Over 166 pages, Thirteen weaves a fascinating coming of age story around the Celtic legend of the thirteen treasures of Britain. Set in the early Iron Age fort of Caer Lludd (now Hampstead Heath) it chronicles the development of Rhiannon from gauche teenager to powerful warrior princess of the Catuvellauni tribe, through the tutelage of her mother, Druid Queen Rhiannon, and the majick of the Sacred Grove.
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There are some books of historical fiction which fail to be as convincing as they might be. Some use language not fitting to the period, or else some other anachronism is brought to bear the reader to some other time period, more usually closer to the present day. Then, there are those authors who, inspired more by fantasy adventures, from Lord of the Rings to World of Warcraft, take things to the opposite extreme, and what might be an enjoyable sojourn into a believable past, becomes an irritating jaunt into some dystopian neverland.
Tabitha Hergest, however, manages to capture the likely essence of early Iron Age British life - and she manages to anchor it to the modern day quite superbly, without ruining the run of the piece. Drawing on the work of archaeologists such as Dr Francis Pryor, she is able to construct a faultless facsimile of an ancient hill fort, situated on the modern Hampstead Heath, in the mind of the reader, and what appears to be an encyclopaedic knowledge of ancient Druidic practices makes for a thoroughly convincing segue into the magical (majickal?) premises for the tale.
The Thirteen Treasures themselves appear to be both of literal and metaphorical importance for, whilst they are of inestimable value in the vital quest, they also tell a coming-of-age story.
So there you are: a gripping tale with action a-plenty, human interest with good character portrayal, and twists that will make your eyes water!