Star Dancer

Book 1: The Book of Air

Buy Star Dancer here: Paperback / Kindle

It is the end of the Iron Age and the eagle of Rome is hovering over Britain’s shores. The druids believe that a warrior-magician, born during a meteorite shower, will save the land. Two children are born that night: Tegen, and her foster brother Griff, a ‘half-head’. But both are rejected.
Helped by Griff’s unconditional and unfailing love, Tegen struggles to be trained as the expected Star Dancer. Together they face dark spells, treachery and malice, unlocking the true magic that will save Britain.
But for Tegen, this is only the beginning.

This is how the story begins: Click here
We’ve also got a map of where Tegen lived and an interview with Beth about how she wrote the book. You can also read what people say about Star Dancer.

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The launch of Star Dancer with Charlotte dancing ‘Tegen’

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An Iron Age round house and a dug-out canoe.

Map:
Untitled
Tegen’s family lived just outside of the village (about the middle of the map). The gateway to Tir na nÓg is near the top of the map, that is now called Wookey Hole and can be visited. The circular chamber and the burial chamber are deep under the Mendips.

Interview below

Helen Harvey continues her interview with Beth about her writing.

Who is your favourite character in Star Dancer and why?

I love Tegen, but dear old Griff stole my heart. Everyone needs a Gilda in their life … oh dear, I think I loved them all, except Derowen and Gorgans of course. But even they might not have been so angry and bitter if life had been kinder to them – who knows? Perhaps they were born that way.

How did you think up the characters?

I didn’t really, I just started telling the story and the characters started to appear and take form in a way that made the story happen. It’s a bit like Mark Twain’s ‘Topsy’ – they ‘just grewed.’
Once they had started to live and breathe I did make sure they had a solid past and believable motivations.
None of them are people I know in real life, but they all have aspects of reality. The viciousness of Derowen is something I have seen in the world, as is Gilda’s kindness. Griff is very loosely based on a Down’s Syndrome young man I had the honour to work with once.
They are all very alive to me.

Star Dancer is partly about equal rights for women. Do you feel women in the present don’t have equal rights, and is that why you wrote Star Dancer?

Star Dancer is about human rather than women’s rights – I tried to explore equal rights for everyone. Tegen and Griff are judged on their outer shell, not for their inner abilities. Some women do have a raw deal, as do many men, and a wide variety of people who are in any shape or form ‘different.’
I feel passionately about the fact that so many people in our society aren’t acknowledged and given the dignity of being themselves. People need to feel valued and respected for what they can contribute. I am very cross when people are not given a chance to shine. Without that dignity, people begin to hate themselves and then they begin to destroy people and things around them… It happens everywhere.
What do you think makes Star Dancer such a good book?

Help!
I certainly hope it’s good… I think a good book allows the reader to become immersed in that world, whether it’s ‘real’ or ‘fantasy.’ One becomes a part of it, and identifies totally with what is happening and doesn’t want to leave. If that works with ‘Star Dancer’ then maybe it’s because I love Tegen’s world and enjoyed inviting you in!
What do you think?

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Inside the funeral caves
Reviews below

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The Somerset Levels in Flood 2013 – the ‘Winter Seas’ as Tegen would have known them – but probably even deeper!

Trade Reviews for Star Dancer

Daily Telegraph:
A rich, if shaggily textured tapestry

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookclub/3666984/Bookclub.html

“It’s a great relief to find a book with a girl heroine that isn’t all about what to wear and what friends to have or not have,” says Frank Cottrell Boyce. “What struck me was how lightly this book wears its learning. You’re left in no doubt that Beth knows her subject, but at the same time, you don’t get wedges of Wikipedia or clumps of Google suddenly appearing in the middle of the text.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookclub/3666984/Bookclub.html

Book Bag
A rewarding and complex but accessible read in the vein of Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Highly recommended for all junior lovers of historical fantasy.

Julia Eccleshare / Love reading4kids
Myth and magic is cleverly interwoven in this thrilling and atmospheric story set in Britain during the Iron Age. Tegen finds she has unexpected magical powers which lead her away from the simple life and into great danger. Intrigue and old enmities threaten to overpower Tegen but she bravely steps up to take her rightful place as a druid.

John Lloyd Waterstones Bath
Brightly carved on the stars is Tegen’s destiny, to become the most gifted high druid. The spiritual and bodily protector of the people of the Winter Seas, Tegen has to live up to a legacy reluctant to deliver such powerful faith on the shoulders of a young girl. Prophesied by elder druid Witton, a Star Dancer is born; however perplexing destiny must manifest itself and fate run its course. Tegen endeavors to learn the rituals of the ancients with meager but loving support from her half head brother and the always compassionate Gilda. Hampered by the jealous meddling of the wickedly malicious Derowen, Tegen needs to use her own spiritual guidance amongst her hesitant community. ‘Star Dancer’ as that rare unexplained enchantment, Beth Webb creates a magical intimacy with the characters through a watertight narrative. Capturing a powerful historical imagery, ‘Star Dancer’ is visibly well researched in English Druid folk law. Beth Webb proposes a genuine talent in utilizing deep emotions from spiritual abandonment too overwhelming sorrow. Comparable to Michelle Paver, Beth Webb has the breathtaking fascination to create high expectations for the ensuing novels.

Carousel (editor’s Choice) An absorbing tale –

Achuka: A book with genuine Buzz

Books for Keeps – a many layered and satisfying tale.

For reader’s reviews go to:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1604800.Star_Dancer

and

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Dancer-Beth-Webb/dp/0956867332/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367414563&sr=8-1&keywords=beth+webb+star+dancer