All posts by Sue Bridgwater

About Sue Bridgwater

SUE BRIDGWATER was born in Plymouth in 1948 and after 20 years in Hackney, East London has now retired home to Devon. She has generally earned her living as a librarian, and has been writing seriously since the early 1980s. (A list of publications is included below.) Sue read English at Bedford College, London, graduating in 1970. Her M. Phil. in Children’s Fantasy Fiction was done externally during her children’s pre-school years, and was awarded in 1984. She was a Tutor in Literature and Creative Writing from 1982-96 for the Workers’ Educational Association (London District) and the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, University of London (now a part of Birkbeck College, University of London). Sue has completed a Birkbeck College Certificate in Creative Writing, September 2002-June 2004, developing fiction techniques and skills. Her main interest is in Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is currently working on the third novel in the Skorn sequence and on non-fiction in the field of Mythopoeic studies. SKORN – THE BOOKS; Perian's Journey This is a short epic romance from the Third Age of Skorn, following the life of a man from childhood to death, how he "worked and loved and lived," how he achieved greatness, how his journey through life was long and hard, but good. It was first published in hardback in 1989 by Julia Macrae. Sue and co-author Alistair McGechie are delighted that the 2nd (paperback and eBook) edition is now available, from Eluth Publishing, 2014. Shadows of the Trees This longer mythological novel is set in the Second Age of Skorn and tells the story of two Immortals, a brother and sister who lose their powers and come to terms with mortality. Another jointly written work by Sue and Alistair, this is now available from Eluth Publishing 2015 The Dry Well This is in process of writing and is a sequel to Shadows of the Trees. It is set in IssKor, a desert land in the south of Skorn, where a cruel and oppressive priesthood hides the secret of the dry well and the silent god from the people. In addition to these, Sue and Alistair (individually and together) have outlines for a number of other works to be developed. These relate to different periods in the history and mythology of Skorn and take a number of forms. Shadows of the Trees will be ready for publication late in 2016. PUBLICATIONS Bibliographical note; between 1970 and 1987 Sue’s surname was Jenkins A) Articles and reviews •Reviews of "Norah and the whale", Hilda's restful chair", "Dig away two-hole Tim", "Harry's stripes" and "The greedy blackbird." British Book News Children's Supplement(Spring 1982) pp3-4. •'Spock, Avon and the decline of optimism.' Foundation 25 (June1982) pp 43-45. •Reviews of "Nandy's Bedtime", "Joseph’s other red sock", "On the way home” and "Mr. Pinkerton's Hat" British Book News Children’s Supplement (Autumn 1982) p12. •Review of "Vaneglory" Foundation 26 (October 1982) pp 106-107 • Letter to the Editor Foundation 26 (October 1982) pp 79-80. •Reviews of "A book of cats" and "Stories for a Prince", British Book News Children’s Books (Spring 1984) p14. • “Love, loss and seeking; maternal deprivation and the quest", Children’s Literature in Education Vol 15, No. 2 (whole number 53) (Summer 1984) pp73-83. • “Growing up in Earthsea”, Children's Literature in Education, Vol16, No .1 (whole Number 56), (Spring 1985) pp 21-31 •Review of "The canary-coloured cart" International Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship Vol 2, No 3 (Winter 1987) pp 138-199. •Review of "Bridging the gap” and "Teenager to young adult" International Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship Vol 3, N o.1 (Spring 1988) pp56-57. •'The sense of belonging; an introduction to the novels of Jane Louise Curry' International Review of Children's literature and Librarianship Vol 3, No. 3 (Winter 1988) pp 176-189. •Review of "The drama of being a child" International Review of Children's Literature and Librarianship Vol 4, No. 1 (1989) pp 52-53. •“Out of the doldrums and into the curriculum; De Beauvoir Junior School Library” School Librarian Vol 38, No.2 (May 1990) pp53-54. • “Beyond the personal” a review of And now you can go, byVendela Vida, in TLS, 15th August 2003, p 21 •“A past relived” – a review of Alison Uttley’s A Country Child for “Slightly Foxed”. Issue 5, Spring 2005, pp 82-85. •Review of The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss inhttp://www.mythsc.rg/assets/mythprint-341-suwxtkv2i4xmvv8v.pdf •’Stay or go; some reflections upon stasis and travelling in Tolkien’s Mythos.’ (Paper given at Tolkien Society Seminar No.22, June 2009, Published in Tolkien Society Peter Roe Booklets series, No. 16, September 2015) •‘Staying home and travelling; stasis versus movement in Tolkien’s mythos’ in Middle-earth and beyond; essays on the world of JRR Tolkien edited by Kathleen Dubs and Janka Kascakova. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010 •’Upon the world-tree: Death, transformation and return in The Lord of the Rings, The Dream of the Rood, and Havamal.’ TID=242971&FID=77&PR=3 •Review of Daniel A. Rabuzzi’s The Choir Boats. http://www.mythsc.rg/assets/mythprint-353-qqARKMDVfFBTNzFv.pdf B) Poetry and fiction; •“Woman”, WEA Women’s Studies Newsletter, 20 (1983), p8 •"When I'm a tree" Leaves in the wind (Spring 1983), p15. •"How do you meet" Leaves in the wind 2 (1984), prologue. •“Story”, Arachne, 2 (1985) pp 23-25 • Perian's Journey (with Alistair McGechie) London; Julia Macrae Books, 1989; 2nd Edition Eluth Publishing, 2014 • The last pear in the universe Good Society review Vol 1 N. 4, c1993, pp 37-47


