Publications by the creator of these translations and retellings

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cover image for The Isle of Avalon and some Strange Tales from the Middle Ages

The Isle of Avalon and some Strange Tales from the Middle Ages: Investigating King Arthur, medieval romance and echoes of reincarnation

by R S Robinson

If you have ever stood amongst the barrows on a hilltop in England and wondered about the spirituality that existed in this land before the Romans brought Christianity to its shores, then this book will delight you and, perhaps, astonish you. It is widely known that the Iron Age druids in Britain believed in a form of reincarnation known as the transmigration of souls. What is less well-known, and what over twenty years of experience translating medieval Arthurian legend and romance into modern English prose has taught the author, is that the unwritten doctrine that the druids taught may have been preserved in the stories and legends of medieval France and England in the twelfth century, and then for two hundred years afterwards. Amongst them, the legends of King Arthur.

Don’t look to an age of Saxon invasion for this controversial king. Such placement brings serious historians out in a rash. This book will demonstrate that the source of his power lies way further back, in the Iron Age and further back still, to an antique world of Bronze Age sword-making and priests defending sacred springs.

The Isle of Avalon interprets many of the medieval tales that have come down to us as allegories, carefully honed extended metaphors that were intended to reveal teachings that the Celtic druids would have recognised and embraced. Similarities and parallels are found in:

  • The Breton lais of Marie de France
  • The Arthurian romances of Chr├ętien de Troyes
  • Irish legend and mythology
  • Welsh mythology
  • Norse mythology
  • Middle English legends of Sir Gawain
  • Middle English romances
  • Stories of Sir Lancelot of the Lake
  • The legend of Tristan and Isolde
  • Twelfth century Anglo-Norman romances
  • Middle English Breton lais

In these tales there are giants in abundance, dragons, damsels in distress, but there is one theme especially that is endemic to them all. And a close reading of these stories, and of this ubiquitous theme in particular, may reveal the astonishing form in which the druidic belief in reincarnation was held.

The reader is guided through these medieval stories, shown the large number of parallels with European mythology, and may at last be able to stand on a hilltop in Britain and feel the spirit of the land once again.

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cover image for Wightwych Plato

Wightwych Plato, a novel

by R S Robinson

Hannah Bokenham, an accused heretic in Tudor England, finds herself in a race against the tide to solve clues to a mystery that will recover an artefact that her missing husband has concealed. The puzzle, of Dan Brown proportions, seems to require the religious decryption of a whole genre of medieval literature to crack. Does Hannah have what it takes, and does she care enough about her husband’s gift to risk her life in this way, while her friends attempt to spirit her away? And is Sister Matilda right in believing that this object will link Hannah’s husband to a fraud of Biblical proportions?

In this transposition of Plato’s Socratic dialogues, the Da Vinci Code meets Jorge Luis Borges in an English castle and its surrounding countryside for an intellectual, slow-burning suspense/mystery/thriller set on the Isle of Wight in southern England. The year is 1509. Relapsed heretics are burnt alive at the stake, and to avoid Hannah being one of them, Sir Henry Wolsingham is doing all that he can to get her safely abroad as quickly as possible. But is it a compelling destiny that is making his job so devilishly difficult? The irresistible re-enactment of events that took place almost two thousand years before? Or a work of Leonardo da Vinci complicating matters? Or just the Franciscan friars who are pursuing Hannah, intent upon finding evidence that will have her consigned to the flames? Or perhaps the Church assassin who is out to murder her for a wholly different reason.

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