The images you'll see as you scroll down to the current text are all part of the story telling in my novel, Realms of Gold:Ritual to Romance.

Bianca Caldwell, pen name, Bianca Fiore, is a writer for an art magazine. In each of her monthly stories she describes an object used in ancient ritual.

Halstatt Tartan

This is a real piece of Hallstatt tartan.

Elizabeth Barber uses a cleaned up piece for the cover of her book. 

Hochdorf Prince Wagon

Drinking and banqueting vessels were placed on or in the cauldron, and stacked on the bed of a chariot or wagon that occupied the eastern portion of the chamber. The chariot had four wheels each wheel had ten spokes. The chariot had a draught pole 7 feet long (2.38m) and the height of the box was just above its axles. The wagon box was not attached to the axles, so it was removable. It was decorated with iron sheathing. He had been carried by this chariot to the grave site

Hochdorf Prince

The Celtic Burial ground of the Hochdorf Prince was one of the few undisturbed royal burials of the Early Celtic Period. The passage grave was in an excellent state of preservation and allowed the first detailed insights into the world of the Celtic princes to be gathered. 


The Outer Timber Log Grave Chamber

The Hochdorf prince's appearance could be reconstructed as well as certain aspects of his way of life.The barrow was found to contain two wooden burial chambers one situated inside the other. In the inner chamber was found the remains of a man and a number of burial gifts. 

The man who occupied the log cabin-style burial chamber had been an impressive figure in life. Visibly striking he stood 6'3" tall (1.92 m) towering over his contemporaries. He was about 45 years of age when he died and was laid out in state on an elaborately decorated bronze couch thought to be of Greek origin. The couch was held up by cast bronze human figures riding unicycles.

One of the legs of the couch

Hochdorf Prince Kline

In 1977, an amateur archaeologist wandering the fields near Hochdorf, Germany stumbled across an ancient burial mound that had been plowed away to the point that the burial chamber itself was exposed. He reported his find to the authorities, and a major archaeological excavation followed.   The burial turned out to be that of an Iron Age magnate who died around 530 BC. He was laid to rest on a bronze couch 9 feet long, which rests on wheels shaped as female unicyclists.

The "chieftain" was laid out on the couch(Kline), with his head toward the south, on thick layers of plant material and animal furs.

Front View

Back View

There is a theory that the Hallstatt Celts adopted the Greek symposion in a conscious and strenuous attempt to become Hellenized. They did not, the theory goes, observe and imitate the Near Eastern practice of reclining and the Scythian-Eurasian use of the drinking horn directly; instead, they imitated the Etruscan and Greek symposion. The path of the kline is from Asia Minor via Greece and Italy into the centers of West Hallstatt culture. In the context of the large amount of Etruscan and Greek bronze dinnerware the was placed in the tomb with the Hochdorf "Celtic prince," it is not surprising that not only portions of the sets of drinking dishes, but also Mediterranean drinking practices, such as the reclining on klinai, were also adopted.

Hochdorf Prince: Museum Display

Author Interview - Terry Stanfill - Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance

My Addiction Books

Terry Stanfill received her degree in English Literature with a minor in Medieval History from the University of Connecticut. She raised funds for the restoration of San Pietro di Castello, the ancient cathedral in Venice and was decorated by the president of Italy with the Ordine Al Merito. We are honored to have Terry standoff some time for a written interview on her novel Realms of Gold.

The novel Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance is a present-day romance that combines 2007 with historical occurrences that took place in the 1953’s. In your latest release you make mention of the fact Camelot’s location is discovered by your characters in France and not England. I’m sure this statement caused many ripples to rush your way. Tell our readers a bit more about the plot and some of your favorite characters. What method did you use in writing your novel?

Really, there are two parts to this question: Part 1: So far so good as far as controversy with Arthurian friends, but I'm sure that there'll be some--perhaps many--who will disagree with me about Camelot and its location in France. Arthur was a legendary British king, and anglophile that I am, I’d have never believed otherwise.  However, the historical Arthur Riothamus, now believed to have been he King Arthur of legend by top academic scholars, was indeed a Briton, a valiant soldier who fought for the Romans fending off Goths and Visigoths in what is now north eastern France.

Arthur Riothamus (chieftain, King) was wounded in battle in Bourges, and carried by his men to Avallon which was not far from where he fell.  It was in Avallon that he died.  This is fact and not fiction, so now we have a real Arthur with a connection to a real Avallon, and we can begin to look for other clues about his life, his places, how and where his legends might have begun--and the man whose vision gave us the idea of Camelot.  .

