BEAUTY AND THE BRATS: A Gwion Dubh, Druid Investigator, Mystery

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Author: Penny Billington

Publisher: Appleseed Press

ISBN Number: 978-0-9548572-3-3

Publication Date: December 2008

Reviewed by: Lucy Cole


Review submitted by Pat Mead to Lucy Cole

Oh yes!   Gwion Dubh rides again.   What?   You missed his first adventures?   Ah, take cover, lest the sky fall on you.

This is one cool Druid investigator.   Robe, shades, ogham sticks, and of course a vast store of esoteric knowledge and experience.   After his previous brush with a rampant faery king and a starving wildlife population, followed by an epic battle in the far distant past to preserve the forest, Gwion is once more on the road at the bidding of The Big Boss (think pipe music, hairy legs and horns.)   Accompanied by Hugo, a raven-with-attitude, he discovers his mission lies in the Wirral, unfamiliar turf to our hero.   There he finds a bunch of Viking re-enactors, who very much walk their talk in everyday life (well, with the exception of the burning, pillaging and whatever).   The group is in disarray because one of their members has been magically enslaved.   Another victim of the dastardly plot is a fair – and feisty – maiden who, Gwion eventually realises, represents the very land itself.

So, not only do we get lots of Celtic and Druidic stuff, we also get interesting insights into the Northern Tradition.   Gwion admits it’s a steep learning curve for him, but he is far from daunted.   In fact, with admirable pragmatism, he starts his quest at the public library.   Before long he is embroiled in abduction, pursuit, rune magic, herb healing, gods, goddesses, archetypes, and a whole heap of other exciting stuff, climaxing in the appearance of the Wild Hunt and Woden himself as the story comes to a crashing conclusion.

The Gwion Dubh books are a great read.   Gwion is a well-rounded character, adept at both natural philosophy and wisecracks, immensely learned from all his years at Druid college, but modest and self-deprecating despite his powers and abilities.   An excellent guy to have on your side when there’s a psychic or spiritual mess to clean up.   And the stories themselves are fun – simple page-turning fun.   Bring out the next adventure immediately (hey, I’m just passing on an order from The Big Boss…)

Druid Investigator, Gwion Dubh, Penny Billington,