The Ash Spear is based in medieval Britain in the 6th century, the Dark Ages, and is the third of the series.
The other books are Storyteller and Flight of the Hawk written by G. R. Grove.
Gwernin Kyarwyd is an apprentice bard, or storyteller, and this is a story of his journeys and trials. He is telling the story which begins in his seventeenth year and his second year of being an apprentice to become a harper and bard from his teacher Talhaearn Tad Awen. Talhaearn is the pencerdd (head poet) and harper to Cyndrwyn, prince of western Powys in mid-Wales.
Gwernim has a love, Rhiannedd, who is "the dark-haired delight of my heart" and she is carrying his child.
There are a number of characters in this book that have a close connections and loyalty to each other. Some other characters are Taliesin Ben Beirdd, Ieuan, Ugnach of Caer Sean and Neirin. The names are Welsh and hard to understand at first.
I had to go back and read the first chapters to get the names straight. I have not read the other two books and think they may have helped but this can be a stand alone book. I began to pull the pieces together.
The book is after the time of King Arthur and Taliesin tells the story of when he was the bard for Arthur and the final battle.
One character in the book, Neirin, is going to walk the Dark Path and needs the help of three bards. The Dark Path is a Druidic spiritual rite of passage. It is becoming a true bard. They go to the Island of Mon,
The Ash Spear was "the symbol of warfare and manhood but also stood for awen, the poet's inspiration of the bards". I had to find this on researching because somehow I missed the definition in the book.
I liked the saying after most chapters" O, my children, is a story for another day" which encourages the reader to keep reading. It was like a bard leaving you waiting.
G. R. Grove does an excellent job of descriptions and helps the reader know where the characters are and what they feel. There are emotions, pain, food, drinks, people, daily lives and worry. I really liked this book and look forward to reading her other books. I give it a five star because of the details and leaving me to want to do more research.
Go to the authors blog on treGwernin.blogspot.com to see what she is writing.
(reviewed 32 days after purchase)