Where did the idea come from?
It was time to visit an earlier effort, the fifth novel in the Drakul series. It had always felt that Tepesch Drakul was in some ways unwelcome in that narrative, which concerned a future London dominated and terrorised by a monstrous demonic tree that emerges from the Natural History Museum. The Cazash Tree is part fungus, part animate and needs to escape Earth to continue its expansion, but to do so requires the sporing, using infected humans as disseminators of male spores.
The demonic tree has an army of followers addicted to its deadly sap (‘kine’). The tree is an offence against Nature. Soon enough, nature goddess Annan resurrects a champion in the unlikely form of druid and mage Myrddin Wyllt. Myrddin must use ancient magic to defeat the Tree.
Enter the heroes…
Seven unlikely heroes will help him. These include Hama, the woman who originally caused his death at the hands of a fanatical monk, a hell-hound and a 17 year old blind gunslinger named Swift.
The Tree infects many of the Nature loving Edenists living in the forests surrounding London. They are doomed to become living spore-bearers and obey the Tree. They try to prevent Myrddin but will all die if the Demon Tree spores. Two ‘gifted’ children are Myrddin’s heroes – possessing powerful magic, the result of the earlier apocalypse.
Fortified towns hide within the forests, containing relict civilisations. The former city of Guildford is one such town, run by the De Veres. Obsessed with securing the Gifts, Gwynne De Vere kidnaps gifted children to experiment upon. Gwynne will follow Myrddin, alongside two bough runners (servants of the demonic tree). They comprise Swift, a blind gun slinger, and the mother who abandoned her.
Myrddin must secure the magical symbols to summon a demon capable of defeating the Cazash Tree. However, the demon in question is far more dangerous than that, and it does not come alone.
By the end of the novel, the planet faces a new future and must choose which direction to take.
Very topical these days.