Bronze Age Bog Body

cashelmanBronze Age Bog Body . . . isn’t that a great title? It refers to the fact that in Ireland, in a peat bog, a partial corpse was found, and amazingly, the remains were dated to around 4,000 years ago.

Nova apparently didn’t think such a title carried enough pizzazz.  They named their show on the find “Ghosts of Ancient Kings.”

Guess we know where that’s going. Yup, those crazy Celts and their macabre human sacrifices. Go figure.

You can see the whole show online. It is worth seeing; the accidental discovery of such an old, mummified body is interesting in and of itself. The fact that not only Nova, but newspapers and the BBC as well, feel they must sensationalize the discovery by stating that the man was probably a victim of sacrificial rituals seems to me to produce an opposite effect: it trivializes the find itself.

Here’s the intro:

“Follow the forensic evidence and historical record back in time to the world of the Celts, a mystical society ruled by warriors kings, queens, and druid priests, practitioners of a macabre  and brutal ritual.”

This is followed by quotes from the show, given out of context, and the question,

“Why were they slaughtered? Were they despised outcasts or revered sacrifices? This is a 4,000 year old cold case: Ghosts of Murdered Kings.”

There are two stories here: the new 4,000 year old find, and the Other Bog Bodies. The Other Bog Bodies–in Ireland and elsewhere in Northern Europe–do date from the Celtic Iron Age era, and they do have similarities, and one can make a decent case for human sacrifice.

But this show is centered on the body called Cashel Man, found in 2011 and dated to 2,000 BC. So I am going to rant a bit.

Cashel Man is not Celtic. There were no Celts in 2,000 BC. There were no druids. The idea that his poor, torn up body can be linked to those of people born 1500 to 2000 years later is wishful speculation at best, imho.

I expect better of Nova. This kind of bait-and-switch archaeology belongs on sillier shows.

A partial body was found in the bog. It is dated to around 2,000 BC. No other body that old has ever been found in a bog before.  That’s exciting, intriguing!  Tell us about him. What people lived in Ireland then?

Nova is not interested in telling us anything about the people who lived in Ireland 4,000 years ago.

An arm bone is broken and may be a defensive wound, according to the show. So maybe, sometime around 4,000 years ago, two men got into a fight, one killed the other and the body fell into a bog? Or maybe, same time same place, a guy fell and not only broke his arm, but split his skull open and died. Or anything.

Nova presents no evidence that either of these two scenarios is less likely than human sacrifice.

They do, however, proclaim that the torques and goodies left in bogs were offerings to a fertility goddess.

gundesThe show’s narrator states that this well-known picture on the Gundestrup Cauldron (which was found in Denmark, not Ireland, and dates to the Iron Age, not the Bronze) shows a fertility goddess receiving victims of ritual sacrifice who were either drowned or had their throats slit.

Huh?  And we know that how?

It must be acknowledged–they could be right, these writers and producers and Nova. No one knows exactly how to interpret the images on the Gundestrup Cauldron, so they could be right or wrong.

But to tell people that this is what the image means, when that meaning is nothing more than a guess, and to tie the cauldron into the death of some poor guy who died 2000 years before the cauldron was crafted–I’m frothing at the mouth.

And it’s only a TV show.

 

 

 

 

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March 2014 Contest: Post a Picture

CheaperThanTherapyNature. Cheaper than therapy.

Great sentiment, huh? It was posted by Sacred Mists, and I don’t know if it’s original to them or came from somewhere else, as most things internettish seem to circulate a bit.

The idea is so true–especially for writers who tend to spend too much time in front of their computer and not enough under the sun.

Forget writers.  I think I just described almost everyone in the 21st century. And I am not disparaging therapy. But sometimes what we really need is to get out.

Everyone benefits from a walk in the woods. Like these.

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Even if your “woods” happens to be a beach, a scrubby desert habitat, or a duck pond at the park.

8a73d119dc3817f6c1f11cedcd39f1c5This is a river near Paimpol, in Brittany.

I would love to see more pictures. In fact, if you will post your favorite picture of a natural setting–beach, meadow, forest, desert, mountains, but no urban landscapes, art museums, or selfies–I will pick the best one at the end of March and send you a copy of either of my books: Death Speaker or The Boomer Book of Christmas Memories. Your choice.

