A beautiful tale about an equally majestic culture, effortlessly revealed by a writer with a masterful command of language.
Best of Carmarthen
A fantastic novel, and a must-read for any native of Wales.
Dragons Under Carmarthen
Not only are the characters of the people and land portrayed in beautiful, lyrical writing; the spirit of Wales becomes very nearly tangible in this great novel. This work is replete with local superstitions, myths, and legends: giving the reader a clear insight into the heart and mind of a nation.
A stunning depiction of post-Roman Wales, The Orphans of Carmarthen captures the natural magic of the rolling countryside. The author is a master of exposition, using words to great effect in painting the poverty and beauty of post-Roman Carmarthen. His knowledge of the local superstitions, myths, and archaeological evidence is remarkably thorough, and woven throughout the adventures of the small boy and his dog. Having been to Carmarthen on several occasions, this book touched the familiar, fond memories and painted the hills along the Towy as well as any artist might have done. While pastoral and tranquil in depicting the love between the pair, the battle of the dragons was nothing short of spectacular.
“…a compelling depiction of pre-Christian Wales.” “The author triumphs in creating a work of fiction entirely appropriate to the historical environment, while embracing the regional superstitions and legends of a long-forgotten age.”
Gary Mitchell, SPX
“Emrys then turned for one last glance and glimpse of the majestic, grappling dragons. How eloquently their unspoken wrath pronounced the finite, matched confrontation of evil and good: how gloriously their encapsulated metaphor for mastery simply diminished all the earth, both above and here beneath.
Here was, in simile, the eternal struggle all men fought, played out in bloody, violent terms the whole of humankind might understand. A battle that Emrys surmised neither the red nor white would ever win: the character of each defined within and perhaps only by, the confines of their struggle. Perchance, the pair were true champions of the gods, with no purposed intent other than to fight; surviving but to hold the other one at bay: their existence only ratified in that the crimson was everything the white one realised he was not, and conversely, the ashened dragon only what the red might never be.
As he turned to take his leave, Emrys pondered if either was truly virtuous or depraved: if character, even among beasts, might be so easily resolved. Neither yielded when in pain, nor took advantage when its opponent fell; as if each knew full well that one without the other must but eventually die. Only through their magnificent struggle was strength actually verified; only in this savage conflict was the character of each truly defined.”
The regions of Wales have long been the source of timeless legends; stories that, somewhere in mankind’s memory and dreams, might well be based in fact. Just such a legend is the ancient account of a fatherless boy who lived near Carmarthen; an orphaned child who shunned the companionship of men; who lived among wizards and fantastic dragons; whose solitary life changed the course of one nation’s destiny.
The counties of Clwyd, Dyfed, Gwent, Powys, and Gwynedd are as distinct in features as the five oceans, while remaining as inseparable in character as the five points of a single star. Likewise, the separate valleys of Glamorgan, while sharing a common inclusive mythological history, distinguish themselves from each other within the specifics of folklore and legend.
The Orphans of Carmarthen concerns itself with the sociological and religious climate of the Towy