poetry gives impression that its for elite not for commoner. And have written in 2 languages . Author claims that his poems are SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) poems – either poems written for or about people in the two Kingdoms. Diction of the poetry are for those whose vocabulary is higher than the normal English level… (more)
kanwarpal_singh | Oct 2, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What a treat! I loved following Gwernin as he told tales and collected them on his travels through Ireland. The blending in of mystical elements was very well done, giving just a hint of the otherworldly to the story.

Although this is the fourth book in the Storyteller series, it stands on its own well enough that it's not necessary to have read the preceding volumes.
2 vote
amanda4242 | 2 other reviews | Aug 24, 2022 |


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