“So it was agreed; they walked swiftly, and carefully, close together, and the swords were naked.”
Isn’t this a great line? It gave me chills, last night, as I was revisiting one of my favourite childhood reads, Alan Garner’s Weirdstone of Brisingamen.
The book was first published in 1960, and follows the adventures of Susan and her brother Colin when they are caught up in a mythic battle between the forces of good and evil. It’s a road story, set in quite a small patch of Cheshire, as the pair, with allies, seek to unite a magical talisman with its rightful keeper to stave off a looming apocalypse. I’d been dying to revisit Garner’s work, and Susan Cooper’s too, ever since reading Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay, a gorgeous tale which landed me firmly back in memories of those beautiful stories that marry myth and the modern age.
It’s not without hesitation that we revisit such favoured tales, for fear that they have lost their power with the years, both ours and theirs. Fortunately, no such disappointment awaited, and Garner’s magic still runs strong. Off to revisit Moon of Gomrath, to see who of Brisingamen’s cast pop up!
Here’s a lovely piece from the Guardian, marking the book’s 50th anniversary. (In an aside, it’s also 30 years since Ian Curtis died, the Joy Division singer being a native of Macclesfield, in the environs of which Brisingamen takes place.)