Part 2: (PLOT, CHARACTERS) The prologue begins in the village of Vix, Burgundy, France in 1953, with the actual discovery of a massive bronze krater, in the grave of a Celtic woman.  The Krater was forged in the South of Italy circa 510 B.C.  How, I wondered, did this masterpiece of bronze smithing find its way from gold-rich and legendary Sybaris in southern Italy, to Latisco, a Celtic citadel, now known as Mont Lassois? Bianca Caldwell a writer of vignettes for an            art magazine, pen name Fiore, and Giovanni Di Serlo, an Italian archaeologist, are   determined to know how and why this immense vessel made its way from Sybaris, a wealthy ancient city in the south of Italy, to the village of Vix in Burgundy. After a series of frightening events, Bianca accepts Giovanni’s invitation and leaves New York for Italy to visit the site of his dig, and before long they begin their quest, taking the route of the Krater from Sybaris to the village of Vix. There are three other subplots in the novel, all woven together at the end. 

As a writer myself I have gone through various levels of growth. I continually end up wondering whether things might have been a lot easier had I just had more information when I started.  For example there is the ever so popular Snow Flake method created by Randy Ingermanson. Then we have our regular daily news from Dave Farland. How did you end up going about getting your mind to paper?

I've not used any particular method.  I don't have the patience with following software directions. Once, before software for writing had taken off--maybe in the early 90s, I tried a system--but I had such a hard time figuring it out, I abandoned it and continued to work the way I always have--early in the morning, with a double espresso recording a dream or a fragment of a dream This helps to stir up the unconscious--that's where the imagination begins its work. Also free association helps, and, as a Jungian, I have great faith in the depths of the unconscious.  Often while daydreaming ideas float up to consciousness and I try to snatch them, write them down before they become submerged again--during daydreaming, characters begin to have ideas, they speak, their problems get solved or they arise, the plot begins to thicken and subplots may emerge--sometimes as a surprise. Sometimes when I write this way and read the prose later, I myself am surprised. Or maybe a word or a song comes into mind and stays there. Write down the title and check out the words.  Sometimes the most amazing insights arise from the lyrics and sometimes I can work them into the narrative.  As for getting my mind on paper and constructing stories, for me it depends on beginning with a strong and simple narrative, a clear and purposeful voice, maybe in the first person for a new writer.  And spare the description unless it has true bearing on the narrative! I remember the day my first editor gave me a serious talk about this--knowing that I loved artistic, descriptive, detail. 

And reading, reading your favorite writers is so important.  I've always read a lot. I entered our library reading contests--the first when I was nine years old. I read even more now that I have a Kindle. When people tell me, "Oh--I must have a book in my hand," they're usually people who don't read a lot. By contrast, my    serious bibliophile friends are hardly ever without a Kindle. I never leave the house without mine--just in case I have to wait in an office, or in my car.

What tips could you give aspiring authors into achieving the level of being published? Randy for instance has a questionnaire which fellow authors can complete. The questionnaire eventually tells you where you are on your road to being published. Points he lists as parts of his questionnaire are–do you have critique partners? Do you ever attend writing conferences? As a published author yourself what do you feel is relevant on the road to get published?

Years ago I did attend two writers' conferences, but in the long run, for me it was trial and error, draft by draft, revision by revision to arrive at a polished product.  This builds confidence, sometimes conferences do not--at least they did not for me. I'm very grateful to a few friends who are happy to read whatever I've written, and a good friend who is a professor of English Literature--Shakespeare and William Blake--who is always happy to share her knowledge and love of the English language with me--and to critique my work.  Dr. Kenneth Atchity, long time friend, brilliant scholar, novelist, and now my publisher, is also my mentor, always ready to listen and advise. Dr. Eric Haskell, of French and Humanities, Scripps College, Claremont, California, who first listened to my ideas about Realms of Gold--and whose words, "Terry, I think you might have something here."--were all I needed for me to begin my personal quest--to tell the story of The Krater of Vix.  

As a published author who is your target audience?
Young adults to senior citizens. 

Are you currently working on anything new? What could fans look out for?  
I’m working on Tale of the Fortuny Gown--set in 1984, the year of the       Olympiad in Los Angeles. Very different from my other books.

Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance was made available on Amazon on  20 March 2012. How has it been going with reviews and sales?  

We’ve just started to get the word out about the book, and doing  interviews (like this one) so it’s too early to say. But responses from readers, as on amazon “reviews,” have been very positive and encouraging—and we have over 6,000 “likes” on Facebook.

