The Earth Goddess
The Pagans Trilogy, Book III
3000 BC. The cult of the Earth Goddess is controlled throughout the vast empire of Europe by the secretive and unscrupulous Red Order, the priesthood which manipulates all power for its own ends. The land that is now called England has been annexed and its lord, Brennis Gehan Fifth, betrayed and murdered. The Lady Altheme, his consort, has escaped to the forest. She is carrying his son, Paoul, rightful inheritor of the Valdoe domain.
Ignorant of his parentage, Paoul is orphaned, sold into the priesthood, and sent to the mainland citadel for instruction. His teachers predict a great destiny for him. Only later, beyond the point of no return, do his doubts begin ...
Some opinions of The Earth Goddess
Richard Herley’s dour novel The Flint Lord described a military conflict in ancient Britain that ended in the defeat of the native, nomadic inhabitants. This sequel, the concluding book in Herley’s trilogy, The Pagans, shifts its focus to the powerful religious order that controls the empire. While the illegitimate heir to Britain – the stammering, brain-damaged Hothen – is groomed to ascend the throne, the rightful heir, his half-brother Paoul, has been orphaned, raised by the nomads as their own, orphaned again, sold into slavery, bought by the priesthood and finally curried as an exceptional student with a great future. Inevitably, Paoul discovers his true heritage and falls in love with Hothen’s wife. This highly melodramatic plot, however, contrasts with the appealing characters and the intriguing historical detail of taxes and trade, textiles and theology.