Friday, 27 May 2011

The Eye of Erasmus - Time Travel and Romance in one!

This blog is about my favourite books, both those I read long ago, and those I've read recently.

This is my first attempt to write about a recent book, one which I read for the first time earlier this year. Most of the books I read are ones which I've owned for years, and am re-reading. But yes, I do acknowledge that it's good to read new books occasionally, and so I intend to intersperse new books and old in this blog. Last time I wrote about Georgette Heyer, this time it's a living writer, Teresa Geering.

Last year I was on, trying in vain to get my book Belfast Girls (now published by Night Publishing) accepted by Harper Collins (who have published, I think, 2/3 books from this site in the 2 years it's been up. Don't get me started about the way the top six publishers work - they only accept books which are by well established writers or by celebrities. To get published by them, you should be a famous footballer/ model/ comic/ prime minister with a huge bust and with a brilliant ghost writer - I only qualify in one of those categories. I got a nice review and the advice to put my book in either the romance box or the thriller box - it's since been compared to Andre Malroux's The Human Condition, and is, I think, like that, a book about life. Not just a romance or a thriller. Okay, rant over.)

At that time I read a gazillion books, some of which swiftly passed out of my memory and some of which remained. One of those which remained was Teresa Geering's fantasy, The Eye of Erasmus. I found myself enjoying it greatly.

Erasmus is a hermit type, who has visions and falls in love across time with Shasta, a woman whom he first sees in a vision after walking on the beach in a thunderstorm.

I've been interested in time travel since I read The House of Arden by E. Nesbit - still one of the books I like best and re-read constantly - at the age of 10/11, from the children's library. As soon as I could, I went out and bought it.

The copy I read had a picture at the start of Elfrida and Edred jumping from a great height, Elfrida's skirt billowing round her, out of a castle window, and it fascinated me immediately. (Note for Mark Williams - Elfrida is a strong female child character, now I think of it! ) It's a picture which still recurs in my dreams - there's so much of romance in it. (Okay, psychologists, comment, if you must!)

Geering's descriptions bring the action of her fantasy vividly to life. The storm on the beach before Erasmus has his first vision of Shasta: 'The roaring waves...splashed him with the salt spray...the wind roared and whipped up the sea to a frenzy...'

And later, the description of Shasta in the market brings the smells and sounds of an eastern market immediately before us, 'a busy market on a warm day,' where she meets the cat Merlin and the boy Hesper.

The twists and turns of the plot are entrancing, and I don't plan to write too much about this in case I include any spoilers. But the love story between Erasmus - a rather spoilt, vain young man whom we still can't help liking - and Shasta, are at the heart of the story. The descriptions of Shasta in her garden: 'The heady perfume of the white roses...It was wonderful to smell the sea air, mixed with the night perfume of all that grew in the garden...' take us straight into the beauty and romance of Shasta's life, while the descriptions of Erasmus's cave: 'It was set above water level and perfectly dry...near the entrance was a large pile of kindling wood gathered after a recent storm...neat piles on oilcloth were his beloved charts...' create the hermit's cave for us, and the isolated life of Erasmus before his meeting in the ruined house with Shasta.
The visual imagery constantly draws us in.

I was able to buy this book on Kindle for just over £2.00, which still seems amazing to me. We're living in an age when books have suddenly returned to the equivalent prices of the old time 'Shilling Shockers.' (I still see secondhand books around with prices like this on the cover.) And we can take advantage of this, if we're wise, before the eBook becomes established and the average price shoots up, as usually happens.

You can buy The Eye of Erasmus here:

And Tee's blog is at:

Give yourself a treat!

And if no one minds me mentioning it, Belfast Girls, my own book, has been heading up the Sinclair Books Book of the Month contest for the past few weeks. It's recently dropped to 2nd place - you can still vote for it if you haven't done yet, at

and you can buy it on Kindle for £1.39/$1.99 at:


  1. Thanks for that, Gerry. On my Kindle now and looking forward to it.

    Also picked up Edith's (yeah, we're on first name terms!) The House Of Arden for what I thought was a bargain at 70p, until I found Five Children And It was available free!

    The e-publishing world just gets better and better!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Mark - enjoy the books too!

  3. Hi Gerry,
    Just tweeted and facebooked this post!
    And of course I bought it for my Nook :)

    'The Magic of Finkleton'

  4. That's great, KC! I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

  5. Thanks Gerry. I blogged it on mine with your own little promo bit at the bottom.
    Tee xxx

  6. Thanks heaps, Tee - mutual support or what? Great!