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The Blood of the Martyrs

Introduced by Donald Smith.Set in Rome during Nero's reign of terror, The Blood of the Martyrs is a disciplined historical novel tracing the destruction of one cell of the early church. With a cast of slaves, ordinary Roman people, exiles and entertainers, it is thorough in its historical interpretation and in its determination to make the past accessible and readable.Written in 1938-9, the novel contains many symbolic parallels to the rise of European fascism in the 1930s and the desperate plight of persecuted minorities such as the Jews and the left-wing activists with whom Naomi Mitchison personally campaigned at the time. With the invasion of Britain a real possibility, she felt compelled to write a testament to the power of human solidarity which, even faced with death, can overcome the worst that human evil can achieve.The Blood of the Martyrs is the least autobiographical of Mitchison's major works of fiction, yet, with its implicit credo, is her most...
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The Corn King and the Spring Queen

Introduced by Naomi Mitchison.Set over two thousand years ago on the clam and fertile shores of the Black Sea, Naomi Mitchison's The Corn King and the Spring Queen tells of ancient civilisations where tenderness, beauty and love vie with brutality and dark magic.Erif Der, a young witch, is compelled by her father to marry his powerful rival, Tarrik the Corn King, so becoming the Spring Queen. Forced by her father, she uses her magic spells to try and break Tarrik's power.But one night Tarrik rescues Sphaeros, an Hellenic philosopher, from a shipwreck. Sphaeros in turn rescues Tarrik from near death and so breaks the enchantment that has bound him. And so begins for Tarrik a Quest – a fabulous voyage of discovery which will bring him new knowledge and which will reunite him with his beautiful Spring Queen.'This breathtaking recreation of life in the ancient world welds the power of myth and magic to a stirring plot.' Ian Rankin
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Travel Light

"Travel Light is the story of Halla, a girl born to a king but cast out onto the hills to die. She lives among bears; she lives among dragons. But the time of dragons is passing, and Odin All-Father offers Halla a choice: Will she stay dragonish and hoard wealth and possessions, or will she travel light?"—Amal El-Mohtar, NPR, You Must Read ThisFrom the dark ages to modern times, from the dragons of medieval forests to Constantinople, this is a fantastic and philosophical fairy-tale journey that will appeal to fans of Harry Potter, Diana Wynne Jones, and T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone."No one knows better how to spin a fairy tale than Naomi Mitchison."—The Observer"Read it now."—Ursula K. Le Guin"You will love this book."—Holly Black"The enchantments of Travel Light contain more truth, more straight talking, a grittier, harder-edged view of the world than any of the mundane descriptions of daily life you...
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