So in a grey cold wind Perian walked down to the shore next morning, a small bundle on his back. At the sea’s edge he spotted the bent figure of the old man he was seeking, a solitary fellow who lived in a hut among the marram-dunes and made his living by fishing a little from his sturdy home-built rowing boat and by scavenging along the shore for any useful bits and pieces cast up by the sea. His name was Ral.

“Hello there!” called Perian. His voice was carried off by the wind to mingle with the gulls’ cries. Ral did not hear until Perian was almost beside him. Then he straightened up from his searching of the sand, turned slowly, and stared silently at his visitor.

“Good morning,” offered Perian.

“Bad. Nothing on the tideline.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I wish you better fortune from the next tide. I was wondering …”

“Ah. So I hear. Answer’s no.”


“No. I won’t cross that channel this time of year. Not for no money.”

“Oh. Oh. Well, do you know anyone who would?”

“No. Nor no other boat strong enough neither.”

“But – but I must go. As soon as may be. I must.”

Ral spat into the sand at Perian’s feet, wrinkled up his face, sighed, scratched his head and said,



“How much gold you got?”

“Gold? About fifty pieces, I think. Why?”

Ral gestured up the beach to where his boat lay.

“Sell her to you then. Fifty. Take it or leave it.”



It was almost dark, and the rain had turned to sleet, when a young girl in search of a stray sheep came across a huddled mass of something lying in the wet grass at the top of the cliff. It moaned, and she looked more closely. She saw a tangle of human limbs, and turned and ran into the night. Soon she was hammering at the door of the nearest house, and help was quickly on its way. Before midnight the people of Sebrid had carried Perian and Ilo, bound carefully onto hurdles, to warm beds in a hospitable cottage. Two women volunteered to sit up through the long winter night.

Towards dawn, Perian stirred sluggishly in his nest of thick sheepskins and rough-woven blankets. He made a faint noise, and his attendant leaned over to watch his face. His movements became stronger, his head rolled on the pillow, and as the nurse reached out to comfort him he said distinctly,


Then he said,


And then.



If My Terrible Memory Is Your Problem, Bookshops Are The Solution

Me too, me too.

Tara Sparling writes

If My Terrible Memory Is Your Problem, Bookshops Are The Solution

In this earlier post, I described my attempts to browse Amazon as if it was as bricks-and-mortar bookshop, and my frustration at the impossibility of stumbling across surprise books which might make my day. I came to the conclusion that nobody is allowed to stumble across anything on Amazon, because you are so narrowly steered towards what they believe we either want or SHOULD want. The overall online experience is quite depressing.

