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Showing posts from February, 2016

HIST & MYTH: Walk the steps of a 14th Century Character

Post 131. Written by guest author MikeH

Bio: MikeH, born in Mexico, now living in Barcelona, has an avid interest in ancient history, mythology and a longing to understand early civilisations.  When he is not working, you will find him on the tennis paddle court or exploring the historic city of Barcelona while enjoying delicious Spanish tapas. 
The Cathedral of the Sea, a historical novel by Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones, takes place in the 14th century Barcelona, at the time of the Inquisition, with the construction of Santa Maria del Mar as background to the story. Famine, plagues, intrigue and conspiracy combined with historical facts are well presented in this extraordinary novel whose hero and main character is Arnau Estanyol.

Son of a young serf running away from his feudal lord, the story shows Arnau’s journey from slave to nobleman in Barcelona, highlighting the struggle between good and evil that will turn Church against State, and brother against brother. His newfound stat…

LITERATURE: E-Book: Friday - Read for Free!

Post 130. Written by Ben Kesp

Placing his hands on the hot green railings, the temperatures soar to thirty-five degrees Celsius. The warm breeze brushes his face. From his high view point, he casts his eyes across the bay to the distant white cliff face. Large cargo ships sail by. A young couple brings his attention to the beach on his right. Summer tourists. The girl is standing on the sand and her partner is in the water. He is trying to encourage her to get in. She refuses. After several attempts, she gives up and returns to her sun lounge much to the disappointment of her partner. A sea gull’s screech draws his eyes away from the couple on the beach, upwards to the bird soaring high searching for a morsel of food. Returning to his task, he pulls himself upwards on to the hot railing steadying himself. He peers downwards, and his eyes rest on the bed of rock below. 
One final check to ensure that the climbing harness is securely fastened, he releases his feet from the r…

LITERATURE: The Witch of Ballyvale Part IX

Post 129. Written by Ben Kesp
A week following the harrowing events, Mags’s mind has been in turmoil. Sleepless nights haunt her. Heather’s body was recovered from the water and buried, not in the local cemetery, but outside its walls. It was done during the night, and not a prayer was said over her grave. Mags visits the site each day and stays for hours sitting by the grave. None of the villagers have offered her support except for the food that was laid outside her door for the first three days following the death. This she believes was done by the blacksmith Walsh. Fearing to be associated with her, they delivered their gifts during the darkness of the night. That has now ceased, and her only comfort is knowing that someone is thinking of her. 
Arriving from visiting her mother’s grave, she sweeps out the fire hearth and prepares a new fire for the day. A cold Atlantic wind drives in from the sea sweeping into the valley, bringing with it a biting chill. 

Discover more on …

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 128. Written by Ben Kesp

A Brief History of Secret Societiesby David V. Barrett 
I am completing this series of Mondays Book Talks with a book that can only be described as informative and certainly one that I believe everyone should read, removing the many myths associated with secret societies of the world. Starting from the dawn of ancient civilisation, the book objectively explores the hidden history of esoteric religious beliefs as the human race continuously seeks out knowledge and understanding of the world. 

Dr. David Barrett, British sociologist of religion has amassed numerous works over his career. He contributes regularly for The Independent, Fortean Times and the Catholic Herald. Before he turned to writing, he was an intelligence analyst for the UK Government Communications Headquarters and in the United States government’s National Security Agency. 
Have you ever wondered and questioned the existence of such secret groups like the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, …

HIST & MYTH: Fionn Mac Cumhaill

Post 127. Written by Ben Kesp

The legendary mythical warrior takes centre stage in the Fenian Cycle, the third cycle in early Irish Literature, along with the Fianna, his loyal followers. Fionn was the son of Cumhall, leader of the Fianna, and his mother was Muirne. However, before his birth, his parents were not allowed to share their lives even though they were in love with each other. Muirne’s father, the druid Tadg mac Nuadat, refused Cumhall to have his daughter in marriage, so Cumhall kidnapped her. What else could he do if he was in love with her? A battle ensued between the High King, Conn of the Hundred Battles, and Cumhall. Cumhall was killed by Goll mac Morna and Goll became the new leader of the Fianna. By now, Muirne was pregnant, and her father Tadg ordered that she be burned. The High King Conn would not allow it and had her placed in protection. She gave birth to Fionn, or Deimne, as was his birth name. 
Fionn’s mother left him in fosterage to Bodhmall, and a war…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 126. Written by Ben Kesp

Gone Girlby Gillian Flynn

Presented to me as a gift, I had left Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn to one side for months before getting stuck in. There has been much hype about this novel which also featured as a movie in 2014, adapted for screen by Flynn. 
Gillian Flynn is an American author, screenwriter and comic book writer who has currently published three novels; Sharp Objects, Dark Places and Gone Girl. I have not read any of Flynn’s previous works so I was eager to read this psychological thriller. 
I was somewhat unsure at the beginning with the pace the book was taking however moving into the story, it pulled me in, not so much from the point of view of it being gripping but more for intrigue to see where the story would end up. Without giving too much away on the plot, the story begins with the disappearance of Amy Dunne on her fifth wedding anniversary to husband Nick. The search begins to find Amy’s body and Nick is not faring too well in the…

LITERATURE: Irish Celtic Church

Post 125. Written by Ben Kesp

Book Excerpt from my History & Myth Series: The Irish Celtic Church

Welcome to the third instalment of the History & Myth Series in which I hope to explore some of the vast regions of Irish mythology and history while entertaining you with stories of warriors, kings, queens and mythical creatures from a mysterious and ancient land that sits off the North Western edge of Europe. Ireland is a country steeped in myth and legends, and too often, the lines between the realms of the spiritual and the world of the living converge. The very nature of the climate adds to the mysteriousness of the country influenced heavily by the Atlantic air system often hiding parts of the country in heavy fog and mist as if Manannán mac Lir, the Sea God himself was using his magic to hide Ireland under his spell of invisibility. 
Irish Mythology is complex with a vast amount of literature that by its contradictory nature only adds to the confusion providing a difficult t…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post #124. Written by Ben Kesp

King Solomon’s Minesby Henry Rider Haggard 

An adventure story like no other that will transport you to a raw and savage time in a period when European explorers were mapping out the great and wild continent of Africa. This is one of Henry Rider Haggard’s fables which viewed native people as primitive and in need of salvation in contrast to the white Europeans who were superior to other human types. It was Haggard’s experience in a wild and unchartered Africa that gave the backdrop to King Solomon’s Mines. 
Henry Rider Haggard was raised in a well do family in Norfolk, England. He lived in the African continent for seven years and afterwards returned to England and remained living there from 1882 until his death in 1925. His writing career began when he returned to England and King Solomon’s Mines is one of his greatest works which was first published in 1885. 
The adventure story is set in Africa and follows Allan Quartermain, an elephant hunter and…