He ran below the bird, yet his mind and the hawk’s mind moved as one. He could feel the dry December grasses beneath his bare feet, but he saw as the hawk saw: a flash of grey fur in the stubble, the swaying pattern of a tree branch.
He tried to turn the hawk’s mind—his mind—to his will, and for a moment he succeeded. In the distance he could see the stone watchtower of his home at Castle Celyn, seat of the royal court of Wales. But the hawk’s need was powerful, turning him back to scan the ground they circled. If he squinted—just so—at the yellow and russet clumps, he could make out the leaves of each tree. A shadow drifted from branch to branch.
His talons ached for the soft flesh and his beak thrust forward—
Spirit Sight is a tale of high adventure set in the last days of the independent Welsh Kingdom and laced with enchantments suitable for the times and setting. A young Welsh warrior, Hyw, can control the minds of animals, and his younger sister, Catrin, can, within a drop of water, see into the future. The King of England, Edward the First, also known as Longshanks, has decided to end the independence of the troublesome Welsh once and for all by leading a full-fledged invasion into their mountains. With him are his lords eager to gain land and wealth and present the heads of the Welsh for a bounty.
Hyw goes to battle and witnesses the death of Llywelyn, Prince of Wales, but he discovers the spirit of his betrayed prince has somehow become bound up within him. His sister Cat witnesses the fall of their home and flees with the royal family from castle to castle pursued by the English. They eventually find temporary sanctuary with Llywelyn’s brother Dafydd at the home of Cat’s betrothed, Lord Rhys. Hyw catches up with them there. King Edward means to capture Dafydd who is the last remaining male heir to the Welsh throne and to execute him and his family. This portion of the “Last of the Gifted” duology concludes with the refugees, aided by the supernatural gifts of Hyw and Cat, escaping the fall of their besieged castle.
The first of the two book series, Spirit Sight, which is based on actual historical events and players, is filled with adventure and romance and a touch of fantasy that fits in well with the folklore of the location. The book has several added features that increase the enjoyment of the tale, including an introductory two-page “Character Guide” and a one-page black and white map of the area where the action takes place. End matter consists of a four-page historical note, a six-page glossary, a page of acknowledgements, three pages of further reading, a brief one-page author biography, and nine pages of the first chapter of Water Sight, the second book.
Well-written, Spirit Sight will appeal to a wide range of ages and readers, especially those who enjoy historical-based fantasy and high adventure.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science-fiction in Winnipeg, Manitoba, under the pen name R. J. Hore.