Where to post it? Facebook! Just go to either the Death Speaker page or my author page (Vickey Kall).  Once there, you can post your picture to either page.

1618657_1426886400882687_415097543_nIt must be a photo of a natural setting.  The only other rule is that you have to say where it is, and if you didn’t take it, I think you should state where it came from. For example, the picture just above came from the Stay in Ireland FB page, and I saw it on the Ireland of a Thousand Welcomes page.

The pictures will be judged by me, and I will very subjectively pick my favorite. And it won’t matter if you took the picture or not.

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Death Speaker’s Facebook Page

The book (Death Speaker) has a Facebook page, and while I don’t always take the time to write an essay on this blog, on that page I try to post something of interest about Gaul or the Celts everyday.

Just in the past week or so, here’s what’s been posted on Facebook/Death Speaker:

VenetiCoin1

  1. Pictures of Celtic coins and a link to article about the very recent finds of coin hoards in Bulgaria
  2. Mention of Barry Cunliffe’s new book, Celtic from the West 2
  3. A few paragraphs about Imbolc
  4. A couple of posts about Le Mormont–a Helvetian sanctuary and gravesite filled with artful offerings, recently excavated
  5. A few jokes and silly pictures (of course! It is facebook, after all)
  6. A video of an interview with Barry Cunliffe
  7. Aerial photo and link to article about a Scottish hillfort dating from 400 BC

Any one of these could be a fascinating blog post (well, maybe not number 5) had I the time to dig in and do some research–but that doesn’t mean you can’t dig in and enjoy the photos and follow up on stories you find interesting!

So please, follow the Death Speaker page and enjoy. I will keep up the posts–one a day, relating to Celts, Brittany, Gaul, the Iron Age, megaliths, museums–and occasionally, a cartoon.

WritersHangout360,Dec.PS: If you are a writer as well, I have an author blog (VickeyKall.com) and Facebook page. The blog focuses on writing and marketing lessons that I’m learning and sharing. The Facebook page has a lot of jokes and quotes, announcements of my publications and posts, shares from editing and publishing experts, and stories that interest me–like a link to an article by Malcolm Gladwell elaborating on the “10,000 hour rule.”

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Celts as Barbarians (Not, of course)

Just got a chance to watch Terry Jones’ Barbarians, a 4-part TV show filmed in 2006. The first hour-long show is on the Celts. “The Primitive Celts” is the actual title, but the show builds the argument that they were anything but primitive.

Since you may not have the next hour free to watch the show from beginning to end, I’ll walk you through it so that you can go immediately to the parts that will interest you.

The first segment is about the Celtic attack on Rome in 389 BC.  “Woe to the vanquished!” is a line that sent chills up everyone’s spine, once upon a time; I even used it in Death Speaker.

At 5:30 in, Jones takes us to the site of Alesia, in Burgundy. The siege of Alesia is what ended Caesar’s Gallic campaign and allowed him to return to Rome as a conqueror–with Vercingetorix, leader of the tribes who fought him, as his prisoner.

We see today’s landscape (it’s pretty much wide open country), with the rebuilt walls and engines of war, and with ghost images showing the action.  Jones uses this to point out that history is written by the winners, and how for 2,000 years the Roman version of history has been accepted by the masses . . . but . . .

300px-Coligny-closeupTwelve minutes in: the Coligny Calendar, the fabulous lunar and solar calendar designed by the Celts, is center stage. Professor Garrett Olmstead, who figured out how the calendar worked, talks about it right in front of the real calendar at the museum in Lyon.

At seventeen minutes in, we visit the excavation that is uncovering the Celtic city of Bibracte. Whoopee! This was all new stuff to me, although the big city is mentioned in my book. Bibracte was one of a dozen very large centers of commerce and governance scattered around Gaul, and the show uses lots of maps to show just how well-connected the tribes of Gaul were.

In Bibracte, archaeologist Vincent Guichard talks about the finds, showing the cellar of a two-story building (most of the buildings had cellars),  the two-kilometer-long road through the center of town, and the reconstructed clothing that displayed each person’s wealth. And where was that wealth coming from?

Well, he gets to that, but first, at around twenty-six minutes, we examine a 2200-year-old road across a bog in Ireland–both the reconstruction, and the real road. It was designed to support wheeled vehicles, as was another, similar road in Germany dating from the same time.

