A Song in Stone
by Walter H. Hunt
Review by Tom Easton
Wizards of the Coast Discoveries Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780786950676
Date: 04 November 2008 List Price $21.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Walter Hunt earned high praise and many fans for his Dark Wing series of space operas. With A Song in Stone, he strikes out in a new direction that should appeal to many readers, old and new.
The tale begins as Ian Graham, unemployed TV personality, is asked to work on a documentary on Rosslyn Chapel in Edinburgh. The chapel dates to the 1400s, and it has long been a center of attention for "conspiracy nutters," for rumors of long standing say there are secrets encoded in the mysterious carvings that adorn the chapel's interior. The Holy Grail is also supposedly buried under the chapel, brought by the Knights Templar after their persecution.
So Ian visits, overhears someone who sounds like his agent speaking of the "Saturn Oracle," and meets a techie who thinks he can read the "healing music of Rosslyn" encoded in the stones. He even thinks he hears the music, and that's when he tumbles into the past, awaking as a Templar pilgrim, clad in little more than a smelly robe. It's a bit sudden and thoroughly confusing, but in time he gets the idea. He really is back in 1307, just months before the destruction of the Knights Templar, and he is on a pilgrimage, a tour of sacred sites in Spain and France. He is accompanied by people who seem oddly familiar. At each site he gains illumination. Mysterious figures hand him objects such as half a cloak. He encounters more codes, oddly modern in form. The music echoes in and around him. He learns that the "healing music of Rosslyn" is something that can heal the world of its ills if only it can be released.
And finally … It's a novel. It has to end satisfactorily, and of course it does. On the way, the reader gets to know Ian Graham quite well. He's an appealing fellow who gains depth and character as he proceeds on his pilgrimage. The supporting characters, though they are cloaked in mystery and ambiguity, are also engaging. The tale feels very real, and the secrets that are its center carry a convincing weight of cosmic significance.
The novel may have special significance to Masons. Hunt belongs to that fraternal brotherhood, and much of the symbolism that gives the tale solidity is Masonic.