What was your inspiration behind writing the novel?

My first inspiration came from reading a book on the discovery of the site of vanished Sybaris in Southern Italy. Sybaris was famous for its love of luxury. It was destroyed by Kroton, a neighboring city state in 510 B.C.  In the mid-sixties the exact site of Sybaris was discovered by a team from the University of Pennsylvania. After reading the book several times, I put it away until I came upon the monumental Krater of Vix, circa 510. And when I learned that the great bronze Krater of Vix was made in Sybaris, I knew it was time to begin to tell its story from my imagination.

Where can people / fans follow your work and contact you for any      enquiries?

The best way is by email, and visit or Facebook’s Realms of Gold page where I’ve been responding personally to comments from my growing “Likes”—over 6,000 already, from all over the world.

Are there any other novels we can look out for? Where can readers find them?          

The Blood Remembers, published first in 2001.  Now on Kindle and also available in hard cover.  A Tale of the Fortuny Gown, soon to be published as Story Merchant E[book on Kindle

Who is Terry the author?

I'm of Italian descent, majored in English Literature/Medieval History. I and Dennis, my husband, a Rhodes scholar, lived in Oxford, England for three years, then in Washington, D.C, New York City, finally in the Pasadena, California area where we are to this day. I'm a long time Director of  Save Venice, Inc. raising funds to restore and preserve the art and architecture of that endangered city, a founding Life Trustee of  Los Angeles Opera , and an Overseer of the Huntington Library and 'Art Collections in San Marino, California where I       was a Reader. My subject of interest--the Normans in South Italy and Sicily in the 11th and 12th centuries, provided background material for my first novel, The Blood Remembers.

Tell our readers a bit more about yourself what made you decided to write. What do you do besides writing?

I have always written something--lots of long letters (by hand), poetry, a few short stories, but I was always daunted at the thought of writing a novel, creating a world.  Sometimes, at bedtime, I'd write the first page of a novel in my head, and that page would change many times, until I finally wrote the words. Tomorrow I must leave my home forever.  And my story, The Blood Remembers, went on from there. Those were the magic words.  
As for what else I do, I try to walk at least four times a week, work out at the gym three times.  I enjoy working in my garden, right now my tomatoes are red on the vine, we enjoyed our first bunch of luscious green grapes last night, and zucchini bread is ready to go into the oven.

Hochdorf Prince

Gilded in preparation for the afterlife, this 42cm long, bronze and iron dagger was carried by the prince in life. The blade was protected by a richly decorated sheath. The gold coating made for the burial consisted of 16 parts, all precisely fitted onto the dagger without any fold.

The Hochdorf Chieftain's Grave is a richly-furnished burial chamber. Regarded as the "Tutankamon of the Celts", it was discovered in 1977 near Hochdorf an der Enz in Baden-Württemberg, Germany). A man of 40 years old, 6 ft 2 in (178 cm) tall was laid out on a bronze couch. He had been buried with a gold-plated torc on his neck, a bracelet on his right arm, and most notably, thin embossed gold plaques were on his now-disintigrated shoes.

Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance Reviewed By Sandra Shwayder Sanchez for

This fascinating novel is prefaced with a quote from the book From Ritual to Romance  written by Jessie L. Weston in 1920:

“That the man who first told the story, and boldly, as befitted a born teller of tales, wedded it to Arthurian legend, was himself connected by descent with the ancient Faith, himself actually held the Secret of the Grail, and told, in purposely romantic form, that of which he knew. I am firm firmly convinced, not do I think that the time is far distant when the missing links will be in our hand, and we shall be able to weld once more the golden chain which connects Ancient Ritual with Medieval Romance.”

For readers interested in Arthurian legend, ancient archaeology, the development of ancient philosophies and religions this book will be a journey well worth taking.

