Book Highlight: Beneath the Hallowed Hill

Anne Le Clair travels to Glastonbury with her fiance, Egyptologist and mystic Michael Levy, to investigate a house she has inherited from a mysterious aunt...only to find trouble waiting. One of Avalon's sacred twin springs is failing. Together, Anne and Michael try to restore the water flow, but discover there is much more at stake: the Illuminati master Alexander Cagliostro has activated an ancient crystal tower, tearing a hole in time that threatens so much more than one sacred spring. Meanwhile, in ancient Atlantis, Megan, priestess of the Crystal Matrix Chamber, flees the destruction of her world carrying with herself a vital artifact. (Book 2 of the Power Places Series)


Something woke Anne. She listened for a sound, but heard only the ticking of an old clock downstairs. She rolled over and snuggled down under the duvet, but sleep did not return. Rather than toss and turn, she crept out of bed, careful not to wake Michael. In the closet among Cynthia's clothes, she found some old jeans and a shirt. At the window, the dark sky held a faint promise of light. Birds twittered in the apple orchard. The earth lay suspended in that silent moment before the tides swing toward morning. Anne made her way down the stairs, avoiding the squeaky step, and found a woolen cloak and clogs next to the back door. She slipped them on and walked through the dark backyard. A rickety wooden gate opened onto the gentle green slope. Above her, Anne could just make out the long finger of St. Michael's Tower. She climbed the wet grass to the steps running up the hill. She stopped to catch her breath at a convenient bench, waiting until the ache in her ribs subsided, then pushed to the top and sat against the old stone tower facing east, waiting for the sun to rise. She closed her eyes for a minute and sank quickly into deep silence.

From the west side of the tower, a lone voice lifted in a wordless chant. She opened her eyes and half turned to see who else had left their warm bed to climb the Tor and greet the dawn, but instead of the tower, she found herself leaning against a tall standing stone. Anne leapt to her feet and backed away.

"Good morning, Cynthia," a voice called from behind her.

Anne whirled to find an older man walking up the last slope of the Tor, his breath steaming in the chill.

The chant cut off mid phrase. Anne turned back to look for the singer and almost rammed her nose into St. Michael's Tower.

"You're up early," the man said.

"What the..." Anne turned back to the newcomer. He wore a woolen cloak similar in make to the one Anne had grabbed from the back porch, but his was a darker brown, almost matching his hair.

"Oh, you're not...I thought..." He came to a halt.

"I'm Anne, Cynthia's niece."

He stood close enough now for Anne to see wisps of silver in his beard. She pointed behind her. "Did you hear someone chanting just now?"

"You heard chanting." It was a statement.

"Yes. And I thought..." She pointed to the tower, then shook her head. "Never mind."

"You thought?"

"The tower disappeared and I saw a standing stone."

He nodded. "Some people see a ring of stones, some just the one."

Anne gave him a closer look.

"When is Cynthia coming back?"

She hesitated. "You haven't heard?"

He shook his head. "Sometimes we are out of touch for months at a time, but we always seem to find each other again."

She took a deep breath. "I'm afraid Aunt Cynthia died late last year in New York."

"Died?" He stepped toward her. "But, such a vital woman."

"It was sudden. A heart attack." No sense telling the world it had been murder.

The man stared at her, eyes wide. Then he shook his head. "Cynthia and I were . . . neighbors." He offered his hand and Anne shook it. "My name is Garth."

"I'm sorry to bring you this news."

He ducked his head and leaned on his walking stick. Finally, he looked up and studied her face. "Anne." He shook his head. "I don't recall..."

"She and my mother were estranged. Cynthia probably never mentioned me."

"Ah, so you're the one."

"Excuse me?"

"The niece she had so much hope for."

Anne stifled her surprise. "So I'm told."

"You've taken up residence?"

Anne nodded. "I inherited the house. We - my fiance and I - we came to see about it. Visit Glastonbury."

"And you're an early riser?"

"Actually something woke me. Probably jet lag."

"I felt it, too." He turned back to the east and gazed out across the downs. The bright curve of the sun lit the horizon. The fields greened under his gaze.

Garth turned back to her. "I hope you and your fiance will come to dinner. I would like to hear more about Cynthia's passing. Perhaps I can help you know her better."

"We'd be delighted."

"It was good to meet you." He walked into the middle of the tower, his shoulders bowed.

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About the Author:

Theresa Crater has published two contemporary fantasies, Beneath the Hallowed Hill & Under the Stone Paw and several short stories, most recently “White Moon” in Riding the Moon and “Bringing the Waters” in The Aether Age: Helios. She’s also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Colorado with her Egyptologist partner and their two cats. Visit her website at