Book name: The Moon of Gomrath
Author: Alan Garner
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Print, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Fantasy, vintage children’s books
Publication Date: 1983
Star Rating: 5/5
The Moon of Gomrath is the second book in the 'Tales of Alderley' series of children’s fantasy novels.
When The Moon of Gomrath begins, siblings Colin and Susan are still staying with Farmer Mossock and his wife Beth in Alderley Edge.
Susan has obtained a powerful bracelet, the Mark of Fohla, given to her by Angharad Goldenhand.
She is approached by Atlendor, the elf lord, who asks to take the bracelet as part of his quest to gather together as much magic as possible to protect the elves.
However, Colin and Susan are reticent about allowing the bracelet to be taken away. Their mentor Cadellin Silverbrow has spoken against doing so.
With Cadellin away attending to other matters, Susan and Colin must do the best they can by themselves.
Susan offers to accompany her bracelet, but this is rejected. Eventually, she allows the dwarf Uthecar Hornskin to take the Mark of Fohla to Atlendor.
Meanwhile, Colin and Susan are worried about what has happened to their old foe, the Morrigan. Where is the witch queen and what is she up to?
Cadellin returns with news of the Morrigan. The witch queen is currently in the north, using shapeshifting to protect herself. Cadellin suggests that she may not come south for a while.
Susan escapes from the tension at the farmhouse for a few hours, only to be tricked by a black pony that persuades her to ride it. The beast leaps into a flooded quarry, taking Susan with it.
When Susan returns, she is an empty shell of herself. The Mossocks and Colin are at a loss as to how to recover the true Susan.
Fortunately, one of their group (Albanac, a man) returns and his magic is able to counter the Morrigan’s evil. He is also able to suggest a medicinal plant that may be able to help.
As their quest develops, Colin and Susan face further danger with the return of the Morrigan.
The Moon of Gomrath draws upon many different Celtic and other ancient legends, placing them within the unique location of Alderley Edge in Cheshire that provided the backdrop for the prequel.
As with all the books in this much-loved series, the farmland and woods of Alderley Edge are a character in their own right. I loved the vivid but often ridiculous names, such as Highmost Redmanhey, that gave a lightness to the otherwise serious peril that Colin and Susan face. It needed it.
The story was tightly told and led on nicely to the next book in the series. I enjoyed it very much.
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