Terry Stanfill combines a stunning knowledge of Mediterranean history, art and archaeology to create an engrossing tale of mystery and romance.  Bianca, An American of Italian heritage, is a student of art history who writes for an art magazine. Giovanni is an Italian archaeologist. Neither of them really wants to attend the wedding of a mutual cousin in Venice but for different reasons, they both do and there they meet each other and embark upon a journey of destiny, which Giovanni explains to her:

“In this case there’s no such thing as coincidence. Again it’s synchronicity -events unlikely to ever occur together by chance.  You see, Bianca the culmination of synchronicity is its direct revelation of destiny, the design of the whole universe working itself out in the display of each unique human life. And since you delve so deeply into the unconscious synchronicity is activated and can occur frequently.  Again, its all that right brain business I keep talking about.” (p. 169)

Bianca is an intuitive who studies the diary of her great grandmother Nina and sometimes dreams or has visions of what Nina saw in her life.  And Interspersed into the 2007 narrative are bits of medieval & ancient history in the words of historical characters. It is Pythagoras, for instance, who makes a claim that Bianca and Giovanni would each agree with (as exemplified in their lives):

“The highest and the fewest are those who love wisdom, those whose lives are devoted to pursuits of the mind – the philosophers, whose entire lives given to searching for the true wisdom of the universe.  Perhaps theirs are not only the greatest gifts, but also the greatest challenges.” (p.173)

The story culminates when Bianca and Giovanni discover the real site of Camelot together and thence discover their destiny . . .  together. Along the way, the author also demonstrates her knowledge of music, neuro-psychology and Italian cuisine. Every detail is perfect and the reader. upon completion of this literary journey, remembers it as if it were a  real life journey to Italy, Greece, France & back into time.

Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections (A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one novel, Stillbird.

Hochdorf Prince

The east side of the tomb drinking horns, like the one above,  were found on the walls enough to serve nine people.

Hochdorf Prince

Instead of weapons and armor,  the Prince was surrounded by the makings of a fabulous feast: a giant cauldron bronze that was half full of mead, gold and silver dishes, drinking horns.

At the foot of the couch was this large cauldron decorated with three lions around the brim.

Hochdorf Prince

The Prince had been buried with a gold-plated torc on his neck, a bracelet on his right arm, and most notably, thin embossed gold plaques were on his now-disintigrated shoe.

Hallstatt Celts of the Early Iron Age

The Hallstatt culture spanned central Europe, with its center in the area around Hallstatt in Central Austria and spread westward through Europe.

These elegant shoes were found in what is now called the Hochdorf Chieftain's Grave, circa 530 B.C. (about thirty years prior to the discovery of the Krater of Vix, in Burgundy, France. in 1953). 

An amateur archaeologist brought this rich burial site to light in 1977. By then, the originally 20 ft (6 m) high burial mound covering the grave, which is about 200 ft (60 m) in diameter, had been compressed to about 3 ft (1 m) height and was hardly discernible due to centuries of erosion and agricultural use.

This "prince",  as he is sometimes called, was a man, roughly 40 years of age and 6 ft 2 in (187 cm) tall. His final resting place was a long, richly decorated 9 ft (275 cm) bronze couch on wheels inside the burial chamber. Judging by other objects found there, this man probably had been a Celtic chieftain. These Celts had a thriving trade with the Etruscan tribes of Central Italy, and the couch is regarded as Etruscan manufacture.

Ancient Gold: Georgian National Museum

Fearing a Bolshevik attack, Georgian authorities sent the golden treasures to France in 1921 to keep them safe. They returned to Georgia in the 1950s.


Pair of Gold Bracelets with Boar Finials Achaemenid, mid-5th century B.C [Credit: Georgian National Museum] 

Ancient Gold: Georgian National Museum

Some of the treasure found at Vani has toured to museums around the world. The new exhibition in Tbilisi includes items never before shown to the public. Georgia’s culture minister believes the museum will be vital in teaching the country’s children about their heritage.

Gold Headdress Ornament with openwork decoration Vani, second half of 4th century B.C [Credit: Georgian National Museum]

Ancient Gold: Georgian National Museum

These are some of the most important artifacts from Georgia’s long and varied history dating back thousands of years. More than 100 exhibits give a unique glimpse into the region that lay between ancient Greece and Persia.

Pair of Gold Temple Ornaments with Horsemen Vani, first half of 4th century B.C [Credit: Georgian National Museum]

PR Web Discusses the Historic Elements of Terry Stanfill's New Novel Relams of Gold.

Was the Original Camelot Actually in France?

Art expert Terry Stanfill reveals surprising historic possibility for King Arthur legend.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) 

Planning already is underway to mark the 50th anniversaryof the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 2013. Commemorative events in Dallas and in churches across the country are being organized. TV host Bill O’Reilly is set to release a new book, “Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot,” this fall, and a feature movie, “The Kennedy Detail,” is planned for release next fall.

“As people ponder the legacy of President Kennedy and his ‘Camelot,’ it’s a good time to revisit the original Camelot of King Arthur legend, and I have compelling new evidence about where it may have been located,” says art expert Terry Stanfill, author of "Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance" (, a novel of ancient history and modern romance that posits her new theory about Camelot.

