A present day romance, with vignettes from the past, traces the great Krater's arduous journey from the golden city of Sybaris to the golden hillsides of la Côte d'Or.
In 1953 archaeologists near Châtillon-sur-Seine, France discovered a massive bronze krater in the grave of a Celtic woman. Although the Krater was discovered in Burgundy, it was cast in Southern Italy circa 510 B.C. and made its way to Vix, a village at the foot Mont Lassois, once Latisco, an important Celtic trading citadel. Bianca Evans Caldwell, a writer for a New York art magazine, came upon the Krater accidentally and becomes obsessed with the great vessel and with the princess-priestess buried with it. Since then, Bianca has returned to the museum in Châtillon-sur-Seine six times to admire the Krater of Vix.
It is July, 2007, and Bianca finds herself in Venice for a family wedding, where she meets Giovanni de Serlo, an Italian archaeologist. Neither Bianca nor Giovanni wanted to attend the wedding but they both felt a family obligation to be there and soon become friends. After the weekend Bianca returns to New York City, Giovanni to Puglia, where he is working on an excavation.
When Bianca enters her apartment she finds it has been ransacked, although nothing seems to have been stolen. She finds a strange symbol written on a scrap of paper in her kitchen, and learns that it might be a Mafia warning. After more frightening and puzzling occurrences Bianca decides she must leave New York. She flees to Italy to visit Giovanni, who had promised to drive her to Calabria to see the site of the no longer existing Sybaris, in ancient times a city notorious for its wealth and luxurious living. At Sybaris, Giovanni shows her his secret find in an old farmhouse, a discovery which startles Bianca.
Giovanni and Bianca learn that they might now be in danger if they remain, and decide that they will make the journey from Sybaris to Burgundy, following the ancient route of the Krater.
As the story unfolds Bianca begins to write about the Krater, how, why and with whom it made its journey from the south of Italy to be buried in the earth of Vix.
When they arrive in Châtillon-sur-Seine they learn of yet another remarkable recent discovery atop Mont Lassois. Bianca's intuitive conclusion of what the Krater meant to the ancient Celts, and its connection and significance to Arthurian legend bonds the two together in a romance that could just be forever.
Praise for Realms of Gold:
Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance is sheer alchemy. Terry Stanfill cleverly masterminds dialing back the time machine in magical, potent ways to reveal a vast fabric of history seamlessly reaching into the depths of the Celtic past.
Under her pen, the past revived informs the present in the form of a star-crossed love ignited by a compelling quest, from Puglia to Burgundy, with the famed Vix krater at its vortex. The novel is a masterful tapestry of human aspirations and enterprises, of science and intuition, revealing the author’s profound understanding of the past and her visionary re-crafting of it that leads to the story’s romantic—and historically surprising--revelation. Historian, archaeologist, and antiquarian extraordinaire, Stanfill’s latest novel powerfully evokes living legends from their newly discovered historical sites.
--Erik T. Haskell, professor of French Studies & Humanities, Scripps College, Claremont University Center
Few of us know South Italy as Terry Stanfill does; and her love of this wonderful land shines through every page of her quietly astonishing novel. What a story she tells--threading its way through mythology, ancient history and archaeology in Italy and France and England. Almost a romance, almost a thriller yet not quite either, it possesses a unique character of its own. I loved it.
--John Julius Norwich, author of A HISTORY OF THE NORMANS IN SOUTH ITALY AND SICILY
An erudite thriller that recalls Brown’s Robert Langdon's series--only smarter.