But there was another side to this story. Last week I went into one of my 3 favourite bookshops in Dublin, to buy a book for Father’s Day. I had no idea whatsoever what I was going to buy, so shopping online was out of the question.

This is extremely unusual for me, but I’m now going to tell you what I bought that day. I normally never mention individual books on this blog because it’s an exercise steeped in disappointment, and fraught with…

View original post 941 more words


Ilo, left alone, had set up a camp and got a fire ready to light when evening should come. He had caught the run-away horse and tethered it beside the donkey, draping both animals in blankets to keep off the wind. Then he prepared food and drink so that he could have it ready for Perian as soon as he came back.

“If he comes back,” he muttered. The donkey looked at him, its head on one side. Then there were several hours of waiting, until Perian stumbled out of the night towards the fire. Ilo stripped him of his armour, laid him in soft blankets, gave him hot spiced wine to drink and bathed his wounds in warm water.

“Oh, my lord, I am so glad to see you! How excited they will all be in Portron. Was the monster very terrible?”

Perian shuddered.

“Ho, don’t ask me. I cannot speak of it yet. But I thank you for your care of me. I think I could sleep now.”

Ilo watched beside the king for a while, then settled down by the fire.

Kemara's Tower


Why was no news of this sent to Lavrum? I – the king would have sent knights to combat this evil.”

“Much the king cares for us! Never showed his face here, has he? And what’s a knight or two against this – this horror.”

“I will try my hand against it.”

The other stared at him, then laughed.

“You! You’re an old man – you’d never stand!”

“I am a knight,” said Perian quietly, “and must fulfil my oath, while there is life in me. If I die, at least I will have tried.”

There was a silence while the innkeeper looked at him again.

“By the Flower of Lavrum! I do believe you mean it.”

“I do mean it.”

“Then I’m sorry for what I said. You’re a brave man. Here – have some breakfast.”

By the time Perian had finished breakfast, a large crowd had gathered outside the inn, hoping to see the brave champion who was going to attempt the monster of the tower. Some offered any help they could give.

“Is there any armour to be had?”

“Odd bits and pieces. Sir,” said one man. “Shall I gather what I can?”

“Please do. Ilo, will you get all these boys together into a party to repair and polish armour. And will some of you,” he turned to the crowd again, “help with food for our journey to the north.”

A few of the townspeople hurried away to their homes to fetch the necessary supplies, while the rest pressed forward to come near to Perian.

“Bless you, noble knight.”

“May you prevail, and come home safe.”

Devil's Point


By mid-afternoon Arrab towered above them, and they could see the movement of people on the stone quay of the village of Portron. They slipped in among the fishing boats, and willing hands caught their ropes and secured them to the quayside.

Portron boasted a small inn, and when the travellers had taken their baggage to their chamber, washed, and eaten, they joined the customers in the common-room and enjoyed an evening of songs and stories much like the reylings of Sewil.

Ilo nudged Perian after a while.


“That old man over there. He looks really miserable.”

“Yes. Perhaps he’s not well. Everyone else seems cheerful enough.”

Perian turned to his neighbour.

“Is anything amiss with that old man in the corner? Does he need any help?”

The man edged away from Perian.

“You don’t want to go looking for trouble, stranger,” he muttered. Then he began whispering to the other men near him, and they all looked curiously at Perian. Soon they got up and left, and the inn was empty within a few minutes. Perian and Ilo looked for the old man, but he had gone with the rest, so they went up to bed; the landlord did not trouble to show them the way.



“Greetings, travellers. It is good to welcome guests so late in the year. I trust you have had a good crossing from the mainland.”

Perian smiled.

“A little unpleasant for one unaccustomed to sea-travel. But my captain here had a firm hand on the tiller.”

The Elder bowed gravely to Ilo.