“The Arthurian legend is so ancient, and yet it has been one of the most enduring interests in Western civilization,” she says. “It’s exciting to think that after all of these centuries, we have a strong case for a real Camelot.”

Educated in Medieval history, Stanfill has traveled extensively through Asia and Europe, particularly France and Italy, and researched the art and artifacts. She offers this primer on King Arthur, including her own surprising theory about the true location of the original Camelot:
  •     The legend
Arthur as king was first mentioned in “The History of the Kings of Britain” by Geoffrey of Monmouth, 1100-1155. A generation later, Chrétien de Troyes, a French bard and poet, began to weave stories about King Arthur's court, introducing the characters Lancelot, Guinevere and Perceval. He was the first to mention Camelot, King Arthur’s home, describing it as "a place by a river, surrounded by forests and plains beyond."
  •     The reality
Toward the end of the Roman Empire, circa 450 AD, Arthur Riothamus, King of the Britons, was hired by the Romans to fight off invading Goths and Visigoths. There is documentation from multiple sources that Arthur spent a lot of time in Burgundy, France. He died after a battle near Bourges and was taken by his men to Avallon in France, a town that had existed for centuries. This is fact, not fiction.
  •     Avalon
While many people believe the mystical Avalon of Arthurian legend was in England, perhaps near Glastonbury, there is no record of a place called Avalon in that country.The Avallon region of France, however, has long existed. It was and still is known for its fruit trees and vines, much like the lush island of legend.
  •     Camelot
While many presume Camelot was in England, the extraordinary discovery in 2007 of the remains of an ancient community on Mont Lassois in France makes Stanfill wonder if this was actually the true Camelot. The community is near Avallon, and among the buildings unearthed there appear to be the remnants of a palace, including a great hall, where there is evidence of feasting.

“When Chrétien de Troyes wrote of Camelot, this place may have been held in the memory of the locals as a place where peace, prosperity and the good life held a long reign,” Stanfill says. “His vision was a nostalgic tribute to a distant, golden age of tranquility that was on this hilltop.”
Stage director Manfred Flynn Kuhnert, an Arthurian legend aficionado and teaching fellow at Harvard College, says Stanfill offers the most compelling evidence he’s heard for the historical existence of Camelot and its location in France.

“The citadel of Latisco on Mont Lassois -- a site of palatial buildings unprecedented in the Celtic world – is not far from Avallon,” Kuhnert says. “Arthur Riothamus’ time in Burgundy is documented, and we know that the first person to write about Arthur was the bard Chrétien, who lived in the area.

“This place is exactly as he described it: ‘on a hill, a place by a river, surrounded by forests, with plains beyond.’ Terry Stanfill may well have it right.”

About Terry Stanfill

Terry Stanfill holds a degree in English literature with a minor in medieval history. She is an Overseer of the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. An enthusiastic preservationist, she was decorated by the president of Italy with the Ordine al Merito, Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana, and more recently as Commendatore, for her fundraising efforts for the restoration of San Pietro di Castello, the ancient cathedral of Venice. She is a former international representative for Christie’s auction house and former director of Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif. “Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance” is her third novel. Her first two are “The Blood Remembers” and “A Tale of the Fortuny Gown.” Stanfill is married to Dennis Stanfill, former CEO of 20th Century Fox and MGM Studios.

Ancient Gold: Georgian National Museum

Georgia is the country of the Golden Fleece, Georgia is the country of very early metal. And archaeological remains are proving it. Treasure  highlight all these finds. One part earliest metallurgy, very earliest gold – (it) starts around 5,000 years old.” 

Detail of Gold Necklace with Turtle Pendants Vani, mid-5th century B.C [Credit: Georgian National Museum]

Books, Bones and Buffy is Hosting Realms of Gold Giveaway!


Giveaway! REALMS OF GOLD: RITUAL TO ROMANCE by Terry Stanfill

From Tammy Sparks, Books, Bones & Buffy:

Yesterday I reviewed this beautifully written story that combines adventure, history and romance with irresistible characters, and today the author is kind enough to offer up three signed paperback of Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance. Click here to read review.

This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, and ends Monday, September 10 at midnight, PST. Please fill out the form On Books, Bones & Buffy Website to enter!   

You can receive extra entries for “Liking” Realms of Gold and Books, Bones & Buffy on Facebook, following Tammy Sparks on Twitter , on leaving a comment or the review post of Realms of Gold.  

