Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Silver Hand

The second book in the Song of Albion trilogy by Stephen Lawhead is The Silver Hand. At the end of the first book, The Paradise War, the noble and revered king of the ancient Celtic land of Prydain was murdered just as his people were celebrating a great victory over the forces of darkness. Our two modern-day students, Lewis Gillies and Simon Rawnson, have followed very different paths after finding their way through the cairn that linked the two worlds together. Lewis has followed the path of righteousness and light, while Simon has embraced treachery and darkness. In a sense, this battle of the forces of good and evil and the divide between the two worlds are the main threads that bind this wonderful tale together.

Prince Meldron, who has fallen under the spell of Simon as his main advisor, has slowly and methodically wrested power and sovereignty that did not belong to him. He has raped the land and the people in his quest to take over all of Albion. The shine of the once beautiful jewel of the Otherworld has been sullied beyond measure by this greedy, power-hungry dog and his blood-thirsty, vile war band.

Lewis was named king of Prydain by the chief bard Tegid just after the king was murdered. However, Celtic tradition mandates that the king must be without defect to rule the land. In an attempt to take what is not his, Prince Meldron cuts off Lewis's hand. He also takes Tegid's eyesight with a flash of his sword. He then sets Lewis and Tegid adrift on the open seas in a small boat. Yet our heroes somehow survive and begin to unite the decimated peoples of the land. Slowly they build up their company and their holdings, all in accord with an ancient prophesy. The story ends with Meldron's deserved destruction. Simon's demise also seems complete. Yet the story is not over as the rift between the Otherworld realm and our world has not been understood. There is grave danger ahead. Now onto the last book in the trilogy, The Endless Knot.