Web of Deceit

Web of Deceit, the third book in the Merlin trilogy, was a frightening task for me but this underpinning of fear eventually added enormously to my enjoyment in writing it. I love a difficult challenge even when it scares the hell out of me.

In my studies into the depths of the Arthuriad, I have always been puzzled by Merlin’s part in the rape of Ygerne and the betrayal of Gorlois. The healer’s own birth had been the result of a rape, while the attempt by Vortigern to sacrifice him as a young boy and his reputation for goodness throughout the legends are at odds with the actions of Merlin in delivering Ygerne, the good and constant wife, into the clutches of Uther Pendragon. Uther is always portrayed as a monster in the legends and for Merlin to ally himself with such a man seems contradictory.

I thought about this novel for quite some time before I finally put pen to paper. I returned to Cadbury, Glastonbury and the county of the South-West as I tried to visualize the landscape through the eyes of the early Britons. The wild oceans and coastline of Cornwall called to me, not only because there is black Cornish in my ancestry but because I am a “sea-person” and am always drawn to the wilder coasts and the savage beaches.

All in all, writing this book became sheer pleasure because I was able to build realistic personalities for mythic characters who had previously seemed flat and two-dimensional to me. Ygerne, Gorlois, Uther and Morgan all came to life and became real people who enchanted me as I worked.

Ultimately, it was the completely fictitious character of Andrewina Ruadh that gave me the greatest pleasure in writing this novel. This Pict woman of Celtic extraction was initially inspired by an artist’s model I saw in Australia many years ago. At the time, I considered her to be more Celt than any Briton I ever saw in the “Old Country”. Gradually, my vision of Andrewina absorbed elements of two friends of my acquaintance so that she became the form of the three women that she would have become if life hadn’t dealt so harshly with her. I hope you recognise the inestimable strength and character of this incredible Celtic Woman in my trilogy – exactly as I painted her.

I hope you also will come to enjoy how I attempted to bring the ancient and deadly triangles in the legends to life. Finally, I hope I’ve captured a feel for the dangerous times and the personalities needed to survive them.
Ave, and enjoy.