Fifty years on, Garner concludes Weirdstone trilogy

Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:17am EDT
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By Nigel Stephenson

LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly four decades before the Harry Potter phenomenon, British author Alan Garner was thrilling children (and their parents) with tales of children teaming up with wizards to do battle with the forces of evil.

In "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen", published in 1960, and "The Moon of Gomrath" (1963), Colin and his sister, Susan, stumbled into a world of wizards, witches, dwarves and elves.

Now, after almost 50 years, Garner has completed the trilogy with "Boneland". Like the two earlier novels, "Boneland" is steeped in folklore and myth but set in the real landscape around Alderley Edge, to the south of the city of Manchester.

By local legend, an army of knights sleeps under the Edge, waiting to be called to fight for England.

Professor Colin Whisterfield, now a deeply troubled astrophysicist at the nearby Jodrell Bank radio telescope observatory, combs the cosmos looking for Susan, who disappeared at the end of "The Moon of Gomrath".

With no memory of Susan's disappearance or indeed of anything before he was 13, Colin visits a psychiatrist, Meg, who tries to help him uncover his lost secrets.

The modern story is intertwined with that of The Watcher, a mysterious pre-historic man, who must find "the woman" to prevent the world from ending.

"Boneland" is described as a novel for adults, though magic is in the air. It is published in the UK on August 30 by Fourth Estate.   Continued...