In fact, all of Gaul and the Celtic world were linked by roads. At about thirty minutes in, Jones points out the big difference between Rome and the Celts. Rome was the center of Rome, but the Celts did not have an center–not an central authority, not a commercial center, not anything like that. They were networked, rather than centralized.

At 33:30, Jones presents Caesar’s reasons for going to war with the Helvetii–and he then points out how we know that Caesar lied and was looking for an excuse to start a war. At 35:30, we get to the heart of the matter: GOLD.

celticgoldstatercunobelinobv400Gaul was full of mines before the Romans, which is just now coming to light. Jones interviews Beatrice Cauvet, who has been excavating these mines for over a decade. Caesar needed money and military glory, and there were over 400 gold mines in Gaul.

Forty minutes in, we go to Vix, and the famous grave of a wealthy and powerful woman who died around 500 BC. In this segment, Miranda Aldhous-Greene gets to talk about the Lady of Vix, her grave goods, and the status of women in Rome and among the Celts.

At forty-five minutes we go to Trinity College in Dublin and Professor Donnchadh O’Corrain to talk about the earliest Irish books and what they tell us about women’s rights in Celtic society–as well as the lawful protections of the elderly and the very young.

48:30–To Britain, and both Boudica’s rebellion and the destruction of the druids at Anglesey in Wales in the first century AD. Aldhouse-Green talks a bit about the bias of the Roman sources when it comes to druids, and what the true function of the druids were.

The last few minutes of the show go back to Alesia to discuss the final siege and the fate of Vercingetorix, as well as the vast numbers of those killed and enslaved by Rome.

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Map of the Ancient Celtic World

513LH8KTlDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This new book-The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts-is reviewed in The Guardian and in  a Telegraph article and review.

I must have it.

But I don’t yet, so I’ll just summarize  . . . better yet, I’ll just copy from the description on Amazon:

Fifty generations ago the cultural empire of the Celts stretched from the Black Sea to Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. In six hundred years, the Celts had produced some of the finest artistic and scientific masterpieces of the ancient world. In 58 BC, Julius Caesar marched over the Alps, bringing slavery and genocide to western Europe. Within eight years the Celts of what is now France were utterly annihilated, and in another hundred years the Romans had overrun Britain. It is astonishing how little remains of this great civilization.

Well, if you’ve read Death Speaker you know about Caesar and his destruction. It’s a sad story, and while researching it I did get hints of what this new book promises.
741912
For example, scholar Peter Berresford Ellis, who wrote books titled The Druids and The Celts: A History, makes a big deal about Celtic-built roads, pointing out a few places where the remains of thick wooden planks that once lined such roads have been found–and what such finds imply.

To quote from Amazon again,

While planning a bicycling trip . . . , Graham Robb discovered a door to that forgotten world—a beautiful and precise pattern of towns and holy places based on astronomical and geometrical measurements: this was the three-dimensional “Middle Earth” of the Celts. As coordinates and coincidences revealed themselves across the continent, a map of the Celtic world emerged as a miraculously preserved archival document.

In short, The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts by Graham Robb, is

A treasure hunt that uncovers the secrets of one of the world’s great civilizations, revealing dramatic proof of the extreme sophistication of the Celts, and their creation of the earliest accurate map of the world.

Wowwee.

According to the reviews and articles (because remember–I haven’t got my grasping little paws on the book yet), the Celts built roads linking population and religious centers from the 4th through the 1st century BC, long before the Romans even knew where those populations centers were.

Professor Robb, it seems, set out to disprove his growing sense that the druids, using cartographic knowledge that wouldn’t be re-discovered for centuries, mapped out the ancient world and connected it far in advance of the Romans, who’ve gotten the credit for building the old roads for two thousand years.

I don’t want to give away the surprise ending, but I suspect he failed to disprove his theory.

TerminDSCF6577

Satellite imagery is one of the modern tools that make this research and rediscovery possible. Robb begins his studies with a road that goes in a straight line from the northeast edge of Iberia–Spain & Portugal–all the way to the Alps. This thousand-mile stretch is called the Heraklean Way. What Robb found was that the road runs in a  line that corresponds exactly to the direction of the setting sun on the solstices.

Given all the ways a practical road could meander, that seemed too amazing to be accidental.

Also, lines from the main road did not lead to Roman towns–as would be expected if Romans really built the road–but to earlier, Celtic towns and oppida.

