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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Dolan Cummings’ The Pictish Princess takes readers back centuries with a tale bursting with characters who speak languages we have lost or forgotten, before there was a Scotland.
The Pictish Princess
For readers who hold Scotland in a special place in their hearts, and all those who love historical and fantasy fiction, The Pictish Princess… And Other Stories From Before There Was A Scotland by Dolan Cummings is a impressive launch pad for his forthcoming The Mists of Eld series.
The Pictish Princess brings together characters from four nations united by a thousand stories and a single faith (just about), that later became Scotland, Picts, Gaels, Britons and Northumbrians, and palpably evokes times when life was lived on a permanent knife edge, and could be taken at any time.
In this land a girl could dream, but monks, mercenaries and mothers could also dream, and dreams can be dangerous. They lead to lost babies, twins torn apart, fatefully mistaken identities, and unchosen transformations.
This compelling mythological Dark Age tale reconnects readers with much that has been lost in the archives of time. Over the course of twenty years, a handful of dreamers from all four nations cross paths, culminating in a series of revelations, confrontations and reconciliations. There are battles, sieges and political intrigue as well as love lost, love found, betrothal, betrayal and – perhaps – a kind of magic.
Featuring legends, saints’ lives and a good dose of imaginative speculation, Dolan Cummings also remains truer to historical fact than many other recent fantasy fiction bestsellers, and delivers a novel that is best described as a story made of stories.
With almost every bestselling fantasy book in the last twenty years forming part of a trilogy or more, the literary future is looking bright for Dolan Cummings and his plans to reconnect readers with all that has gone before as The Pictish Princess is the first book in his upcoming Mists of Eld series.
Historians tend to disapprove of the term ‘Dark Ages’, a fact that does not reflect well on their profession. Yes, it’s wrong to associate those centuries with nothing but barbarism and ignorance. For some of us, though, the term ‘Dark Ages’ evokes something else entirely. It stirs something deep within us. A thirst to know what is unknowable. A fascination with what has been lost. A yearning for romance. It is in this spirit that I began writing the Mists of Eld.
In these stories they speak languages we have lost, forgotten or altered beyond recognition. They live in the shadow of death – from war, want, a simple infected wound or the very act of producing a new life – in a way we find hard to imagine. Their world is dominated by a religion we think we know, but perhaps we do not.
The Pictish Princess… And Other Stories From Before There Was A Scotland is the first in a projected series from author Dolan Cummings, the Mists of Eld. His previous novels are Gehenna: a novel of Hell and Earth (2020) and That Existential Leap: a crime story (2017).
Originally from Glasgow and now living in Cumbria, Dolan works as a freelance copywriter and speechwriter. Previously he edited two collections of essays: The Changing Role of the Public Intellectual (2005) and Debating Humanism (2006). He also writes on social and political themes.
Find more from Dolan Cummings now:
A selection of his essays and other writing can be found at dolancummings.com.
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