Joseph of Arimathea’s Treasure

The thrice widowed vowess, Lady Apollonia of Aust, brings her servants to Glastonbury, Somerset, in early February, 1397, to help her son and his three small children cope with the death of his beloved wife. Apollonia assumes that her first task must be to enable Sir Chad and her grandchildren deal with crippling grief.

The story opens when the Lady and her affinity ride into the town and pass the walls of its colossal abbey. They find themselves overpowered by the dominating presence of the Benedictine monastery which was able to claim primacy among religious houses in all of England. It claimed its foundation in the first century after Christ with the arrival in Glastonbury of one of Christ’s secret disciples, Joseph of Arimathea.

Apollonia and her household settle in Sir Chad’s home, unaware of the arrival of two Druids to a farm near Glastonbury, from the Court of the King of Tyrconnell in northwestern Ireland. The Druids’ secret purpose, foretold them by an oracle, was to restore the Celts and Druidic power to the West Country of England.

A renowned physician of Glastonbury who died months earlier, has left his wife to defend against accusations of his malpractice. While Apollonia seeks to heal the wounds of her own family’s loss, the Lady also takes into her home Paul Medford, orphaned teenage son of the deceased physician, after his mother is found murdered on the town square.

Young Paul shares with the Lady Apollonia his conviction that his mother was killed because she had become aware of a connection between a series of major robberies in the town and some aspect of the church. Paul is unable to add any detail but is assaulted when he tries to ask specific questions of those merchants who had been robbed.

The Lady learns that a disreputable Pardoner, whom she knows from his youth, has come to the abbey to sell fraudulent relics at an exorbitant cost. She informs the abbey prior of the deception being attempted against them. The loss of the Pardoner’s sale and its considerable profits to him drives the pardoner to became drunk and disorderly in the Market Place. He is taken captive by the local gang leader, sobered, and made to do service for her.

Apollonia learns that her son’s home is to be robbed after he is called away to serve the Court of King Richard II. She places herself at the center of the investigation to determine the criminals’ identities, all the while struggling to understand a number of ancient Celtic truths which define the town of Glastonbury and the mysterious rocky peak called the Glastonbury Tor. Apollonia begins her investigation by questioning the motives of a local anchorite, Brother Johanus. She seeks to learn the true purpose of Druids who have come to Somerset. She discovers the real connection between crime in Glastonbury, an important officer of the abbey, and Celtic dreams to reclaim authority in the land of the Durotriges.

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