Freda WarringtonAuthor of A Taste of Blood Wine, Grail of the Summer Stars, Elfland, The Court of the Midnight King, Dracula the Undead, A Blackbird in Silver Darkness... and many more fantasy novels and short stories.
Dark Cathedral and Pagan Moon
Penguin 1996 paperback
"A bewitching story of paganism, eroticism and dark love..."
All their childhood, Beth Herne and her brother Luke have lived in fear - beaten and terrorised because of their parents' religious beliefs. Until one summer, staying with her grandparents, Beth meets Rhianwen Rhys...
Known in the village as a witch, Rhianwen teaches Beth the power of a woman's spirit, allowing her to break free. Yet Luke stays with his mother, convinced that the Devil works through Rhianwen. While Beth begins the love affair that threatens them all...
To Beth, Rhianwen's son Morgan is irresistible, a beautiful demon seducing her into forbidden delights. But she bears his child in lonely terror - and even from birth, her beloved daughter Eirian is different. For Eirian can see and hear horrors from the past, and she must walk alone into the dark cathedral of the soul...
Author's comment... Dark Cathedral was my exploration of a heartfelt worldview that developed over many years of reading and pondering - that beneath the surface dogma of mainstream religions, there lies a dark, buried history of the suppression of all things female, a denial of female sacredness, power and equality. I wanted to play all this out through my characters. That's not to say that my 'fundamentalist' characters are all bad or the pagan ones all perfect - the point is that they are all human, flawed, trying to do their best but with sometimes disastrous consequences!
Fifteen years on and counting, it saddens me to note that, although equality of gender, religion, race, sexuality and so on are generally taken much more for granted these days, to the extent that (in many countries) discrimination is outlawed, the battle continues. There are still many loud, strident voices raised against female equality - and against gay rights, against pagans or atheists or anyone of the 'wrong' faith - even in supposedly 'modern' societies. Still too many cultures where oppression is enshrined in both religion and law. And, depressingly, things seem to be getting worse.
We can never, ever take our hard-won rights for granted.
I could say a lot more but I think you know what I'm talking about...
I gather, from the number of requests I get from readers for Pagan Moon, that quite a few must have read and enjoyed Dark Cathedral! Unfortunately, Pagan Moon fell victim to Penguin's decision, first to axe their Creed dark fantasy list, and then to drop all their fantasy authors. As a result, it seems that very few copies of Pagan Moon were printed.
Last year, a small box of Pagan Moons surfaced in our loft, so I now have a handful of spare copies available - please email me if you'd like to enquire about purchasing one. I still have lots of Dark Cathedrals left. (Update - only one or two Pagan Moons left now).
In Pagan Moon, Beth and Morgan continue to struggle with the difficulties of their passionate, flawed relationship. Meanwhile their headstrong daughter Eirian takes on an incredibly dangerous mission; publicly to challenge the unquestioned, female-suppressing precepts of mainstream religions. In doing so, she makes a bitter enemy in the form of a charismatic, influential and terrifying evangelist.
Penguin paperback 1997
The sequel to Dark Cathedral...
Grotesque, terrifying, the image of the tortured shaman haunts Eirian. What does it want of her?
In childhood, Eirian became guardian of the Horn of Power - not that the Goddess has ever allowed her to be a child. For Eirian is different. Hers is the power of the pagan moon - and for that, her enemies want her silenced forever.
Eirian has already banished one evil, saving her mother Beth and a young boy from death at the hands of an extreme religious sect. After the blood-letting, the dark cathedral lies silent. And Eirian is on the passionate verge of womanhood ...
Only when her real father enters her life do Eirian's nightmare visions return. Morgan, beautiful, charismatic Morgan, has also tasted the power - yet he cannot or will not explain the haunting. Alone, Eirian must defy her parents. While her deadliest enemy prepares to destroy them all ...