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The Greenstone Grail: The Sangreal Trilogy    by Amanda Hemingway order for
Greenstone Grail
by Amanda Hemingway
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Within the first few pages of The Greenstone Grail, Amanda Hemingway quickly became one of my top five favorite fantasy authors. Her blending of fantasy, horror, mystery, and science fiction within a modern setting is superb, immediately drawing the reader into the story.

It takes place in the sleepy little English village of Eade where Annie Ward came to live when her son Nathan was just a baby. Originally chased to the village by sinister beings hiding in the shadows, they've led a peaceful life for thirteen years. Now, weird things occur once again. A reclusive actress moves into the village with her estranged husband. Nathan begins to have vivid dreams of other worlds. The Grimthorn Grail - a possibly holy, possibly evil relic that had been lost for decades - comes up for auction at Sotheby's. And a strange man with no earthly ancestry washes up on the shore. As the woods surrounding the village get more sinister and people begin dying, Annie and Nathan learn how all these events are connected.

Hemingway does an amazing job conveying the mood of the setting, while delineating well-rounded and sympathetic characters. The setting pulls the reader in and the characters make the reader want to stay. The novel comes to a satisfying conclusion, while leaving enough loose ends to leave the reader eager for the next book in The Sangreal Trilogy. Another aspect that will delight fans of British fiction is that the author peppers her narrative with references to works by England's most famous authors. Some, like J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, are mentioned outright, while others, like Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries, are simply alluded to. While I caught most of the references, I am still wondering who Susan and Colin are; I guess I need to read more children's fantasies.

Amanda Hemingway's The Greenstone Grail is a must read for fans of British fantasies, and will leave readers salivating for The Sword of Straw, the second book in The Sangreal Trilogy.

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