“How may we serve you?” he asked.

“We should like to stay here with you for a time, before continuing our voyage. Will you allow that?”

“Gladly. We have no inns here, but someone will find room for you.”

He looked about him, and called to an old woman on the edge of the crowd,

“Galla, you should have room. Are you willing to house these travellers?”

She stepped forward eagerly.

“With pleasure, Derran, if these good people do not mind hard beds and simple cooking.”

Galla led the travellers to a low turf-roofed cottage near-by. Inside it was warm and surprisingly large, with little light seeping through its small windows. Perian and Ilo placed their bundles by their beds and were soon eating a delicious and plentiful mutton stew. When they had finished, Galla started wrapping herself up in an enormous shawl.

“You’ll come to the reyling?”

“If we would be welcome. What is this reyling?”

The old lady laughed.

“Why, it’s nothing but a bit of singing and dancing and story-telling, and maybe a little drinking to warm our hearts now that the evenings are getting colder.” And she winked.



The next day was a busy one; Perian and Ilo were down among the wharves soon after breakfast, prospecting for a likely craft, and settling at last for an old but still seaworthy sailing-boat called Islander.

“That’s a good name, Ilo. What do you think of her?”

“She’s strong-looking, my lord, not fancy but she’ll get us there.”

“I’ll take your word for it, Ilo. Do you think we can handle her?”

“Oh yes, Sir, if you follow my lead.”

The boat’s former owner watched with interest while Ilo kept Perian beating about within hailing distance of Skyrholm until the tide started running out too fast to continue. A stiff and weary crewman staggered back to the inn with his still energetic young skipper, to swallow a welcome draught of ale and to dry out before the huge fire in the parlour.

“I don’t know!” scolded Anna. “One crazy idea after another!”

“It’s all right, Anna. I shall take care this time, you’ll see. No foolish venture this, but the journey I set out to make when I left my home.”

“Hmm! A fine pair you are to be setting sail in the autumn. You won’t convince me there’s any sense in it.”



Perian gazed for a moment up the river towards Lavrum, but then fixed his attention on the southern shore, as the ferry neared its landing.
The coast road was an ancient trackway that wound up and down, always close to the shore because of the hills inland, but sometimes high above the sea and looking down onto a rocky shore lashed with white waves, and sometimes level beside a narrow strip of shingle beach. Perian urged Mela on towards the more pleasant, fertile coastal plain to the south-west. Here there were farms and hamlets and the coast road joined the Great South Road at the village of Byrig. Once, halting at the top of a cliff, Perian looked far out to sea and glimpsed the islands to the north-east, dark masses in the blue expanse of water.
“I will go there one day,” he said to Mela. “There’s time for a visit to the south first.”
The horse shook his mane and plodded on down the road. After a few minutes Perian urged him to a trot again.

Image (c) Crista Forest.



Perian rode quickly down to the estuary, where the Siannen widened to a sluggish width of brown water. It was approaching high tide, and he hailed the flat-bottomed ferry from the far shore. It was quiet here, for across the water was a wild land, a rough road through the hills and along the coast, with only a bit of grazing fit for sheep here and there, or marshes where some hardy souls might go wildfowling. Birds were all about him, swan and oyster-catcher and mallard and the bright shelduck, moving upstream as the mudflats were slowly covered by the encroaching sea. The ferryman greeted him, as he led Mela aboard.

“Going far?”

“As far south as I can get,” Perian asserted.

“Huh! Do better heading west and down the Great South Road, if you ask me.”

“Why so?”

“Trouble with robbers these many years. We petitioned the King’s Grace for a knight or two to clear this way – folks down the coast where ’tis good farmland likes to trade a bit here in Skyrholm as well as Lavrum. Only nought’s done yet, that’s kings for you,” and he spat noisily into the water.

“The king has had his troubles, but perhaps the Prince Athellon, the dragon-slayer, will take this in hand now.”

The ferryman snorted.

“And the Siannen may flow up to the mountains.”