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If There Be Giants

Mallory Jacks and her best friend, Paisley Bourne, had an unusual hobby as children; with Indiana Jones as their role model, they explored the hills around their Cornish homes, collecting every scrap of history they could find. Years later, Drs. Jacks and Bourne, once again working together, are summoned to a farm where the farmer has uncovered a possible henge site. At first glance, on a rainy English day, neither doctor suspects that there’s anything more unusual about the find other than the fact that it’s unusual to find a henge buried. However, as they begin to unearth the stones, they make a discovery that has the potential to set both the scientific and the religious communities back on their heels.

If There Be Giants is a story of archaeology and myths, giants and visions, set in Cornwall, the seat of all British legend. Ellison Blackburn has created a story richly woven with archaeological detail and Christian mythology, and peopled it with her strongly-characterised protagonists. The wealth of technical detail provides a brilliant contrast to the supernatural elements, while the characters deal with very human concerns; a flaky grad student, trying to conduct a dig in the rain, an unreliable car; all of which underscore the unbelievable facts that the dig uncovers. This is one of the author’s strongest books to date, a fascinating debut to the new Watchers series.

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