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Steven William Rimmer
Jam Ink Publishing, 438 pages

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About the book, Steven William Rimmer says:
Years are a force more irresistible than armies, and more subtle then innuendo. Wyccad is to some extent about the imperceptible changes wrought upon knowledge and tradition over time. This is the basis of its title, as well, it derives from the middle English word wyc, which means "to bend." What would be regarded as magic or sorcery a few centuries later was at the time seen as the ability to bend the real world to one's will. The word had become both wicked and witch by the end of the middle ages, ultimately to be fused into a single alliterative redundancy by Hollywood.

There are perhaps fifteen generations between Anya Donagmore, who discovers the disturbing secret of her past in Wyccad, and her unprincipled ancestor who's responsible for it. Years can warp the meaning of a lot things over such a span of time. Anya's forbearers wouldn't have used the word "warp," of course. They'd have said "wyc."

The fluidity of pagan traditions is another salient aspect of the story, unlike orthodox European society, most of the followers of the old gods were neither equipped to write down their beliefs, nor were they well disposed to. Rural people were rarely literate until recent times, and in the centuries when the supposed practice of witchcraft was a capital crime, witchcraft being defined as the practice of any non-christian beliefs, it would have been unwise to write down anything which might later be read by magistrates or clerics. Left to the vicissitudes of oral transmission, the details of the ways of the goddess varied amongst their tellers.

The prospect that Anya might really have been made love to by the god Herne, the lord of the forests, will no doubt provoke some small number of skeptics, not to mention the politically correct, a few parents' groups and perhaps enough born-again christians to shout down the second coming. She would certainly reply to them all that their distant ancestors forgot what it was to love their god, while hers did not.

While I'd probably own to all of the overtly pagan fiction I've written having at least a spark of anti-Christian sentiment, Wyccad by its nature has the hottest of them. "I still feel uncomfortable working in a house full of people who pray to a man being tortured to death," observes one of its characters. Unless you believe in it, christianity is hardly compelling and more than slightly bizarre.

Wyccad can be ordered by calling 1-800-263-1138 from the United States and Canada, 0800-89-7355 from Great Britain and 1-800-554-082 from Australia. It's also available at their secure server page. They accept all major credit cards. Here are selected book shops which carry Wyccad, plus other ordering options.

Fiction by Steven William Rimmer
ISFDB Bibliography
Jam Ink Publishing Secure Server

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

Digging around the web, searching for new authors, ferreting out those indie publishers that aren't making the bestseller lists -- sometimes you come up with gold, sometimes you come up with tin. But, once in a great while, you come up with something more valuable than platinum and more sparkling than emeralds. Sometimes, you discover an author like Steven William Rimmer.

You find a talent that changes the way you look at literature forever.

Rimmer is the amazing author of several books of pagan fiction -- Coven, The Order, and, of course, Wyccad. Though Rimmer is not the first to take on this kind of subject matter, no one has ever done it better.

The "castle" hidden in the Scottish Highlands was Anya Donagmore's home until the death of her mother. Now, Clan MacLeith claim the castle and most of the surrounding land. Anya has some land, her cottage, her lover, and something from the magic of the forest.

Anya has been loved by the lord of the forest. In return, she received strange powers and a deadly enemy. Someone knows more about those gifts than she does. Whoever that person or whatever it is determined to get rid of Anya before she can explore her powers and cause any more trouble.

Only the goddess and Anya's friends can protect her from the evil that walks the woods.

There is a short snippet of the plot, but nothing I say can prepare you for the experience of actually reading Wyccad. What Rimmer has created is a place so foreign, yet so vividly real, that it is like stepping into another time. The lives of the people in the Highlands are a world apart from the rest of us. Their beliefs, their standard of living, their entire existence, are more like a glimpse of the past than the details of an everyday life.

The people of Wyccad are as primeval as the forest that dominates them. It is an earthy sensuality, a feeling of being a creature of the wilds. The lure of this primitive existence wraps around the reader in the darkness of shadows and the green of growth and the water of life. It is intoxicating.

Wyccad is one of those rare books that has you searching out the author's other works before you are as much as a third into the novel. The urge to own all of Rimmer's books is irresistible by the time you finish the story.

Perhaps, the most amazing thing about Wyccad is the promise that this place exists. That this life is going on now, not centuries ago, and not on another planet -- the temptation to search for it is so strong, and the knowledge that by finding it we would destroy it, so heartbreaking.

As I said: you'll never be the same...

Copyright © 1999 Lisa DuMond

Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. She co-authored the 45th anniversary issue cover of MAD Magazine. Previews of her latest, as yet unpublished, novel are available at Hades Online.

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