The pagan Celts told of supernatural voyages to islands of joy. As the Roman Empire crumbled around them, Celtic Christians threw themselves passionately into such a quest. Pilgrimage was not to shrines of the past, but a voyage into the future.
Yet their spirituality was essentially concerned with politics and people. Brigid ruled a monastery for women and men, princesses and slaves, while Arthur was defending Celtic Britain against English invaders - and antagonizing the Church. Columban was deported from Burgundy; Aidan died protesting against his king. Some did slam the monastery gates on the sinful world. More tramped into the hills, staff in hand, to stand alongside ordinary people. Using history, and a thoughtful examination of legends, Fay Sampson weaves these strands like Celtic knotwork into a continuous story.
Fay Sampson is the winner of the Barco de Vapor Award. She is the author of numerous novels for children and adults, as well as Runes on the Cross.
Fay was born in St Budeaux, Plymouth. Her father was a Royal Marine bandsman and when World War II broke out he was posted to the Marine camp at Lympstone. Fay grew up in this fishing and farming village on the estuary of the Exe and has always had an affinity with stories.
She has a degree in mathematics from the University College of the South-West, now Exeter University, and became a teacher.
Fay married another teacher, Jack Priestley, and went to Northern Rhodesia where she ran the college library. Upon returning to Devon and with the insistance of her husband she started writing when her children started going to school.
She now live with her husband in a sixteenth-century cottage on a hill outside Tedburn St Mary in Devon.