The ancient, uncanny and raw stories of Britain and Ireland are often overlooked.
Steven O’Brien’s re-tellings show that the myths and legends of these islands have just as much allure as those of the Greco-Roman world.
The fifteen stories in this anthology roam through time and place and are told from a variety of perspectives. The style is highly crafted, at times poetic, at times amusing, but always suited to the subject matter.
In his desire to re-forge the matter of Britain Steven O’Brien digs deep.
The eternal spite of the Morrigan, the weird doom of Weyland the Smith and the relentless haunting of Herne the Hunter are revealed as both fleshy and elemental figures who spring directly from the green landscape.
Vengeance, curses, battle lust and tragic love shadow dance against the supernatural. In stories such as the Changeling and the Selkie the contemporary settings remind us that, in the realm of the imagination, the curtain hanging our world and the world of enchantment is at times fragile.
Moreover, Britannic Myths illustrates that antique narratives from our northern traditions contain much about us in our present reality. Mythic stories are timeless.
Dr Steven O’Brien is the editor of The London Magazine and widely published poet. His most recent collections are Scrying Stone and Dark Hill Dreams. He has also recently published The Great Game: An Imperial Adventure. He lectures at the University of Portsmouth, where he leads the MA in Creative Writing. He is also Visiting Fellow of Creative Writing at University College Chichester. His doctoral thesis formed an interrogation of the poetic imagination from a Jungian perspective.
Praise for Britannic Myths
'Steven O'Brien has forged a word music to match the strange, fierce magic tales. Weirdness and glamour and faerie are old words meaning knowledge and enchantment and dazzlement, Britannic Myths reawakens their power.' Marina Warner, novelist historian and mythographer
'You know you have heard a good story when its memory lingers for a long time after its telling. The tales in this collection are adapted for modern times, O'Brien has not only saved the furniture of the old house but blown the dust of it as well.' Richard Hamilton, author of The Last Storytellers, Tales from the Heart of Morocco
'Steven O'Brien has a compelling connection with the primordial. He keeps us in touch with archaic and submerged energies which we are in danger of losing.' Peter Abbs