- People of the Black Mountains
infobox Book |
name = People of the Black Mountains
language = English
Chatto and Windus
release_date = 1989
media_type = Print (Hardback &
isbn = ISBN 1561310506
"People of the Black Mountains" is an historical novel by
This book is a work in two volumes, published in 1989 and 1990. It features a great diversity of people in a single place across the ages. Most of them are ordinary people living unprivileged lives. It is told thorough a series of flashbacks featuring an ordinary man in modern times. He is looking for his father who has not returned from a hill-walk, but has visions of the past as it might have been.
It begins in the Old
Stone Ageand extends through to the Middle Ages, telling a series of fictionalized short stories about ordinary people in the Welsh-border region of the Black Mountains where he was born and grew up.
The series is solidly based on what
archaeologists have found - some of the tales are speculative reconstructions based on real burials. It has been praised for "brilliant clarity and imaginative vision" (" Sunday Telegraph") and hailed as "the great historic novel Wales has long deserved" (" Wales on Sunday").
The story-sequence would have extended to modern times had Williams lived to finish it. What exists is a complete
story arcextending from the Old Stone Age to the late-Mediaeval period. The story begins in the Old Stone Ageand was intended to come right up to modern times, always focusing on ordinary people. He had completed it as mediaeval times when he died in 1988. It was prepared for publication by his wife Joy Williams and was published in two volumes, along with a Postscript that gives a brief description of what the remaining work would have been. Almost all of the stories were completed in typescript, generally revised many times by the author. Only one story, "The Comet" was left incomplete and needed some small additions to make a continuous narrative [Postscript, plus myself as an eye-witness to the process - Gwydion M. Williams, --~~~~]
* Primitive hunters living before the last
hunter gatherers returning after the ice, and their possible marriage-customs
* The arrival of the first
Neolithicfarmers; in this case pastoralists with sheep, which the local hunters don't initilaly recognise as creatures they should not hunt.
* A visiting astronomer-priest from the culture that later produced the
* The defeat of a Roman force by Welsh tribesmen, the
King Arthur', here seen as Artorius, a warlord who had defeated the Saxonsbut here seen as a burden to the ordinary farmers who produced the food that the warriors ate.
Harold Godwinsonriding through, having briefly chased out the Normansduring the reign of Edward the Confessor.
Normanspushing into Walesafter 1066
* A local revolt that merges into the general rebellion of
Owain Glyndŵrin the early 15th century.
* Sir John Oldcastle seeking refuge after being persecuted for supporting the
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