The Grail Hunter          (Buy it Now link)                        

For those of you who like reading novels and who would also like a nice & easy introduction to some of the research I have been doing, this may be something you will enjoy. I myself had much fun writing it, so much so, that I have started on a sequel. Below is a short synopsis and the first few pages to give you some idea of what reading it will be like. 

"Searching for purpose and love in her life, Rowena Colleen

becomes entwined within a 900 year old quest for the Grail."

 

This is a brief synopsis of the novel. 

“Sick of being continually embarrassed by her flirtatious boyfriend, fed up with the tediousness of her work and the lack of career opportunities, Rowena Colleen reaches breaking point and storms out of her current life. Taking the midnight ferry to France, her escapism turns into an opportunity for adventure and exploration. As she travels into the deep southern regions of the French Pyrenees, she finds and meets characters who show her how to survive in an ever changing World that is almost totally new to her. It is not long before she comes across, and becomes strangely interested in, the 13th Century Cathars and their way of life. This leaves her to understand that she needs to confront the reality she left back in England. Once there she is hit by a staggering piece of synchronicity. She then realises that she may have to use up the last of her money to explore this further in order to find her own unique role in life. However this means going back to France on what seems like a wild goose chase.

Her research leads her to an almost unknown Knights Templar site in Southern France and an old cave system. What she sees inside the Templar chapel are even stranger esoteric secrets on the walls and ceiling than those found at Rosslyn chapel in Scotland. What follows takes her deeper into new ways of thinking and past secret society lore which more and more people seem to want to know about.

With trips to Paris, Chartres, Rennes le Chateau and other sacred sites, her scientific background helps her uncover the real truth behind the Holy Grail. This turns out to be something that the Roman church in the 14th century appears to have been trying to suppress. Of the many characters she meets, she becomes attracted to a young Frenchman called Bernard. Although good looking, he has never been able to feel love. When she finally learns the reason, she resolves to try and help him overcome the dark issues haunting his past.

Having been incentivised to complete the challenge that the synchronicity has led her to, she finds herself tested in ways she could never have expected. Only by following the rules she has learnt from the Grail stories in books lent to her by her uncle can she find her true path again. The liberation she then experiences leads her to move along with an amazing flow of energy. This begins to help her understand what excites her most and what she really wants to do in her life.

But before she can do that her journey draws her towards ancient city in the South of Spain. It is a place that has Archaeologists really puzzled. Only she now understands how the geological forces coming from the Earth’s core could have drawn the pilgrims to have travelled there from over 2000 miles away over 4000 years ago. Curiously this same knowledge allows her to now see a way forward to a possible future with Bernard.”

Buy it now - information

The Grail Hunter book is 394 pages long and is available direct via the online printer for £14.95 +p&p

click here - to buy it now

It will soon be available on Amazon.

If anyone would like to send me your review of the book that I could post on the website, that would be greatly appreciated. 

 

The following is the first few pages of the novel:-

Chapter 1

Escape

I stood there and just watched him.

Laughing and flirting with that same damn blonde from last week. She was all over him again flashing her false eyelashes and sticking her chest out in that ridiculously low cut blouse.

I couldn’t believe it. After having told him last week how embarrassing it was, he was at it again.

It was the end of the week, we were in the local pub and it was packed just like every Friday night. I half wanted to walk up to them both and confront them but I was sick of it. I was tired, I hated my job, I didn’t really like the place and I didn’t even feel like drinking any more. It was at that moment I realised I didn’t really like him anymore either. I was bored and I just didn’t care enough to keep, whatever we had, going any longer.

That was it. I’m out of here.

The cold air outside and the silence made a pleasant change but I was now seething inside. I’d wasted nearly two years of my life with him based on nothing more than worthless promises. We’d get married, get a house, have kids, all when the time was right. It was never right though. I got into my Mini and buckled up.

I reached to switch on the CD player but remembered what I’d been playing when I’d arrived. Not now Timberlake. Time for Queen.

This was better. I turned up the volume until I couldn’t hear myself think and drove off. In my rear view mirror I noticed John bursting out of the pub waving his arms at me. Good. I felt better already.

A road sign jolted me back to my thoughts and, realising my speed, I slowed down. The phone was flashing. It was John. If I answered it now, I’d probably only say something I’d regret later. This wasn’t just about him. My life was going nowhere and I couldn’t see any possibility of things changing.

I’d spent three years doing a degree and had even tried starting a PhD. Unfortunately all of that had nothing to do with my current job which was meaningless and unfulfilling.

I missed my Dad. It was always good to talk to him. I soon found myself outside the block of flats where John and I lived. One small bedroom and a kitchen living room - all for a ridiculous amount of rent. I hated it and I hated myself for accepting it for so long. That’s it. I’m out of here too. I rushed upstairs, grabbed my suitcase and started stuffing it full of clothes.

The phone rang again. I left it ringing and went into the bathroom to collect my creams and stuff. Ping. He’d left a message. I’d have to come back for the rest. This was as much as I could do tonight. I struggled down the stairs. It had all taken less than ten minutes. A new record for me - by far. I threw the case and bags onto the back seat and stopped for a moment. I’d forgotten something but was not quite sure what.  

