May 16, 2011

Rhydian's Quest - by V.S. Jones - A Review

rhydian's quest by vivienne s jones
Rhydian's Quest
Rhydian’s Quest is the first published book by author Vivienne S. Jones and hopefully not her last.  Vivienne delayed expressing her literary talent until her two children grew to adulthood.  But now that she has gained some freedom she has invested her time to delight us with Rhydian’s Quest.
Rhydian’s Quest is written in verse with rhyming couplets interspersed throughout, resulting in interesting reading and pure entertainment.  Verb tense changes weave the past into the present and back again without the reader being consciously aware of the conceit.  The verse format demands concise use of adjectives and adverbs for descriptive development of subject and action:. This application is expertly accomplished, always giving the reader a clear vision and understanding. In all, it is an expertly written book with subtle messages, deserving of a second reading. 

Ms. Jones has chosen a topic lying deep in her Celtic soul for her first book; a myth which incorporates pieces and parts of traditional Welsh Myths.  The Mabinogi, the tales of King Arthur, and the actual history of medieval Wales are all incorporated to weave this engrossing story.  The use of shape shifting, magical underground or undersea places, and providential circumstances are all borrowed with skill and made believable for the engrossed reader. 
The romantic myth is centered upon the quest of a newly knighted youth, Rhydian, and his search for the fabled Caledfwich.  He is accompanied on his quest by his dog Cyfaill, and his steed Cadair.  Starting his journey from his home at Castell Du, he proceeds to Castell y Bere via the high road as commanded by Llewellyn the Great.
During his journey he has several real adventures and several imaginary ones which provide him with experiences and challenges,all helping mold him into the Chivalrous Knight he becomes.  Along the way he becomes infatuated by an oft appearing water spirit,Gwen. He also takes on a young lad, Alain,who becomes his squire and companion.  Added into this mix are Cyfaill’s puppies sired by Cabal, the ferocious guard dog of Emlyn the wizard.  Upon reaching Castell y Bere he is feted by Llewellyn, but soon tires of court life and requests permission to proceed with his quest. 

Rhydian’s  quest to find the sword, Caledefwich, fabeled to have the power to make its holder the ruler of all men, takes the travelers to such magical places as Avalon, The Llyn, Isle of Ynis Enlli, and others where he meets each challenge with insight, fortitude and honesty, all knightly virtues.  His quest achieved, his heart filled with love, and his feelings of self doubt assuaged, he heads home to marry the woman of his dreams.
A simple story?  Not really.  There are many threads running through the book which may not be obvious through the first reading.  I would advise the reader to read the book through without regard to the exact meaning of unknown words as it takes away from the flow of the story and the mystical environment created by the prose.  The second reading will provide insight into the construction of the story and the sublime threads within it including a sleeping Red Dragon.  Take the time needed to investigate the meaning of unknown words, characters, and references.  A reader so inclined, can trace the path of the adventurers as all places are, or were, of this world. 

It has been refreshing to read a book so well written and researched as Rhydian’s Quest.   I heartily recommend Rhydian’s Quest to all who want a good read and would like to be transported to a land of hope and beauty.  As an aside, the clue to the book’s title lies in the hero’s home place. 

Review by Howard Evans

Read our interview with Vivienne S. Jones' here

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