Author Susan Rowland’s first mystery novel!
A simple job turns deadly when Mary Wandwalker, novice detective, is hired to chaperone a young American, Rhiannon, to the Oxford University Summer School on the ancient Celts. Worried by a rhetoric of blood sacrifice, Mary and her operatives, Caroline, and Anna, attend a sacrifice at a sacred well. They discover that those who fail to individuate their gods become possessed by them.
For the so-called Reborn Celts, who run the summer school, have been infiltrated by white supremacists. Could their immersion in myth be less a symbol for psychic wholeness and more a clue of their intent to engage in terrorist violence? Who better to penetrate their secret rites than an apparently harmless woman of a certain age?
Mary agrees to spy on the Reborn Celts, then learns, to her horror, of Anna’s passionate affair with the chief suspect, Joe Griffith. With Griffith also the object of Rhiannon’s obsession, Mary realizes too late that that these 21st century Celts mean murder.
The Reborn Celts draw Mary and her friends into three rites to summon their gods: at an Oxford sacred well, by the Thames on the way to London, and in Celtic London, where bloodshed will restore one of the Thames’ ‘lost rivers.’
Before the fatal night of the summer solstice, Caroline and Anna race to London seeking Mary, who has been kidnapped. Will she end as the crone sacrifice? Or will the three women re-make their detecting family, so re-constituting a pattern of archetypal feminine compassion?
CHAPTER 1: Mary Wandwalker is distracted
CHAPTER 2: Miss Wandwalker is warned
CHAPTER 3: Rhiannon North arrives in Oxford
CHAPTER 4: Joe Griffi this inspired
CHAPTER 5: Fearful and angry
CHAPTER 6: Skirmishes with Rhiannon
CHAPTER 7: First Rite: Initiation part one
CHAPTER 8: Party games
CHAPTER 9: Mary Wandwalker’s big mistake
CHAPTER 10: First Rite: Initiation part two
CHAPTER 11: One of London’s lost rivers
CHAPTER 12: A delivery of cakes
CHAPTER 13: The Celtic Summer School does a field trip
CHAPTER 14: Caroline and Anna
CHAPTER 15: Second Rite: Immersion
CHAPTER 16: Emails from the Second Rite of immersion
CHAPTER 17: Oxford and a confession
CHAPTER 18: Mr. Jeffreys is furious
CHAPTER 19: Anna
CHAPTER 20: No more Depth Enquiry Agency?
CHAPTER 21: A torc between celts
CHAPTER 22: Local experts and incompetent detectives
CHAPTER 23: Spellbound
CHAPTER 24: Back to school
CHAPTER 25: The Other/World of Barin
CHAPTER 26: The disappearance of Mary Wandwalker
CHAPTER 27: Going to college?
CHAPTER 28: Kidnapped
CHAPTER 29: Caroline has trouble sleeping
CHAPTER 30: Return of the golden torc
CHAPTER 33: By the Boathouses, Oxford
CHAPTER 32: The dream
CHAPTER 33: The prisoner
CHAPTER 34: Celtic London
CHAPTER 35: Tower of rain
CHAPTER 36: Mr. Jeffreys at the Archives
CHAPTER 37: Death by water
CHAPTER 38: The rescuers
CHAPTER 39: Third Rite: the crone in the wood
CHAPTER 40: In another part of the forest
CHAPTER 41: Solstice late
CHAPTER 42: Solstice night
CHAPTER 43: A trip to the Thames
CHAPTER 44: The sacred river
CHAPTER 45: Rising from the river
CHAPTER 46: While you were sleeping
CHAPTER 47: Two visitors
EPILOGUE: The wife of Lir