The Medea Legend

“Trust no one,”

Aunt Hester tells sensitive Medea when she is called to Margrave House by her mysterious guardian. Once there, Medea’s clairvoyant visions intensify, plunging her into a nightmare of murder, pagan sacrifice, family tragedy, and a psychic battle waged from beyond the grave. Only the power of love can save the young girl from the evils recounted in THE MEDEA LEGEND.

Can Medea resist her shameful destiny – or must the Satanic bargain be fulfilled?

Written by Elizabeth York. This Pocket Book edition published October 1975. Cover art Hector Garrido.

Set in the days of curricles and carpetbags, Anne Carlson is just your normal, high society orphan, living with her Aunt in Bath. Until that is, she turns seventeen, when she is beset by strange visions triggered by an unusual silver bracelet hidden amongst her mother’s jewellery.

Soon after the visions start, a mysterious, handsome stranger makes his appearance. He introduces himself as Leo Courtney aka Viscount Margrave, Anne’s benefactor and guardian of her parent’s money until she comes of age. And he has travelled to Bath to take Anne back to her ancestral home in Norfolk, where she can learn more about her heritage and running the family estate.

Anne is intrigued but her Aunt is appalled – particularly when he informs Anne her real name is Medea, and that her Aunt was only bringing her up as Anne because Medea is too ‘pagan’ a name for high society in Bath.

Medea (as Anne is now called) is desperate to learn more about the strange deaths of her parents and curious about her stately home, so her Aunt reluctantly agrees to accompany her to Norfolk with Lord Margrave and his faithful steward. On the way, they stop by Stonehenge and Medea has another of her fearful visions. This time she is transported back in time and is witness to a horrifying ritual where a young girl is sacrificed.

Things don’t get any better when Medea reaches Margrave House. Her nightmarish visions are becoming increasingly vivid and horrifying. Then young girls from the local village start disappearing, only to be found hideously murdered with their throats cut. The villagers all suspect witchcraft and Medea is horrified to learn Lord Margrave agrees.

In desperation she confides to Lord Margrave about her own premonitions, half expecting him to laugh off or even worse, dismiss her experiences as the product of an over excited imagination. Instead he takes her into his inner sanctum – a secret chamber of prayer and meditation. Here he informs her that he is a member of The Brotherhood, an occult society formed to fight the forces of evil. He explains to Medea that her mother, Diana, was a powerful witch who was channelling the forces of evil using Black Magic rituals. Worse still, he believes Medea may be in danger from possession by her mother’s spirit. So he has brought her to Margrave House to train Medea to control her psychic powers in order to fight this evil and use her gift for good.

After a bit of soothsaying, he takes Medea in his arms and proposes to her, insisting they marry within the week, exclaiming their love will be the most powerful weapon against these malignant forces.   

“Will you have me, Medea? I’m old enough to be your father. I’m an odd fish, with no desire for the fashionable life of Mayfair. Certainly I’ll wish to show you off, but I’ll offer no marriage of convenience. I’ll insist you come to the marriage bed, and I’m a jealous man. Though I’ll allow you the need for the entertainments of youth, I’ll take a switch to you if you try to take a lover. Could you be Lady Margrave and live pleasantly with a student of the occult for your husband and not fear him?”

Medea is ecstatic and in no way suspicious at the rush. Everything seems to be going hunky-dory until the wedding gown arrives – for it is not the one she has ordered but is identical to the one worn by the priestess in her visions. Fleeing for her life, Medea almost makes it out of town. Almost. One minute she is in the local inn, stopping off for a swift half before continuing her escape, the next she has woken up in a crypt, dressed in ceremonial robes while around her familiar faces are preparing for her baptism into the forces of Satan….

I won’t give away the ending but it is suitable suspenseful and romantic and I was mightily impressed with The Medea Legend. The story starts a little slow and some of the dialogue is annoyingly cumbersome in its Olde Worldeness, but there is plenty to please in the occult department with a fine back-story involving Medea’s evil witchy mother. Four out of five stars.