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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GLEN L HALL

glen

My love affair with books started with Mrs Flather my primary school teacher, who gave me a copy of Prince Caspian when I was seven, which has led thirty-five years later to the publication of The Last Druid and a continued love affair of fantasy. From the moment I was captivated by C.S. Lewis’s chronicles of Narnia, I devoured the whole seven books and could have cried when I came to ‘The Last Battle’ and realised it was the final book. You can imagine my joy when by pure chance I came across an old copy of ‘The Hobbit’ in the rather rickety school library. And off I went again devouring the book in a couple of weeks. I instantly fell in love with Bilbo and his Bag End, Hobbiton, the shire and of course Middle-earth.

That one act of kindness from my primary school teacher led me to read English at the University of Leeds. J.R.R. Tolkien taught there in 1926 before leaving for Oxford. On graduating I would take a twenty-year detour away from all things literary

becoming an entrepreneur, private investor, trustee and frustrated amateur physicist! Most recently I built the Write Research Group into the number one talent research business in the UK before it was acquired by Capita Group. I was awarded the Ernst & Young/Coutts Emerging Entrepreneur and then the British Chambers of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year. But my desire to write never really left me.

I grew up on the Holme Wood estate in Bradford in the 1970s. Went to Tong Comprehensive School in the 1980s and then had the most amazing opportunity of reading English at the University of Leeds. I had a great mum who taught me that kindness and love was all that really mattered. I have met some amazing people on the way and as I sit here typing this, I am grateful and humbled by each and every one of them.

THE LAST DRUID – a synopsis

The Ruin has sent its Shadow into the lands of the living to kill the heir of Drudea. The Last Druid must resurrect a long forgotten Fellowship and deliver the first-light in the darkest reaches of the Other Land. Sam Wood is an undergraduate at Cherwell College, Oxford when a stranger turns up with a message.

‘Tell the professors, Samuel, that the Circle is broken and the Shadow moves through the Otherland. Tell them that the Dead Water is lost and the Fall is dying. Tell them that they must seek the help of the Three. You must be wondering whether these words are those of the wise or the mad. On the road ahead you will find out…’

MY VIEW OF FANTASY

GLEN L HALL

Although I love lots of different kind of fantasy books. I’m a big Tolkien, Lewis, Garner, Pullman, Rowling, Lloyd Alexander, Brooks and Tad Williams fan. These are ‘high fantasy’ (though I dislike labels). Book one The Last Druid is ‘low fantasy’ (strange events happen in the real world) so it begins in Oxford and ends up in Northumberland (the last county in England). Book two however, starts as low fantasy but quickly moves into a secondary world and becomes ‘high fantasy’.

I like the idea of ‘lost worlds’ and of course ‘epic fantasy’ and there are certainly elements of both in The Last Druid. But I am particularly fond of secondary worlds that slowly seep into the real world. Where the distinction between good and evil, light and dark is blurred and where the ‘threat’ is always lurking in the background. Shadowy figures moving in the edge-lands of the mind. Whilst in the real world the magic or supernatural elements are subtle until the transition into the secondary world. This way, the suspension of disbelief can be achieved more readily.
In The Last Druid there is a place that separates England and Scotland called the Borders.

It is here that the Mid Land (our world) becomes entangled with the Other Land (a secondary world that blends myth, legend and a little history). Alongside my love of fantasy is my status as a frustrated amateur physicist! I love the tension between classical physics and quantum mechanics. I love the idea of ‘entanglement’ where two things can be connected over long distances, Einstein called it ‘spooky action at distance’. I use this subtly in the book to merge two worlds whilst re-thinking the concept of time. There is a further quantum phenomenon called ‘The Uncertainty Principle’ which I use in the book, but I guess I should let you find out for yourselves how this works.

I’ll be revealing more of the story as we move towards publication in April. There’s plenty to keep the ‘medieval fantasy’ enthusiast involved. There’s the ‘Shadow Ruin’, ‘Grim Witch’, ‘Grim Were’ and the ‘Crow Men’. Not to mention the strange force known as the ‘dark light’. I’ll keep you posted.

THE LAST DRUID – Excerpts

‘What is it?’ Jarl added quickly.

Braden was staring into the depths of the wood. ‘I’ve never in all my days known a day like this,’ he sighed. ‘I never thought I would see the dead rise again.’ Jarl remembered the crow-men jerking back to life and shivered.

‘Where are they now?’ he muttered.

‘Out there somewhere. We have to move on from here. Are you ready?’ Braden turned back to the forest. ‘There’s something in the wood. I can feel it.’

Jarl thought he felt it too – a niggle, an apprehension that was trickling through his mind.The Forest Reivers on the wall were falling silent. A hush descended, broken only by the scrape and clink of weapons being drawn. All eyes were on the black unmoving edge of Birling Wood.

