The Grail of Hearts

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Kundry, an orphan, was raped while tending the sheep that should have served as her dowry. The men of her village decided that Jewish law required her to marry the man. Instead, she fled to Jerusalem.

There she met Klingsor, the sorcerer who became her master. He educated her in the ways of the courtesans who entertained the visiting Romans, the better to use her as a tool in his quest for power. Kundry found herself, through Klingsor’s maneuvers, in the presence of Joshua, hailed by some as the King of the Jews. It was because of her presence at his crucifixion, and her hysterical laughter there, that she was cursed to wander the earth until a fool made wise through pity could forgive her.

In the time of King Arthur, Klingsor used Kundry as a trap to bring upon the downfall of the knights who guarded the Holy Grail, which he believed would give him his ultimate power. Amfortas, the Grail King, was wounded, the Holy spear stolen, and the balance of power wavered between good and the evil.

While THE GRAIL OF HEARTS features many familiar Arthurian characters, and a host of biblical personalities, it follows a path all its own. Rather than being a retelling of the Arthurian legend, it is the story of a struggle between good and evil set in the legend’s framework. Fans of Arthurian romance may find this twist disconcerting, and purists may question the existence of characters Kundry and Klingsor. The “Author’s Note” at the end of the book clears up some references, and might best be read as a preface.