648px-La_tene_fittingDSCF6633Mayhaps you, like me, are enchanted by  the La Tene style of art as seen at left and above? Robb proposed that the curls and designs could be be arranged by “rigorous mathematical principles, and may even encode the navigational and cartographic secrets that the Druids so laboriously developed.”

But the druids get no respect. As Tim Martin (also quoted in the above paragraph)  writes in The Telegraph,depicting the Celt as a woods-dwelling wild man became not just a matter of Italian snobbery but one of propagandist utility.”

Boo. Propaganda!  Even amateur researchers such as me see the pro-Roman bias of most 20th century scholars.

I recall a gruesome cover and headline on Archaeology magazine about 20 years ago that depicted NOT what the article was about (a study of the bones found at Ribemont-sur-Ancre, I think) but the lurid, sensational human sacrifice motif that apparently sells magazines (though I must say, they never sold another magazine to me.) (However, I do visit and appreciate Archaeology’s website, so we’ll let bygones be bygones.)

It will be very interesting to see how this book is received, and what scholars are writing about the Celts twenty years from now.

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The Making of a Book Trailer

I’m not quite sure what to do with it–besides telling all my friends to check it out on YouTube, of course–but Death Speaker now has a beautiful book trailer, and I am very proud.

I shouldn’t be too proud because I didn’t put it together or compose the music. That was done by Dan Wheeler of Horizon Productions. But I did provide most (not all) of the pictures and script, so I guess I can take some credit.

About those pictures:

  • The one that appears behind the title & my name is of an Allé Couverte in Brittany, a 3,000-3,500 year old passage grave site (the body is long gone) with carvings of spirals, etc. inside.
  • The next picture is of Carnac, an equally old field of standing stones that Emyn visits in Chapter 18.
  • The pictures of forests were taken at Paimpont Forest in Brittany, also called Broceliande, an incredible place that everyone should see.
  • The picture behind the “Where to buy” text–as well as the book’s cover–is of the Pointe du Raz,  wild and windy peninsula. Several islands lie off the coast here, and for the cover we had to photoshop out the lighthouses that currently stand on them.

Why did I wait a year before getting a book trailer? That’s easy: money. Los Angeles–my home town–is host to many budding film producers, directors, musicians, screenwriters, actors, and all manner of technicians involved in film and the creative arts. They are all struggling to make a living. Like me! So much as I wanted to, I couldn’t really throw any work their way because I didn’t have the spare cash for that particular endeavor.

But I’m glad I waited because the end product is beautiful, don’t you think? If you’d like to contact Horizon Productions for a book trailer or music of your own, you can go to their website or send a message to info@Horizpro.com .DSVidPic

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Miranda Aldhouse-Green’s Druids

magnifying glass over a blue finger printAs a bit of an off-topic introduction, Salon ran a piece on literary detection this week . The article, by Patrick Juola, is about how J. K. Rowling was outed as Robert Galbraith, but it starts by citing a study in which the authorship of the Federalist Papers was determined by comparing the literary styles of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. (The article originally appeared in Scientific American.)

One of the clues cited is the word “whilst.” Madison used it; Hamilton did not. Therefore, articles that contained “whilst” were written by James Madison. Elementary.

Miranda Aldhouse-Green is a scholar who uses the word “whilst.” Few Americans do; I’m an American so I always notice that about her.

Introduction over–although the above-referenced article and its links are fun and I highly recommend it.

51MYqgmdAhL._SY300_And if you like academic musings about druids, I highly recommend Aldhouse-Green’s Caesar’s Druids: An Ancient Priesthood. I guess that makes this a book review.

The format for the book seems to be:

  1. Bring up a topic (Were the Druids priests? for example)
  2.  Have a go at it from all angles.
  3. Finish up by shrugging and admitting, “Who knows?”

THAT IS NOT A CRCITICISM!  I love that someone knowledgeable across many disciplines is doing this!

Were the Druids priests, she asks, then quotes Caesar (yes) and Nora Chadwick (no), discusses the function of priests and shamans on several continents, explains why no archaeological evidence could exist that might satisfy Chadwick (a temple used by those who disdained writing is not likely to have “temple” inscribed over the doorway), talks about animal sacrifice and who did the cooking, lists the other functions assigned to Druids . . . all in two pages, I think.