Don’t forget to go back to website and fill out the entry form!

Ancient Gold: Georgian National Museum

The Georgian National Museum has opened its doors again after a six year refurbishment with a glittering exhibition of ancient gold from the fabled land where legend has it that Jason and the Argonauts searched for the Golden Fleece. 

Gold Diadem with Animal Combat Scenes and Temple Ornaments Vani, first half of 4th century B.C. Diadem [Credit: Georgian National Museum]

Statue. Colchis, Land of the Golden Fleece

REALMS OF GOLD: RITUAL TO ROMANCE by Terry Stanfill – Review

Books, Bones & Buffy

 An Italian archeologist and a dreamy scholar from New York cross paths and go on a journey through time in this riveting novel by Terry Stanfill. Trying to describe Realms of Gold is hard because this intricate tale is filled with not only detailed descriptions of Greek and Italian artifacts and the people who created them, but layer upon layer of complex characters, both past and present. Add to that Stanfill’s gorgeous writing style and you have a winning combination.

Bianca Caldwell writes articles for an art magazine, and gets her inspiration from dreams and visions. Giovanni Di Serlo is an Italian archeologist working on a secret dig in Puglia, Italy. They meet at a wedding in Venice, strike up a conversation, and realize how much they have in common. Bianca is taken with Giovanni and his erudite personality, but he is initially turned off by Bianca’s dour wardrobe and plain facial features. Nonetheless, they spend some time together in Venice and become friends over their common love of the past. It is the story of the Vix Krater, an immense bronze vessel on display in a French museum, that captivates both their imaginations and compels Bianca and Giovanni to delve deeper into its history.

Bianca returns to New York shortly after the wedding, but intense dreams and visions of a woman named Zatoria shake her so much that she arranges to meet Giovanni in Italy, hoping he can help her make sense of the disturbing images. The two begin a journey that follows the path of the Vix Krater from Southern Italy to Vix, France. With the help of Bianca’s startling intuition and the occasional trances that reveal more details about the Krater, Bianca and Giovanni uncover a connection between the Krater and the legend of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. And somewhere along the way, Giovanni begins to see Bianca in a different light and realizes that she is not only intelligent and creative, but beautiful as well.

What I loved most about this book was its atmospheric quality. Stanfill’s lyrical writing is perfectly suited to the historical information she is writing about. The story shifts back and forth from past to present with ease, as she gives the reader a solid picture of how the Vix Krater may have been created and the journey to its final resting place in France. Throughout the book is a strong sense of how stories transpose themselves over time and become legend. I was fascinated by the way Stanfill tied in the legends of King Arthur, Camelot and the Grail with the story of the Vix Krater (and you will just have to read the book for yourself to see what I’m talking about!) By interspersing photos and drawings of the objects and places mentioned in the book, the reader has a more visual sense of the history behind the words. And you may be surprised to discover the origins of the Starbucks logo, which Stanfill includes in her detailed story.

The characters of Bianca and Giovanni were vividly drawn and different from the usual characters I run across in my reading. I loved Bianca in particular. She is clearly an intelligent woman, but her extremely developed ability to intuit the past gives her character a magical quality. She is driven to discover the truth about the Krater and is genuinely excited by each discovery she makes. I also liked Giovanni, although I was a bit disturbed by his negative reaction to Bianca when they first meet. He is clearly not attracted to her, although you can tell he really wants to be. His disappointment in her appearance struck me as shallow, but perhaps the fact that he’s Italian had something to do with it. Still, I have to applaud the author for writing characters that don’t follow the norm of being instantly attracted to each other.

Stanfill chose to write her book in present tense, which I usually don’t like in novels. This time it works, however, and gives the narrative a sense of urgency. Although just about every element of the story was beautifully done, I did have an issue with some of the dialog, which seemed old-fashioned and stilted. I often felt like I was watching an old movie from the 40’s or 50’s, and while the banter between Bianca and Giovanni was charming, it didn’t always feel authentic. The author is obviously passionate about her subject matter and has done extensive research in order to write this book, but long passages about the history of the Krater bogged down the dialog after a while.

But these are only small complaints about a book that is intelligently written and not only takes the reader on an adventure of discovery, but poses interesting questions about the importance of intuition and the origin and transformation of myths and stories.  You will need to read carefully to catch all of the minute details of the story, but it’s worth the effort. Realms of Gold delivers on so many levels and its dreamlike quality is bound to enchant even the most pragmatic of readers.

Many thanks to the author for supplying a review copy.

You can purchase Realms of Gold here