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In Lancelot’s Grail Sir Lancelot forsook his armor for a monk’s habit and made his hermitage in the woods behind the Abbey of St. Benignus where he completed his quest for the Holy Grail.
Frith and Alura are brother and sister who discovered Sir Lancelot living as a hermit, uncovered his knowledge of the Holy Grail, and trained as his disciples. Now their story continues.
When Lancelot’s spiritual mantel consecrates Alura, Frith is left wondering why the same didn’t happen to him. As she becomes established in her seat of Self, Frith resigns himself to remain at the abbey and watch over his sister.
In this compelling sequel, Jacob, a Jewish merchant sent by their father, comes to take Frith on a journey along the ancient Silk Road. A reluctant Frith leaves the Christian abbey he has always called home to sail with Jacob to the Mediterranean city of Tyre.
With four knights for protection, the men caravan to Samarkand, the Central Asian capital of the silk trade. There they meet the Sultan, a wealthy collector of Oriental holy men.
Frith is invited to study at the Sultan’s newly formed mystery school, where he is tutored by a Taoist, a Buddhist, and a Hindu Swami. Overwhelmed by metaphysical experiences he receives from them, Frith becomes nearly catatonic during the journey home, causing Jacob to consider revealing hidden Jewish mysticism to set Frith right.
Once back in Britain, Frith must sort out his confusion, attain the Holy Grail, and reconnect with his saintly sister waiting at the abbey.
Visit the Lancelot’s Grail web site to read a discussion with the author on the inspiration for both novels and sample chapters of Lancelot teaching Alura and Frith.
The mind is a small place to live. Frith smiled. That sounded like something Lancelot would have said. Maybe he was making progress.
Frith was sitting on a shady hill with his boots off, leaning against the stone wall that enclosed the abbey grounds. Sheep nearby grazed with single-minded purpose. Monks hoed the gardens below, intent on their rows of peas. Not Frith. He’d completed his daily duties for the Abbot, and the old man was deep in his afternoon nap.
He pondered Lancelot’s admonition, "Memories and dreams may seem like a boundless place to dwell, but the world unfolds outside the confines of our mind."
A fat rabbit nibbled grass at the edge of the flock. Frith remembered when the pastures weren’t so rich, nor rabbits and sheep so abundant. The dark years when the sun weakened and crops wouldn’t grow.
Beyond the abbey gates a small village straddled the old Roman road. Frith had no idea where the road led, for he’d only traveled it once, when he and his sister, Alura, were brought from their ancestral home. He’d been five, she six. The Abbot had taken them in as a favor to their once-wealthy father. Too bad the family didn’t want them back when better times returned. Even though neither of them ever took vows, the Abbot let them stay on, more or less as children of the abbey.
A pungent odor, like wet sheep on a hot day, brought him out of his reverie. He looked up. Brother Fastidious was standing over him. They’d known each other since they were boys, when Fastidious was a novice. Truth to tell, Fastidious was a little jealous of Frith.
"You have been called to the Abbot’s office," he said.
Frith scratched his back on the ancient stone wall. It had been built to keep dangers out. But it also separated him from the world as surely as a monk’s cell. He’d once felt as trapped as he imagined the monks to be, forced to live lives cut off from everything that mattered. He reddened at the memory. Now he understood the inner journey was what mattered. And Lancelot, with a touch to their foreheads, had shown them that.
Lancelot gave them a single glimpse of his own inner state and endeavored to teach them to penetrate the veil of mind. The Holy Grail, he said, wasn’t an object, but a portal to a higher spiritual state within them, shuttered only by their own habits of thinking. At first Lancelot’s ideas seemed like nonsense. Could a man ever be so lost in thought he didn’t even know he was thinking?
"Frith! Did you hear me? The Abbot wants you in his office." Fastidious spun and stalked off. "The Abbot lets you get away with everything."
Startled, the rabbit hopped a few yards in the opposite direction. Frith reached for his boots and noticed his toe protruded through his stocking. Alura would mend it. He stretched the fabric over the hole, pulled his boots on, and started across the abbey grounds.
Frith spied his sister standing at the abbey gate, surrounded by hordes of children from the village. Little ones hugged her knees and older children pressed upon one another, clamoring for her attention. A stranger witnessing the scene might have assumed she was the mother of a large brood. And she was, though not in the usual sense. Whenever she went to market, the deep pockets of her skirt bulged with leftovers from the Abbot’s kitchen. Their weight caused her skirt to swish with a sound that alerted children playing outside the gate.
He watched as she blessed a child and put a morsel of food in its mouth. It made him long to be one those children huddled around her, receiving a bit of nourishment. She’d begun the ritual shortly after Lancelot’s death. At first the monks reprimanded her. How dare a mere cook from the Abbot’s kitchen pretend to be a saint? Eventually, her simple charity overcame their objections. Nowadays they looked the other way and counted their beads.
Two years ago Frith wouldn’t have let her go into the village unaccompanied. He’d promised Lancelot he’d protect her. But, he had to admit, these days she didn’t seem to require much protection. The only mob that came for her now was the mass of adoring children. He waved, and she waved back. He yearned to go to market with her, but he had better see what had disturbed the Abbot’s nap.