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It's an English village murder mystery with a dour police inspector. It's a grail quest. It's a transdimensional world building adventure. And it's all anchored by refreshingly novel characters.

The hero is a gifted tween, but he is surrounded by a much larger and more interesting cast of secondary characters than is usually the case. It has Arthurian touches, but without all of the mismatched Arthurian baggage that usually surfaces in works like this. It has magic, witches, and spirits, but that all seems to fit seamlessly into the larger and more grounded narrative.

And, the book is beautifully written. Not overdone and not huffing and puffing toward the fey or "magical", it just reads smoothly with nice descriptive and character touches, and a very good sense of mood and atmosphere.

Just so much more than I expected when I found this overlooked work, and well worth a check out.
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on 29 January 2011
Marvellous read - cover to cover in under 48 hours because I could not put it down and immediately purchased the two further books to complete the trilogy. If you ejoyed Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence, you will love this.
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on 14 December 2015
Got the whole trilogy for under £7 on here so I am delighted! I hate reading just one of a series and having to look for the others.
Haven't read yet so cant comment on the story, but have heard good things about the author under her other name- Jan Siegel- so looking forward to getting stuck in.
I found the quality and delivery time excellent for the price paid.
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on 6 August 2009
This is is an excellent and enjoyable book. It's extremely well written, and I would recommend this to anyone who either enjoys fantasy or just a good story that is well told. I also really enjoyed the second, but found the third heavy going.
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on 18 November 2010
If you like authors such as Alan Garner or Susan Cooper, you'll enjoy Amanda Hemmingway.

This is a very intelligent and enjoyable book, which stimulates the immagination and provides an entertaining read.
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on 28 September 2009
a fast moving excellent read, would recommend for all ages, the characters are believable and engender immediate empathy. I am looking forward to the next book in series.
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on 8 December 2014
Looked like it had been through several hands. arrived quickly.
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Though you may not know it, Amanda Hemingway is already a well-known fantasy writer -- her pen name is Jan Siegel, author of books that blend modern settings with mythic heroes, villains and magic.
And that also sums up "The Greenstone Grail," which gives a new spin to Grail legends. Hemingway keeps things interesting with alien universes, water demons, mysterious deaths, ancient magic and a hero who is almost as mysterious as the grail itself. And, of course, lush writing and well-made characters.
Annie and her infant son Nathan arrived in Thornyhill, with invisible pursuers following them. Thirteen years later, Annie and Nathan are living peacefully there, near their friend Bartlemy's house. But their lives are disrupted when the legendary Greenstone Grail is located, and its rightful owner is trying to get it back.
To make things worse, Nathan has begun to dream himself INTO other worlds, even bringing a drowning man back into his own world. And he soon learns that the dying world of Eos -- where magic is "like electricity" -- has a connection to the Grail. What he doesn't realize is that a water demon and a sinister dwarf have an interest in the Grail as well... and in him.
The legend of the Grail -- in this case, the Sangreal -- gets a fresh feel in this book. Though Hemingway peppers her plot with pop culture references, there is a feeling of ancient magic and mystery to this book. Her writing is fresh and vital, even when taking a sci-fi twist on the burned, poisoned planet of Eos, or in the buried chapel of the Sangreal.
Hemingway takes her time setting up her plot, with plenty of foreshadowing and descriptions of the everyday lives of the characters. Then, she slowly infuses those lives with magic and otherworldliness, even if only by a sentence. The only flaw would be the jibes at organized religion, which don't seem to serve any purpose in the plot.
Hemingway's biggest challenge is Nathan -- she describes him as a natural hero, brave and tall and intelligent, as well as being magical. It would be easy to hate this kid, but she makes him genuinely likable. Annie and Hazel serve as undeerstatedly strong characters, although Bartlemy is too nebulous a character at present.
While "Greenstone Grail" can stand on its own as a world-hopping, taut fantasy story, there are half a dozen loose threads left at the end -- incuding two magical items yet to be found. Tantalizing and entrancing.
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Having heard of Amanda Hemingway under her other pen name of Jan Seigel, I was interested to see how her writing style would adapt to this sort of novel. I wasnt left disappointed, the novel was crisp, fresh and added a new take on the Celtoi theme that seems to have recently become popular in the writing world, blending it with the dreaming powers used by Shamans to a marvelous effect. Although in places the novel seems to lose pace and slow down it shortly picks up again showing that the author has understood the premise about changing paces for the mood of the scene, which is something that many ignore who try to keep a novel so action packed that the reader soon loses interest.
If your short of a tale and fancy a one off novel from a writer with much to offer, you cant really go wrong with this one.
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