Passport. Wow. I ran back up wondering where that thought had suddenly come from. It must be some kind of sign.

I checked my petrol gauge. Three quarters full. Good. It was only 9.20pm, I could still make the midnight ferry from Portsmouth. I’d ring my Uncle in the morning. He’d understand. I’ll listen to John’s message later.

 

“Crikey. What am I doing?” I said out loud as I drove past the Ferry sign. “I’m way too young for a mid-life crisis.”

There were places on the night ferry to Le Havre. I booked a cabin not wanting to try and sleep on a seat after a night like this. I’d not been to France since my Dad took me when I was thirteen. I wondered what he would be saying to me now. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well if he was right, this was all going to be a terrible mistake.

 

Off to France

I made my way to the top deck to look back at the lights of Portsmouth harbour. It was my father’s habit. He said it gave you the necessary mindset that you needed as a traveller. As I breathed in the cold night air, I shivered and looked down at my watch. 12.25pm. Three hours ago I’d been in the pub watching all the flirting going on. It was not just John’s fault of course, he just couldn’t stop himself.

It wasn’t for me anymore though. I’d asked him several times to stop. He’d agreed but I could see now that he’d never change. We just weren’t right for each other. I should have seen it earlier but I’d mistakenly thought that I’d be able to make a difference.

 I checked my messages. One from John, three from Katy. I opened hers first.

‘What’s up Ro?’

‘U OK?’

‘Call me tmrw if you want?’

I texted her back. ‘All OK. On Ferry to France. Will call soon.’

‘What!’ She texted back almost immediately.

‘Had enough. Will chat tmrw.’ Katy understood more than my other friends. We did yoga together and she was going out with Steve who was also one of John’s friends. I didn’t want to say too much now as I wanted to deal with John first. I took a deep breath and played his message.

‘What’s up Ro? Why did you run off like that? Call me.’

‘Typical’ I thought. ‘He doesn’t even know what he did wrong. He’s probably still out having fun. I wondered if the blonde was still with him. What was strange in thinking that was that I realised I wasn’t angry any more. ‘Wow. That’s was quick’. It really was time for me to move on. ‘She could have him’.

I loved ferries. The low hum of the engines….the slow rolling from side to side was all, somehow, soothing and comforting. It smelled of adventure too. Dad had taken me to Ireland and Norway on the Ferry after Mum had left. Always somewhere new he would say. Never go back. There was so much more to see and experience.

I hadn’t been on holiday for years. Not since well before he died two years ago. Things had been tough for him. The divorce meant he’d had to re-mortgage the house to the maximum. She’d left to go abroad with an American and neither of us had seen her since. I got the occasional Christmas card at first but after a couple of years they’d stopped coming.

After funeral costs and paying off all the credit cards there was only a few thousand left in the Estate. Not much for a life working as a consultant in the mining industry. The little money I’d been left was sitting in a bank account. I’d been waiting to use it for a deposit on a house but I didn’t know how on Earth that was going to be possible. I’d need an income of over £50,000 just to be able to get a mortgage on a tiny starter property. I was sick of it all. The whole thing was just stupid. Save all my life for little more than a hut. It would mean being saddled with a huge debt for 30 years as well as trying to pay off my student loan debt. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. There must be an alternative way.

I sat alone in the cafeteria drinking a laté fiddling with my phone. I needed to send John a message and it couldn’t wait any longer if I was going to get any sleep later. I’d deleted three already without finishing any of them. I tried again.

‘John. I’m totally stressed out with everything – you included and you know what I am talking about with regards to tonight. I’m taking a few days off to think about what I want to do in my life. Sorry. You are not going to like this but we have given it two years and it’s just not working for me. I’ll pick up the rest of my things when I get back. Goodbye and I wish you all the very best. No point calling. I’ve made up my mind.’

Dad would have been proud of me with that. He always said I should wish the best for other people. How he’d managed it with Mum I just don’t know but he never had a bad word said about her after she’d gone.

I switched to another social media page and scrolled down. A new post from an old university friend caught my eye. It was Pierre. He was now in a new relationship with Brian. They had moved in together down in some place called Tarascon in the South of France.

I hadn’t seen Pierre for a couple of years but we had kept in touch every month or two. We had both done Geology degrees at London Uni. My Dad had tried to talk me out of it but I guess it was in the genes.

My mind continued to wander through past memories. I’d tried starting a PhD up in Edinburgh after leaving London. It was fun and interesting but financially impossible for me. Even if I’d used all of Dad’s money, it wouldn’t have got me to the end of another three year course. There was also no promise of any job at the end of it too.

I’d met John a couple of years ago at a party in London just before my Dad died. He’d helped me through a difficult time and I’ll always be grateful to him for that. He’d understood my need to try and do the PhD and had even helped me with the move up to Scotland.

Unfortunately the bills were just too much for me I had to leave. John had suggested I come back South, move in with him and take a local job until I could find work that was more suited to my qualifications. With that thought I managed to snap myself out of going down memory lane. Instead I returned to thinking about Pierre. I knew he would love it if I dropped by to see him but Toulouse was quite a long way to the South. Another of Dad’s sayings came to me. ‘Best sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning’. It had always seemed to make sense though I never really understood why or even how it might work.

