In The Shadow of Knucklas Castle
Katy Mac

Published: June 2017
Price: £12.00
Hardback 38 pages
Illustrations: Full colour
ISBN: 9-781911-175612

Available from YouCaxton

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This is a story about Knucklas Castle Hill, a special hill on the Welsh border It retells an ancient legend of King Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere, daughter of a giant. Today, in the upper Teme Valley, you can still fi nd traces of the story – not least in the river’s Welsh name, Afon Tefeidiad, so-called after Arthur’s words. There’s a huge stone in a field that looks like a giant’s head; a rock where the devil sat, and the old castle hill itself where the wedding took place. But how did the stone get into the field? And were there really giants here? Surely this ancient hill knows the answers.
Reader Reviews...

Tom Levy, Teacher

This is a little known story of King Arthur, based on an ancient Welsh legend.

All will enjoy the vibrant illustrations, which jump off the page and truly bring the story to life. There are lumpy giants, dark woods, a smiling castle hill that perhaps knows all, and a brightly coloured wedding feast in Knucklas Castle. There are also lovely photographs and a fanciful, but usable map. So you can actually visit the rock where the giant sat; you can see the amazing face of a giant that Arthur turned to stone, and you can walk up to the top of the old castle hill, where Arthur married Guinevere - a truly breath-taking spot. It’s a lovely book for anyone who wants to experience the magic of this small part of the Welsh borders.

As someone who works in education, I recommend this book. It's just the right combination of engaging and educational. Young children will enjoy having it read to them as a mysterious tale, older children will wonder where his¬¬tory ends and myth begins, and for the Arthurian there are references to the sources at the end of the book. A beautiful book!

Frances Brett, Lecturer in Early Childhood

This vibrantly illustrated book shines a light on the secrets of a “special hill” on the Marches borderland, Knucklas Castle, quickly inviting the reader into a startling, ancient landscape where they can travel with Guinevere as she makes a dangerous journey to find Arthur, the one person who can free her brothers from the giants that occupy the land on the far side of the River Teme. Written as if it is a story being told close to your ear, or as if being performed live in front of you, the author walks a teasing line between knowledge, speculation and pure mystery, creating an atmosphere in which almost anything might happen – and then it does! It is beguiling and funny, with no claims being made for certainties, but a suggestion that to be intrigued, and to ask questions about the landscape around you, is satisfying and important. And by the end of the story there is a surprising twist in the tale that brings you back into the lap of fact, with photographs supporting this shift back to the present live landscape. Additional geographical, historical and archaeological detail offers information to help find, explore and make sense or story of a real place that can be visited. The move from the beautifully realised imagined lands within the opening pages, to the OS grid references at the end, captures the book’s journey – one that is well worth making, for children and adults alike.

Philippa Boast, grandmother and artist

Katy Mac treads a tight rope between fact and fantasy, history and mythology in this charming and informative book she has produced to help the Knucklas Castle Community Land Project. Colourful and whimsical illustrations enhance the story perfectly and we can smile as we learn more about the beautiful Teme Valley.