I’m having so much fun reading this, but I doubt I’ll retain much. I honestly just do not have the scholarly background to keep track of it.

Aldhouse-Green is all over the place–in a good way–dragging  in folklore and rituals from all over the world because her encyclopedic knowledge sees links in  the soul travel of holy men in Greenland and Caesar’s comment that the Gauls worship Mercury most; or the Plains Indians’ Sun Dance and ritualistic healing. She is not saying that the Celts are in any way related to North American Indian tribes, mind you–she is looking everywhere she can for clues as to why people might believe this or do that.

And when she finds those clues–or at least, a passing thought that might be a clue–she can’t resist throwing them into the mix so that we can all try and make sense of them. I am thankful that she does, because now other scholars can sort through her work like playing with a jigsaw puzzle, fitting things together. She’s assembled a lot of pieces for everyone to play with.

I read her book. The Quest for the Shaman: Shape-Shifters, Sorcerers and Spirit Healers in Ancient Europe while I was writing Death Speaker,  and her new book echoes a lot of the research contained there.

This is an academic work, thick with footnotes and professorial language, so it’s not for everyone. And from what I can tell, your best bet finding it is university libraries–at least in the US.  The print is small though the pages are nice and thick, so if you’re dependent on reading glasses, find a bright light and read it in small bursts.

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The Truth About Books About Druids

Who were the druids, and how do you learn about them?

51yFHHmUexL._SY300_Depends on what you want to know.  But mostly from books.

I wanted to learn everything I could about the druids of the Iron Age that was backed up by some kind of evidence–either archaeological finds or first-hand reports.  That’s because I was writing a book and wanted it to be as accurate as possible, even though it is fiction.

Someone else who’s just reading for fun might want less fact, more speculation–even flat-out fantasy. But whatever you want, you’ll probably look up books with Druid in the title.

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There are several books with the title “Druids,” including a novel by Morgan Llywelyn which I thought was tons o’ fun. Basically, since I wrote about the same time period, I liked comparing my ideas with hers. Presumably we used the same research (more or less–there’s just not a whole lot available) and let our individual imaginations fill in the rest.

But to clarify, it’s time for a digression!

Fiction vs Nonfiction:

You know that when you read a novel, the author is allowed to Make Things Up, right? This picture just above, for instance, represents a fictional scene. Not Real.

With nonfiction books, the author is not supposed to Make Things Up. Some of them do, though. How can the reader beware of this practice?

Piggott

Your best bet is to look at the credentials of the author. If s/he is a university professor, chances are the information in the book is carefully researched. The book to the right, for example, is by Stuart Piggott, a noted and respected archaeologist. (It is quite dated, though, and that cover is a bit much.)

As a professional, the author has an academic reputation to uphold, and that probably is more valuable to him or her than the success of the book.

If the author has no real credentials, and especially if the book is self-published or from a publisher you never heard of, be careful of taking the words to heart.

(And yes, my book is self-published–but it’s fiction and that makes it all OK.)

51ue4hfq99L._SY300_Digression over.

The nonfiction books with “Druid” in the title fall into two categories: those dealing with the historical, Celtic Druids, and those devoted to neo-druidism.

At right, another example of a book by a noted archaeologist–though again, a bit dated and (imho) she puts way too much confidence in the writings of Julius Caesar, who–no getting away from it–had an Agenda when he wrote about conquering Gaul.  But I risk digressing again.

Neo-druidic books that promise to teach druidism are promoting a philosophy, religion, and lifestyle that was invented in modern times, and uses impressions of ancient druids as its inspiration.  Which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for and you have no romantic illusions that you’re following an ancient path to knowledge.

741912 (1)Look, no one knows what druids or their followers believed two thousand years ago. They left NO written record, and the writings about them are filtered through Romans and Greeks. Those authors may have been lying, or misinformed, or faithful reporters . . . we just don’t know. There  are a couple handfuls of books by scholars and historians about druids. Of these, I recommend Peter Berresford Ellis’ book, The Druids. Even though it features Stonehenge on the cover (a construction that preceeds Druids and Celts by millennia), it’s a recent book that gathers together all that we can know about Druids–from archaeology (including Lindow Man), ancient writing, and Irish and Welsh traditions. Ellis takes the position that Druids were the educated segment of society–the doctors, lawyers, judges, scientists, and yes, priests. He compares them to the Brahmins of India. He makes conjectures, sifts through the evidence.