A freezing wind started to blow, a sudden penetrating rawness that took them all by surprise.

‘What menace is this?’ growled Braden as he too drew his sword.

The freezing wind was building. Heavy branches were beginning to tremble, leaves were raining down. Without warning, a rattling black mist hit the wall’s eastern corner, shattering both flesh and stone. Wails filled the air as the Shadow brought its terror down on the Forest Reivers.

Her dark elegance was striking. Her skin was pale, but her hair was like blackest coal and no light could escape from it, and her eyes were darker than the midnight sky. She was naked save for the night that doused her with ink.

‘Why have you come here?’

‘I seek counsel.’ There was silence. Brennus did not know what to expect. He gazed at the dark woman, his mouth dry with apprehension.

‘Then you come too late. We have seen what enters the world of men and you have no answer.’

Again the words flickered in Brennus’s mind. They were edged with melancholy and he had the desire to console, to comfort, to feel and touch. She was both the light in the darkness and the shadow in the light.

‘The pain you feel is only fleeting,’ she said coldly. ‘Mine is for eternity.’

Then she took a step forward and Brennus felt her touch. Warmth flooded through him and the touch of the Shadow was extinguished.

‘We seek a girl from the Mid-land,’ the Faerie said softly. ‘She travels with a boy. Do you know where they are travelling?’

‘The Garden of Druids.’ Brennus found himself unable to stop the words tumbling out.

As soon as they escaped his lips there was a vile laugh that echoed through his being. The woman was stepping back, her laughter ringing through the night. As the pain returned to him and the numbness flooded back into his body, he thought he saw a winged shadow take to the air, but he was sinking to the ground helpless as a wave washed over him and the current drew him back towards the Dead Water.

They came through the waters gasping for breath, memories of the flowing waters of the dead still clinging to their hearts. They were like ghosts themselves, colourless skin and silver hair contrasting sharply with grey eyes. This was a strange company dressed in shifting colours.

Each carried a finely woven bow with a single string that appeared to be cut from glass. On the shores of the Dead Water they did not stop to consider where they had come from or where they were going.

They had come this way before, and their forefathers before them.

In the dying night they too passed into the world of the living.

As they vanished into the trees, their coming signalled the end of the beginning.

The hair on the back of his neck rose suddenly- he found himself crouching down-almost sightless in the night. There was just the tiniest of splashes that sounded nothing like trout breaking the river’s still surface. He could hear the noises stretching off into the distance which could never have prepared him for the alarm surging through his body. He started walking slowly backwards from the wooden jetty reaching behind him and sliding two long knives from their sheathes fastened tightly to his body. There were white ripples out in the darkness of the river- a slight movement on the far bank- dropping from the edge of the knotted wood with its trees and roots drinking from the river’s mirky waters.

The first bent and twisted shapes feathered and black lurched, stumbling out onto the river bank it was all Eagan could do not to be sick. He was hit with the bitter realisation that he was out of his depth. The Crow Men were silent and unnatural as they hauled themselves out of the water. Even in the night he could see their wicked beaks and crazed eyes. He could smell their poison even from this distance a foul and fetid reek that spoke of things to come. The lines of
misshapen forms some naked and others wrapped in the rags of their victims went quiet and then a figure stepped out from their line blooded and torn. Eagan was already weak from the dread that was draining his courage limb by limb.

The figure edged forward and his wounded father staggered out of the kawing throng. The sickness in his stomach nearly swept him aside his long knives suddenly limp in his nerveless fingers.

The storm sent its feral winds across the bridge and there seemed a wildness raging through the ridges, unnatural and full of anger. He thought he heard the wind calling to him as it swirled around him but he stood resolute before the monstrosity that had reached the bridge.

It was an unutterable other that had no place in the world of the living- a black mist– a sea of roiling despair and hopelessness. The raging tempest was broken by a noise that could have once been a voice, a rasping noise grinding out long forgotten words. Again it called to him, his body rigid with fear, out of the crowing noise he recognised one word, a word that was being repeated over and over again.

‘Drudea’.

The man finally understood what the voice was trying to tell him. It was calling him out in a language that he could only just remember. It wanted him to know that he was defeated and with death would lay to rest his kind for eternity. One long final defeat would be sealed and the fall of the Druids complete.

It came without warning, rising from the cold black waters, a dark resonance of lightless silk.

To the north the giant ridged spine of the borderland broke in great waves against the threatening Cheviot night, whilst to the south the ancient lands of Northumberland gave way to wild woods and fast-flowing rivers moving east to the sea.

Surfacing from the Dead Water, the darkness coalesced into a solitary shade, the last light of the Fall still dancing around its pitch-black form.

Across the vast barren waters, a tortuous wail bled its anguish into the dark night and out through the fells and burns of the wilderness.

The murmuring voices of the dead called its name, but quickly faded as the light turned to darkness and the Shadow was again amongst the living.

