13th Century Wales: A small monastic outpost is rocked to its core when a gruesome discovery is made on a nearby shoreline: a severed human head, the first of several to wash up along the surrounding coast. Not long after, the holy brothers stumble across the smouldering ruins of a bardic school and within, a pile of decapitated bodies – all that is left of King John’s brutal massacre. But one man, barely alive, is found hiding amongst the carnage. He is Cian Brydydd Mawr, the greatest bard of his age, who holds in his head all the ancient storied of his land . . .
So begins Hugh Lupton’s masterful new novel which tells the story of the making of the Mabinogion, the ancient Welsh myth cycle which existed in oral form for generations before it was set down in writing. In Lupton’s retelling, we witness these stories of spirits and shape shifters, giants and time travellers, curses and spells being told as they originally would have been in the ancient bardic tradition. Set against the rigid Christian doctrine of the monastery, these tales ask as much of their audience as they tell, illuminating why they have remained an inspirational part of Welsh and British culture for centuries. Think Harry Potter, The Owl Service, Game of Thrones and Tolkien all rolled into one – and you are halfway there . . .
Hugh Lupton is an internationally renowned story teller and novelist, whose Welsh heritage has led him to becoming an authority on these stories. Hugh will be telling the story of Pryderi, the only character to feature in all four branches of the Mabinogi as well as talking about his new book and the history of these ancient tales.