I really enjoy fiction that weaves itself into history or mythology, especially when it links to places I have visited, or would like to visit. So I was keen to read this book, Shades of Atlantis by Carol Oates, which ties into the mystical Hill of Tara – the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and one of Ireland’s most famous ancient sites. This book has many fascinating elements – Celtic mythology, King Arthur and Merlin, Plato, and the lost city of Atlantis – all drawn together in a love story of soul-mates and their action-packed destiny.
The heroine, Triona, lives in Camden, Maine, with her aunt, uncle and brother, Ben. She has never quite felt like she ‘fit in’ and she dreams of travelling to Europe after completing her senior year at high school. Triona is working part-time in a local restaurant to help fund her travels, and when she meets her new boss the attraction between them is instant.
‘I couldn’t explain it; though I’d never laid eyes on Caleb Wallace before, I recognized him instantly. I knew the contours of his face, the straight line of his jaw, the shallow dimple in his chin, the deep blue eyes that sparkled like sapphires…’
‘I didn’t want to move an inch. Being with Caleb right there was like one of the fairytales I’d never believed in, my very own happy ending.’
When tragedy strikes, Triona eventually follows her dream and goes to London. Here she learns the meaning of many of the stories Caleb had told her and she begins to understand his fascination with mythology. But when legend becomes Triona’s reality, and her soul-mate and family are in danger, can Triona live up to her destiny?
‘There have always been mysteries, since the dawn of time… Things that no human has been able to explain.’
I love this book. The mysterious Caleb is a great character – handsome, strong, elusive and passionate, and it was really nice to also see the female lead character, Triona, develop from a somewhat insecure schoolgirl into a strong, fiery, independent woman, guided by Caleb’s love and knowledge. I love the way that this book brings Celtic myth and legend into a contemporary romance, and puts forward the idea that these ‘stories’ are not yet complete, and are part of our living future. I am sure that having read this book many people will want to visit the beautiful Hill of Tara, to get lost in its ancient history, and touch the Stone of Destiny for themselves.
The plot has some great surprises as well; I was caught out several times on what I thought was going to happen. It’s very difficult to give you too much more on the plot of this book without giving the surprises away. But if you like the romance and thrill of magic, mythology and legend, all tied up with contemporary fiction… if like me you find the idea of soul-mates and destiny irresistible, then you will love this book.
It was an adventure that left me wanting to read more, to see what happened to the characters next. Luckily, Carol Oates has hinted in interviews of a sequel coming very soon – which may even be written from a different character’s point of view. I shall certainly be adding her future books to my bookshelf.
Shades of Atlantis is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.