For Easter, Stu and I decided to go camping on our way up the coast to our families. Obviously, I needed a holiday read as the book I was making my way through at the time would not have satisfied the criteria of light reading. Having just started a new job and totally overwhelmed my brain in the process, I sent out word to some reading friends for help with a book suggestion. The first response was from Stevie who suggested I read the follow-up of the Magician novels by Raymond Feist which I read last year, or ‘some awesome history fiction about old britain and kings and queens and time travel?’ Kel sent some great suggestions, Agatha Christie being one that I toyed with and would have won if Stevie’s amazing proposition hadn’t come in first. Yet the response that made me laugh so hard was from Jessi who wrote the following: “Have you read Coetzee yet? Disgrace is amazing.”
I think we have very different ideas of what makes a good holiday read.
Armed with this arsenal of book suggestions I made a frantic search around the cities bookshops to get the Ancient Future trilogy, knowing deep in my waters that this is what would make me happy. The search ended up being nearly as difficult as a quest most often found in a fantasy novel and on the way I found some great stores in the city, culminating last night in a mad dash to Minotaur on Elizabeth st to get the last book of the series before it shut at 6pm. Nothing gets me obsessed like a fantasy novel!
I think that the best way to think about these books is as an ode to the 1990s. There is so much about them that now seems cringe-worthy but if one keeps the decade of our youth in mind while reading, these intensely daggy moments are forgiven. Our heroine Tory is the Black Belt Tae Kwon Do, saxophone playing (saxophone were very sexy in the 90s!), history student, Sydney born daughter of a British archeologist father and internationally renowned harpist mother. Bear with me now. Her brother Brian died in a tragic Tae Kwon Do accident (don’t laugh, this is serious stuff) and thus she has travelled to England to take a break from her life and find herself. On Midsummer night her rental car breaks down near an abandoned field so Tory, being a Black Belt and afraid of nothing, walks in to the field with her bags (and saxophone) and finds an ancient ring of stones. Cue being transported through time by an ancient time travelling Mage and she arrives in 6th Century Britain and the story begins.
And it is so much fun! I kept reading out passages early on to Stu and later on keeping him abreast of plot developments (“Oh Tory’s the Queen now” or “Nah, she is still the Queen, but now she’s a Goddess too” and “No, they aren’t in Britain anymore, she is in Atlantis”) and he laughed and mocked so heartily. But I didn’t care. I kept reading my books and loving it. I’m now a third of the way through the last book and I’m writing this now because I don’t really believe that the ending will change my perception of the book. It served its purpose and keep me occupied, it sparked off a rivalry between Stu and I as to who could read faster (I can, obviously. Bless him and his genius brain but he doesn’t do novels.) and now I will think a whole lot more about Atlantis, time travel and ancient Britain than I thought I ever would.
I heartily recommend these books if you want to lose yourself in some fantastical frivolity. May the Goddess keep you.