Celia Rees

The Stone Testament

The Stone Testament cover

‘… a mature novel of breathtaking scope and compelling readability.’ Financial Times

‘Our world is unravelling.’

As foretold in ancient texts, and marked by the Mayan Long Count, time has nearly run out. Foreshadowed by a sequence of bizarre phenomena and natural disasters, the End Time is fast approaching. Only Abraham Black has the knowledge to stop this from happening, ancient wisdom inherited from those who have gone before him: Edwardian scholar, Aurel Lockwood and American adventurer, Brice Ambrose Stone. With the help of his son, Adam, suicide cult survivor, Zillah, and streetwise Kris, he hopes to outwit the sinister forces ranged against him before it is too late.

To succeed, Adam and the others must travel back into the deep past. They must survive in a doomed world, dominated by terrifying Beast Gods, and defeat an adversary of awesome power who is bent on utter destruction.

About The Stone Testament, Celia says…

The question I am asked most often is, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’. It is also the most difficult question to answer because ideas can come from anywhere and while some books appear just like that, others take years to develop. The Stone Testament was that kind of book.

I could point to my then editor at Scholastic, Kirsten Skidmore, who suggested I write a dark fantasy, but that was not the starting point. When I began to gather ideas, it seemed that the themes and subject matter had always been there, somewhere in my consciousness, going back to my childhood and adolescence.

My brother, Roy, had always been a fantasy fan and he had an enormous influence on my writing because he had a huge influence on my reading as a teenager. He introduced me to ‘weird fiction’, writers like Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Dennis Wheatley, as well as lesser known writers like Arthur Machen. He was also  interested in the strange, the unexplained; the gap between what we think we know and what could be true. He was fascinated by the possibilities of lost worlds, lost civilizations, and was an avid reader of writers like Graham Hancock who seek to prove their existence. I shared his interest and so when I began to think about writing a fantasy, I did not want to write about an alternative world. Instead, I began to think about a lost world, traces of which could be found in our world, in myth, language, anomalous artefacts, things that defy explanation.

While I was gathering ideas, I went to New Zealand, where Owain, the son of old friends, introduced me to the unique flora and fauna and the extraordinary geography of his country. A land which became separated from the super continent Gondwanaland around 100 million years ago and has remained, essentially the same, isolated in the southern ocean, along with Antarctica. Owain also loved fantasy and shared with my brother a desire for impossible things to be true.

I fixed on a lost world that is changing, as our world is; mythologies that reach from the deep past into present; strange artefacts for which we have no adequate explanation. These things, with a dash of ‘weird fiction’, became the raw material of this book.

Now the book is published, but neither Roy nor Owain are here to read it. Both were taken far too soon, Owain, cruelly so. I’ve dedicated the book to them and hope that I have done them justice.

The Stone Testament in paperback – July 2008

The Stone Testament paperback cover