51MYqgmdAhL._SY300_If you read a book by a different expert, s/he might have different opinions.

I haven’t read the book to the right, by Miranda Aldhouse-Green, though I have other books she’s written. This one just came out; I’m requesting it through my library (it’s $60!)

Druids are mysterious. They were the elite and they guarded secret information. That information died with them, though. I’m reminded of a line from the book Indeh by Eve Ball–a book about the Apache . . . a line I can’t find right now! Dang. I hope I don’t butcher the quote, but one of the Apaches who was telling his history turned to Ms. Ball and said, “You white people, you keep everything up here in your head, and nothing in your heart.”

Why didn’t the Gauls write anything down? The wanted it all in their head. (They believed the soul, the mind, and the emotions rested in the head, not the heart.)

The idea of keeping secrets safe and not leaving them around, written on paper or carved on stone to be discovered by strangers, is understandable. I imagine that druids didn’t want their most sacred, esoteric information and rituals–all of which they felt had great power–being used or misused  by whatever enemy got their hands on a scroll.

Kinda like putting up secrets on Wikileaks today.

If you had worked years to acquire arcane information, would you give it away?

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Allee Couverte

The Allee Couverte Du Mouhau Bihan sits on private property in Finisterre Dept., Brittany, France. It wasn’t put up by Celts (or Gauls), but by the Neolithic people that preceded them.

It’s about 5,000 years old, and you get a sense of its size by the children climbing on the far end. The entrance is lined up with the north.

Some of the stones are carved inside with what could be spearheads, or shepherd’s crooks…or may mean something else entirely.

These structures are neither ignored or famous, but it’s not easy to find anything in English about them. Here’s a blog site in French with a picture of the same Allee Couverte–or passage grave, the usual English term.

Brittany is full of megalithic structures–from the rows of stones at Carnac to single menhirs, with burial mounds (the Tables des Merchands is spectacular), and with corridor dolmens and allees couvertes like this. Legend says it was once the grave of a giant–but that legend probably took thousands of years to develop.

Very few guidebooks tell much about these archaeological wonders and I can’t understand why. What could be more fascinating than to touch and enter a structure raised and carved 5,000 years ago? I found a priceless, thoroughly researched guide, though–not on the travel shelves, but something to request from academic libraries:

The Archaeology of Brittany, Normandy and the Channel Islands: An Introduction and Guide by Barbara Bender. Only problem is that it’s now almost thirty years old.

In Death Speaker, I hint at some of these. Emyn travels to Carnac, of course (Chapter 18), which is probably in better shape today than it was when she saw it. In modern times, fallen stones have been raised and put back into their original positions.

gavrinisAnd in Chapter 27, just before Emyn runs into Rialos–who refuses to invite her into his house–she looks out over the huge Morbihan Gulf while Aruca tells her of an island where the bodies of kings are taken when they die. I had Gavrinis in mind when I wrote that–a small island near the opening of the Gulf, where a large burial mound is found. Intricate carvings line the interior. At least one of the carvings was removed and used at a monument built later. Besides Wikipedia, you can read about Gavrinis here. And if you scroll down on that site, you’ll find a map of the area showing the dozens and dozens of other megalithic sites.

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Best . . . Review . . . Ever!

I am on Cloud 9.

No, I am beyond Cloud 9, looking down on it in fact. *

The Historical Novel Society has just issued their review of Death Speaker. It begins with the words, “Powerfully written.”

I had to stop reading at that point and take deep breaths while pinching myself. I am as insecure and fragile as everyone else is. My biggest nightmare was that I’d finally get a review from a classy organization like this and it would say something like “trashy and disappointing.”

Moving on, the reviewer–Steve Shaw–describes the story and my writing with phrases like:

“Kall recreates the climate of impending disaster and gives voice to the trampled tribes. There is an air of unexpected and tenuous mystery that adds flavor to this novel . . .”

“Kall’s writing is quite impressive, showing considerable craft . . . “

“Great reading”

Bliss. Utter bliss. Please forgive me this indulgence; I know it adds nothing to your knowledge of ancient Gaul. But I am one happy camper right now.

* Cloud 9 actually doesn’t have anything more going for it than Cloud 7 or 8, according to this exploration of the origin of the phrase.

 

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