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Cover art for Serpent's Mound by Ceri Norman

Serpent's Mound

Deep in East Anglia, land of Saxons and Serpents, close to the village of Wormford lies an ancient burial mound. Foolish mortals have robbed out the mound and awoken the Serpent within...

Melinda Matthews is having a very bad day. She has lost her job, found her man in bed with another woman and a tree has crushed her car. Just when she thinks it can't get any worse she finds herself stuck in the middle of nowhere next to a haunted burial mound. Here she finds herself caught up in an ancient conflict between two powerful adversaries.

Melinda must battle an ancient Serpent bent on revenge with the help of Cate Howe, local librarian and self-appointed guardian of the mound. Time is quickly running out as the events of the past are repeated in the present causing yet more destruction and death. Can the two women bring peace or will they, like others before them, fall victim to the Great Worm of Wormford?

Serpent's Mound is Ceri's second novel. She is currently working on her third.


What inspired Serpent's Mound?

East Anglia has a wealth of wonderful history and folklore, a real and rich mix of cunning ways and old tales – some of them undoubtedly Saxon in origin. It also has very inspiring landscapes from the marshy fens of Cambridgeshire to the rolling sandy flats of Suffolk, always with wide open skies and beautiful (though sometimes bizarre) cloud formations.

Ultimately the kernel of inspiration behind Serpent's Mound comes from a more recent myth. A local legend states that the treasures of Sutton Hoo, which have educated us so much about the Saxons, may not have been discovered without a certain Ghost Story... Edith Pretty, the widower who owned the land around the infamous Suffolk burial mounds was interested in many things, good works, archaeology and spiritualism. It is said that Edith's friend, Dorothy Cox, told Mrs Pretty that she could see spirits of ancient soldiers with spears and shields wandering around the mounds. At the time people were convinced that the mounds were long ago robbed out, but the appearance of the ghosts convinced Mrs Pretty to call in the Archaeologist Basil Brown. The first time nothing was found, however as the ghosts continued to be seen so Mrs Pretty insisted on calling Basil back and the rest is history.

I began to think about the spectral warriors spied on the mounds and wondered about things from their point of view. How would they, and the guardians of the locale, feel about the archaeological investigations? What would they make of modernity? From there the book flowed and formed.

Sutton Hoo
The infamous mounds at Sutton Hoo, along with other burial mounds up and down the British Isles helped to inspire this book. They have a very strange sense of place, one of reverence and yet there is an air of something a bit more sinister – this is probably down to the fact that at one time there were gallows erected and used here.

Sutton Hoo Mounds
Many of the mounds have been robbed out in times past and flattened over time thanks to agricultural work and the elements. The mounds are just gentle hummocks in the landscape. The larger one (shown above) is actually a reconstructed version.

The county of Suffolk, in which this book is set, is famous for its wide and sometimes wild skies! Artists have long been attracted to the area, the most famous of whom is probably John Constable who painted many landscapes with prominent skies.



Reviews for Serpent's Mound

"Ceri Norman's second novel is set in East Anglia and tells the very believable tale of betrayal, rebirth and old energies being awakened and disturbed when items are removed from a sacred burial site.
The characters in this delightful tale are very easy to relate to and the style of writing is witty, bright and engaging. Highly imaginative and original, this book will appeal to those who are interested in earth energies, pagan belief systems and morality tales.
Her first novel "Celtic Maidens" was a hugely successful Love Saga set in a remote Welsh village published by Melrose Books. As a second novel this stands alone as a testament to Ceri's emerging talent and promises to be a very popular book amongst young adults and those inclined towards reading something that little bit different from those ranking in the mainstream fiction charts. "
Jade Ashcroft, Enlightening Times Magazine

"Serpent's Mound demonstrates how Ceri has polished and refined her craft of storytelling with another engrossing tale which intertwines contemporary lives with ancient times and mythology.
Serpent's Mound is inspired by the landscapes, history and folklore of East Anglia, and from the myths surrounding the many burial mounds around Britain including the well-known mound and treasures of Sutton Hoo. One of the strengths of Ceri's writing is her knowledge and detail of mythology and myth and this is certainly the case with Serpent's Mound which contains a treasure of information about: Anglo Saxon mythology; "The Prose Edda"; Runes; the serpent in different mythologies and traditions including Saxon, Norse, Christian, Egyptian, and Celtic; and much more.
Highly recommended, Serpent's Mound is a very well written engrossing tale with hidden depths. "
Indie Shaman Magazine

"From the first page, this newest story of Ceri's drew me back into her world of mysticism and plain robust everydayness - it's a fascinating mix. I feel almost guilty as I'm startled into laughter at the expressed opinions of some of her characters, while around them ... the magic is growing!
But that finely-balanced combination is the "magic" she weaves with her writing as she produces yet another enjoyable mystical novel, including the growth journey of her characters.
It's a great "read" for anytime - but also a nice one for your lazy Summer days." 5* review


© Ceri Norman 2009-15

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