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In the Grail legends the wounding of the Fisher King in the thigh with a magical spear blasts the fertility of the land – an enchantment only to be undone by the finding of the mysterious castle where he lays and by asking him a certain question.

In this exhaustively researched work on the ancient Celtic peoples of northwest Europe, John Grigsby reveals how, behind this medieval tale, lies the dim remembrance of a cult of human sacrifice that forms the backbone of pagan Celtic religion.

Tracing the key elements of these rites back to the time of Stonehenge, Grigsby argues that these victims met their deaths re-enacting a divine drama rooted in the Bronze Age. And - just as in the Grail legend the land could only be healed by asking the king a question - in his startling conclusion Grigsby offers convincing evidence that the victims of Celtic sacrifice were used in necromantic oracular rites aimed to bring rebirth to the land ...