The Heaven Tree Trilogy
by Edith Pargeter
review by Larry Gross
I've loved Ellis Peters' Cadfael series for years, but, having finished reading all volumes at least once, I wanted to
investigate the books Edith Pargeter wrote under her own name.
Wanting to stick with the medieval period, I settled on The Heaven Tree Trilogy, all 900 pages of it: The Heaven Tree,
The Green Branch, and The Scarlett Seed. It follows the growth and development of Harry Talvace and of his son, also named
Harry, from 1200 until 1234.
This was Pargeter's favorite of all her works. I can see why. It's a wonderfully full, sweeping, detailed historical look
into the turbulent years of King Henry's reign, into the Welsh ruler Llewelyn, his personality, his family, and his solidification
of Welsh rule in the face of English rivalries. And into Sir Ralf Isambard, a complex ruler equally perpexed by his love,
hatred and cruelty.
Above all, tho, it is the story of two artists, the mason Harry and his son. What makes an artist? How is he different
from others? What do the dictates of his art mean to him in his \\\"real life\\\" situations? What part does art
play in the progress of humanity? All of this in beautiful, flowing, sometimes romantic, sometimes startlingly realistic prose
heightened to the level of poetry.