Bringing to life times, places, and the people who live in them
The Glastonbury Grail series
An ancient olivewood drinking bowl reveals the power and glory of God amidst the religious and cultural upheaval of sixteenth century Britain and beyond.
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Glastonbury Grail Book 1: Glastonbury Tor
A finalist for both the prestigious Christy Award for inspirational fiction and Foreword Magazine's 2006 Book of the Year, Glastonbury Tor has been praised for its historical authenticity, graceful prose, and lack of polemics.
Pictures in and around Glastonbury, Meare and Wells
I am a coward.
Were I not, I would have died this morning on the Tor with the others, but I fled and hid. The Abbot told me I should be gone to Wales by now, but I hadn’t even the courage for that. My father spoke truer than he knew. He said I would never amount to anything as a monk, and he was right.
I close my eyes and mutter the prayers of protection for the dying.
. . . From the ancient enemy: free and defend their souls, O Lord. . . .
Across the moors three gallows loom atop the Tor. Three bodies swing in the cold November dawn. I draw my cloak about me. The bundle that is my treasure presses against my side, safely wrapped in the wool of my old habit. I try again to pray, but it is the warm baritone of the priest in my old parish in Wales, that fills my mind. More than a year has passed since he chanted those prayers for my mother. The pain still runs deep, and it is for her that I weep.
The ancient olivewood drinking bowl that young Colin finds in the treasury of Glastonbury Abbey, was disregarded as worthless wood by King Henry VIII’s men when they inventoried the abbey’s treasures. But Father Dunstan, the tortured prior who preaches forgiveness, treasures it. Father Bede, as demanding as the hated father from whom Colin has fled, covets it. Abbot Whiting finds in it the courage to face his enemy, even as monasteries are being dismantled all over sixteenth century England. Will Colin find the personal faith and sense of worth he seeks? Can he ever forgive his father... or himself?
What readers are saying about Glastonbury Tor:
.. a gripping coming of age story and a beautiful retelling of the history and legends of the Holiest Earth in England.
--Donna Fletcher Crow, author of Glastonbury: the Novel of Christian England
Writing of this quality is a rare find, and though difficult to put down, it also left me feeling very content. --Lori Fox
A compelling story of forgiveness with the mystique of Glastonbury and the very real grace of God.
--Carolyn R. Scheidies , Author's Choice Reviews
Glastonbury Tor weaves together the rich history and legend surrounding the church in the turbulent times of Henry VIII..., showing the same turbulence in the hearts and minds of individuals, wrestling with conflicting desires for power versus humility, or revenge versus forgiveness.
--E. M. Legg
Glastonbury Grail Book 2: Honddu Vale
The valley where I had been born twisted below me, a green serpent resting between the bracken-covered slopes of the Black Mountains. A thin trail of smoke rose from the stone chimney of my father’s manor of Cewi Glen. It carried a few bright orange sparks that the rain quickly extinguished.
“Seventy times seven,” a child’s voice spoke in my memory, reminding me why I had come. Forgive, the Bible commanded. Not seven times, but seventy times seven.
“I can’t,” I whispered, though there was none to hear.
I felt in the breast of my tunic for the cup wrapped in old wool. It was there. Safe. I clutched it and murmured a quiet prayer for strength. Slowly my breathing steadied, and I knew what I must do.
Colin Hay returns home to Wales to reconcile with the father he blames for his mother’s death. But he finds Sir Stephen in the arms of a bewitching young woman with designs on more than a place in Sir Stephen’s bed. Belle covets the ancient olivewood drinking bowl that Colin brought with him when the abbey at Glastonbury was closed by King Henry VIII. Yet the cup, which once showed such supernatural power that some whispered it was the Holy Grail, now lies cold and empty in Colin’s hands. Were the glorious promises of God’s presence nothing more than a dream?
Take this virtual tour of the setting used in Honddu Vale
What readers are saying about Honddu Vale:
... history and legend combine in a powerful tale of greed, injustice and avarice surmounted by the triumph of forgiveness, grace and love. And in the center of it all— The Holy Grail.
--Donna Fletcher Crow, author of Glastonbury and The Monastery Murders
Hardy has crafted another great historical novel ... [with] twists, turns, and revelations that keep you reading to the very end. This is a wonderful novel of forgiveness and redemption.
--Joan Niehuis, Reviews from an Avid Reader
I liked the idea of having a silent God verses a more active God, like the first book, Glastonbury Tor. Sometimes God is silent and, like Colin, we need to learn to be patient during that time.
--Rani Grant, Indoor Garden Musings
a page-turner…. I am so glad the author provides a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book since Welsh can be a difficult language to work with ... Yet, Hardy lends great authenticity in keeping names, places and other terms in the ancient tongue of Colin’s people. So, let your tongue be loosened and read on.
--Kevin Sorenson, Random Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind
Glastonbury Grail Book 3: Black Mountain
Many of the same settings are used as in Honddu Vale.
I reached a long thin arm to grasp the cup. My fingers tingled, but I gripped the harder. I would not let it go. I would have it. I would master it. I would possess this thing of power I had pulled from the ruins of an English manor house—a loathsome heap of stones that defiled the lands my Welsh ancestors had once ruled. I would use it for my own ends.
Ol’ Teg o’ the Hills, the witch who lives on Black Mountain, has the ancient olivewood cup that Colin Hay brought from Glastonbury Abbey when it was closed by King Henry VIII. Forced to flee her mountain retreat by the spiritual powers she has served all her life, Teg travels to Glastonbury and far beyond to learn more of this thing of power she pulled from the ashes of the fire that killed her daughter. Along the way she meets Colin’s fiancée Alice Thatcher, a group of people willing to risk their lives to read the words of a God she despises, and the Lord of the cup—the only One who can satisfy the thirst of her heart. But can she ever truly be free of her past?
“You’re only a peasant masquerading as a lady,” the vindictive priest of Alice’s old parish tells her when she marries Colin Hay and moves to Honddu Vale. Alice misses her friend “Goody Tegwyn.” She tries to live up to all that is expected of a lady, supporting Colin as he struggles under his father’s debts, and following all her friend Catherine Price’s instructions on manners. But her womb is cursed, and she can’t perform even the most basic duty of a wife—give Colin a child. How far will Alice go to be a mother? When Goody Tegwyn returns to Honddu Vale, can Alice save her from her enemies?
What readers are saying about Black Mountain:
Black Mountain concludes LeAnne Hardy’s Glastonbury Grail series with a powerful pilgrimage, both physical and spiritual. Magic and faith, myth and eternal truth intermingle in this novel of the Holy Grail. With the beauty of an epic poem, it presents an allegory of the grace of God.
--Donna Fletcher Crow, author of Glastonbury; The Novel of Christian England
What a great representation of the life transforming nature of the gospel.
--Joan Nienhuis, Book Reviews from an Avid Reader
Black Mountain is a fascinating read that brings historic Wales and her people to life... Unlike the fun of a modern Renaissance Fair, this was a dangerous time to believe differently than those in power.
--Patricia Gilkerson, author of The Horse Rescuers Series
...excellent research of sixteenth-century England that is both accurate and readable, but what kept me turning the pages was her prose, executed with such beauty and grit that this story of redemption will fuse in my heart and memory for a long while.