THE LANDSCAPE

The book takes place in three places. Oxford, Gosforth and Northumberland. These are perhaps three of my favourite places. Let me try and tell you why.

OXFORD

My love of Oxford started with reading Humphrey Carpenter’s biography of the Inklings. In particular I was fascinated by Addison Walk. This is a special place in the grounds of Magdalen College. The very place that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien use to go for evening strolls, passed the deer park, across a little bridge where you eventually come to the Fellow’s Garden. It is a place I try and visit once a year with friends who enjoy it as much as me. I cannot recommend it enough, if you ever get chance go and enjoy its tree-lined path and listen to the gentle flow of the Cherwell.

GOSFORTH

Although I am originally from Bradford, Newcastle and Gosforth have been my home for over sixteen years. Gosforth is only a stones’ throw from Newcastle’s city centre but sometimes feels like it sits in the edgeland between town and country. Some think the name comes from the Old English Gosaford, meaning “a ford where the geese dwell” having been first recorded as Goseford in 1166. It reminds a little of Oxford, every street leads to a Church or a quaint field. My favourite has to be Elgy Green where I have spent many a happy day kicking the ball with my son.

NORTHUMBERLAND

I always wanted to write about Northumberland, its people, landscape, history and mythology and I eventually fulfilled this ambition through The Last Druid. Northumberland has more castles

than any other county, including those of Alnwick, Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Warkworth.

The Last Druid takes place across what is known as the Northumberland Coastal route. For me, it begins at Warkworth with its castle sat atop its hill like a sleeping dragon. If you take the north road you quickly find yourself in Alnmouth – literally the mouth of the Aln. A place to find sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle. Next is Howick, Craster with its threatening views of Dusntanburgh Castle straight from a fairy tale. You quickly move through Beadnell, Seahouses until you reach Bamburgh. I cannot easily describe the feeling that emanates the moment you see Bamburgh Castle on its rocky perch. A remarkable seen and one that plays an important part in the book. You move through Bamburgh and out towards Budle Bay until you eventually arrive at Holy Island.

NEWS

Planet Radio

Author Glen L. Hall is supporting Cash for Kids with his first young adult novel, The Fall: Book One of the Last Druid Trilogy.

The Last Druid is the first book in a brand new Young Adult trilogy, profits from which are coming entirely to Cash for Kids while sponsorship of the book will enable schools to receive copies for free.

First News

An author is giving all the profi from his new book to charity. Glen Hall’s novel, called The Fall, is book one in a young adult fantasy trilogy. Money raised from sales of the book will go to local charities in the Northeast. Thanks to sponsorship, more than 100,000 copies of the novel will be donated to schools and libraries in the area.

There is nowhere quite like Northumberland…

We chatted with businessman and author Glen Hall about his love of his adopted home, Northumberland, and how it inspired his new book The Last Druid.

One book can change a life…

The Telegraph and Argus

A SUCCESSFUL businessman-turned author who grew up on a Bradford estate has written a hotly-anticipated book in aid of children’s charities.

Glen Hall, who was raised by his single mum on Holme Wood, will donate money raised from the sales of fantasy series The Last Druid.

G L HALL FOUNDATION

The initial idea for the foundation came from my trilogy The Last Druid supporting JK Rowling’s charity Lumos wearelumos.org.

I grew up on the Holme Wood estate in Bradford in the 1970s, I have seen first-hand the detrimental effects of poverty and deprivation on children’s childhood. I was lucky enough to have a mum who taught me that kindness and love was all that really mattered and which could make a real difference.

My love affair with books started with my primary school teacher, Mrs Flather, who gave me a copy of Prince Caspian when I was seven leading years later to the publication of The Last Druid and a continued love affair with literature. I have come to realise just how powerful acts of kindness can be and what effect they can have on an individual. I wanted therefore to combine my passion for business with my passion for all things literary. The Last Druid is a five year project that attempts to give something of me back to you and all those children who are at risk of never having a family or the fortune of a loving childhood that every child deserves.

All royalties from The Last Druid will go to G L Hall foundation. We are currently looking to partner with further charities in 2017.

Charities that we have supported so far.

Toma Fund: http://www.tomafund.org/
Children’s Heart Unit Foundtion: http://chuf.org.uk/
Redhouse Farm FC http://redhousefarmjfc.co.uk/

Please click here to find out more.

david-hallimton David Hamilton PhD – Trustee

David has a first class honors degree in chemistry, and also written several books covering science through to spirituality. He has been featured in many publications and newspapers and is an accomplished speaker on a wide range of topics.

To find out more about David, please click here.

It moved through the chilling waters where even the grasping fingers of the fallen could not touch it, towards an unseen shore.

CONTACT GLEN

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Please email me here: hello@thelastdruid.co.uk

The Last Druid February 27, 2016