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One Sun, One Moon, Two Stars

 

‘One Sun, One Moon, Two Stars’ is the first time-travel adventure story for children aged 8 – 13 in The Sun, The Moon and The Stars Trilogy. It has twenty-four chapters and approximately 50,000 words. The three main protagonists, Jonathan Williams, Victoria Taylor and Ben Straker, are all 14 years old. Other important characters include Sylvene, the Gleeman and Robert Faversham, the son of the Norman given the Saxon Village of East Oakhurst, by a grateful William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings.

Within 24 hours of arriving in the New Forest they go to the Rufus Stone where, without realising it, they are sent back to Norman England. Believing they are still in the twenty-first century Ben wanders off to look for Sylvene who appears to have disappeared. Jonathan and Victoria decide to stay where they are; but when neither of them return they decide to go after him. They follow a track across the Forest until they reach a village. Here, to their astonishment, they discover most of the inhabitants speak French… the first clue that they have gone back in time. Shortly after that they learn a prisoner was brought to the village before they arrived. This prisoner turns out to be Ben. Despite his ill-treatment at the hands of the village Bailiff it takes Jonathan and Victoria a while to convince him they are now in Norman England.

Sir Henry Faversham (Robert’s father) agrees they can stay provided they are prepared to work for their keep. It is agreed Jonathan will help the blacksmith and Ben the miller. Victoria is to assist Lady Faversham who is busy with the wedding preparations for their daughter, Adela.

While trying to make some kind of sense out of what has happened to them the three children discover each has a golden talisman. Both boys have a star; Victoria’s is a moon. Each one has an identical engraving on its back – three interlocking rings. At the forge Jonathan sees an identical engraving – the only difference being a tiny harp in the central ring. The blacksmith tells him that it was carved by the son of the last Saxon Lord of the Manor shortly before his death.
   

Back at the Manor House Sylvene appears to Victoria in the bride’s hand-mirror. She tells her they need to find a lost talisman of a sun. At the same time she someone else is searching for it… someone known as the Gleeman… and that he is already in the village. The next day Victoria finds a harp in a recess and finds the second clue… three more interlocking rings this time with an acorn in the middle ring. After the wedding ceremony the three children learn that the visiting musician is called a Gleeman.

They decide the clue means an oak tree… the question is which one? There are hundreds of them in the New Forest. Eventually they find the third clue which is a cross – which takes them to the village church.

Discovering Jonathan holding the cross Robert is horrified, believing it to be a betrayal of his trust and friendship. His accusation that they are thieves forces them to tell him the truth. At the end of their explanation he agrees to help them find the sun and, when they find it, they are all relieved. Now they will be able to return to the twenty-first century. The trouble is, they have no idea how that will happen. Robert takes them to glade where they entered his century and is about to leave them there when the King – William Rufus – arrives and accuses them of poaching. Moments later he is dead, killed by an arrow fired from a thicket. As Robert leaves, Jonathan, Victoria and Ben find themselves back in their century.

Once they knew who the Gleeman was the three children became increasingly aware that wherever they went he appeared.  Despite this, Jonathan found himself admiring the man, while at the same time having growing doubts about Sylvene’s role in the adventure. As soon as they are re-united with her he demands to be told what was so important about the sun. She explains the reason all four talismans were created. She then tells him that she has found another young man who is willing to become the new Guardian of the sun and orders him to hand it over.

When Jonathan refuses, Sylvene calls upon her dark forces to help seize all four talismans. It seems as though she will succeed until the Gleeman appears. With his help she is vanquished. The Gleeman tells Jonathan he must look after the sun as well as his star. He warns all of them they will undoubtedly have to face Sylvene again sometime in the future.

The struggle to find the missing talisman in ‘One Sun, One Moon, Two Stars’ develops the characters of all three protagonists. As they grow in strength their relationships begin to change. Jonathan and Victoria become steadily closer; Ben, who at the beginning of the novel is impetuous and thoughtless, earns through his escapades to become more responsible. By the end of the novel they have also learned that first impressions are not always correct.

Margaret Armand Smith