“This novella revisits my earliest fantasy creation, expanded and deepened and called Orestol. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my first unpublished novel was not very good, but I’ve taken a few key points, the odd characters (developed or merged) and written it from a different character’s viewpoint. This is Fial, my first female protagonist. And I know I am setting myself up to fail, to expose my lack of empathy, but that viewpoint seemed appropriate to the story I now wish to tell.
“The whole frame story is new; it was initially based – already loosely – on the 14th century poem Pearl, though I soon diverged from its structure in a major way. But using something as a starting point and then almost totally diverging from it seems to me to be a reasonable way of starting to find shape for a story; it certainly does not need then to be slavishly followed.
“The whole core text was written in a couple of months. There are a few bits, such as Taru‘s journey through the Enchanted Mountains, that were based on pieces already written – but so fundamentally rewritten as to be essentially new tellings. And the tone of the story is entirely different. It has all been revised and amended subsequently, but I wrote the fist drafts during a period of intense writing.
“The images associated with it took longer. Some of the them, such as the Celtic arch, were created a long time ago – when my eyesight was a lot better, I could not do such intricate work now – but the rest have been done in the past few months.
“These images and the interspersed pieces of prose and song are integral to the story as a whole.”
Richard Bray (summer 2013)
“The book has grown over the past few years to now include a number of other stories, mostly given in the appendices. How to make it all available has been difficult to achieve – ideally it would be through a full-colour hard copy, but that would make it too expensive. So there will be a monochrome hard copy, and the main texts and many of the images in colour are being made available online.”
Richard Bray (spring 2016)
“A further hiatus has pushed the publishing of this book back for a few more years – my health this time. But now it is really going to be published soon. And it’s not that I’ve been idyll for these years. Primarily I’ve been working on Taru’s subsequent history, though that is far from finished.”
Richard Bray (summer 2019)