As I dropped off to sleep my thoughts were more positive. I was now imagining what the next few days would bring. Somehow I now felt I had much more chance of finding what I was really meant to be doing in life.

 

Having driven off the ferry, I sat in two lines of traffic waiting to drive through passport control in Le Havre. It was a sunny day and that made me smile. Something I felt I hadn’t done in ages.

I drove tentatively on the right hand side of the road through the town. My first time. A giant blue Decathlon store on my right caught my eye. I would have been in there like a flash before. There would be loads of new and different sports equipment as well as gym and yoga outfits in there. However it just didn’t seem important right now. I carried on and was soon heading South on the A28 to a city called Le Mans.

 

Le Mans

Large open, flat, yellow fields of wheat stretched out on both sides of me as the long dual carriageway slowly curved its way in a South Westerly direction.

I reached Le Mans by lunchtime so I pulled off the road and headed into the town just to have a break. I was starving but still smiling. I hadn’t stopped since the passport office. I was now sitting in the central square in a café called ‘Le Jet d’Eau’. It was opposite a colossal Cathedral. ‘How on Earth did they manage to build that so long ago?’ I wondered. ‘We probably couldn’t even build one like that today.’ I thought a moment later. 

My eyes were slowly drawn to the flying buttresses that supported its great height and weight. There were lots of extra spiky bits on top of them which gave the building a sort of prickly, bug-like look. Not exactly something that was very inviting but perhaps its design was like that for a reason – to keep evil away.

Black French coffee. Goodness what on Earth were we putting up with back in the UK. This was heaven. The tiredness from driving drained away with every sip. There were a few people sitting outside in the Sun like me. One or two seemed to be tourists. The season must have just started.

A young Frenchman smiled at me. Still happy I smiled back but quickly stopped and looked away just in case he got the wrong idea. Good, he was still in his seat and back reading his paper again.

 

Having finished the coffee, I got up to go to the till. There were bananas in a basket next to it. Hunger pangs in my stomach now grabbed my attention and I picked one up. It was then that I realised I had no cash on me. I had to pay for that and the coffee with a card. ‘Failure to plan’. I put the banana in my bag and ambled slowly across the square to the Cathedral. I was here now. I might as well have a look inside.

I never liked churches. There was always something depressing about them which got worse whenever people tried to sing in them. Stepping inside an old tall Cathedral though, that was different. There is something about the height that I loved and the blue and red light that streamed in from the stained glass windows. This one certainly didn’t disappoint in that respect. Modern cathedrals just didn’t seem to give out an authentic feeling that the really old ones did. There was almost a lightheaded spacious sensation sometimes when you walk past the ancient stones.

I walked slowly down the aisle in the middle, conscious of the noise my favourite boots were making with every step I took. My neck arched back more and more as I looked up at the ceiling.

I stopped suddenly though, becoming aware of a man standing right in front of me. He too was looking upwards with his back to me. He hadn’t noticed me behind him. I looked at his short black slightly curly hair and could smell some kind of sweet musky aftershave. Then, unexpectedly, he took a step back, treading on my foot.

He spun around in quite an athletic manner and immediately apologised. I think he was speaking Italian, I wasn’t sure, but it was fast and rather nice. He had a tanned look and must have been in his early thirties. I took a step backwards and mumbled an apology too. He switched to English.

“I am so sorry Senora. My mistake.” He spoke with a lovely unmistakeable accent.

He had blue eyes which distracted me again as I thought that that was strange for an Italian. Words for now escaped me and all I could do was nod back at him. I must have wobbled backwards as he reached out to touch me on the shoulder as if to steady me. Instinctively I took another step backwards. I was not used to strange men immediately touching me.

“Are you OK?” He asked.

I nodded again and tried to smile but turned to hide my face. That turn continued and the rest of my body moved round until I was now facing the exit. Without thinking I started to leave.

“Senora”. He called after me. I walked slightly faster for the exit.

 

‘What is wrong with me?’ I thought when I was safely back in my car. Why had I reacted like that? He was just being friendly and helpful. He really was just being apologetic and I’d said nothing.

I looked around ….Strangers were everywhere. I thought about it for a moment.

If I was going to get anywhere in my life…………… I would have to start being more comfortable around strangers. But where on Earth had that fear come from. My father had always been good with strangers. He’d travelled a lot though. Maybe that was it.

I sat in silence ………..my mind pondering it all. He was probably with his family. What! Where did that thought suddenly come from? I couldn’t believe I’d just thought that. I could have sworn that my next thought was ‘I’ll never know now’.

What’s going on with me? Unhappy with myself, I drove off wanting new scenery so I could distract myself with new thoughts.

 

 

I was never going to be able to drive all the way to Toulouse in a day, even if I did eventually choose to go there. I decided to head for Limoges instead and find a place to stay there over night. The place sounded nice …Limoges…it had a nice soft, round vowel-sound to it.  I wondered what I might find there. I could always go to Bordeaux after that or even across and down to the French Riviera and Marseilles.