Book Review: The Learn, by Tony Halker

Publisher:  Clink Street Publishing

Publication date:  29th September 2016


The Learn by Tony HalkerThe Learn is an unusual Bronze Age tale featuring the spiritual evolution of a young man by the name of Owayne as he transforms from beach scavenger, by the nature of his birth, to that of priest under the intense guidance of a wise Druid.

Following the discovery of a rare item in the rock pools where they harvest shellfish, Owayne’s mother quickly intervenes to present both this and her son as a candidate for The Learn. This item attracts much interest of the Druid, Merle, as it is associated with the Deity they worship. Now she has Merle’s attention she can barter for her son’s advancement in life, although her approach is considered somewhat unconventional.

This telling of Owayne’s steps into priesthood is told is stark and simplistic detail. To make him ready for the ultimate test, where it will be decided if he is ready to embrace The Learn or will become a ‘fail’, he must shadow the druid for many months and experience nature, spirits, defence, and ultimate respect for all these elements.

With each new day his eyes are opened to reveal the concept of new ideas, intense discussion, and the value of listening to all sides before coming to a conclusion – walking with Druidii will provide a tough education for the lowly beach comber.

It is expected that learning should never cease and there’s almost a ‘Dragon’s Den’ moment where a new invention is offered to the high council for consideration, as it is thought that this initial concept could alter the course of history. But first it requires approval by the most knowledgeable, which is an interesting process; while there are people wishing to test new theories, accusations of blasphemy, abomination, and offending Mother Nature are a few of the barriers placed in their way.

The non-flowery prose perfectly conveys the ‘bare necessities’ of this primitive period, which makes any progress appear awe inspiring; new knowledge is celebrated and defended, as ‘know’ is essential for long term survival. As Owayne becomes older and hopefully wiser he will learn and grow, until one day he can leave his own footprints on the earth. 

The Learn captures the essence of a people embracing devout intellectual prosperity and is enriched by a philosophical approach to the ever-changing world around us.  It’s a story perfectly suited to the patient reader who will be able to fully appreciate the journey through this intriguing historical era and the calmness it evokes.

Rating:  3/5

(I received a digital copy of this title from Rachel at Authoright PR  and Authoright in exchange for an honest review, with my thanks.)

~ Here’s wishing the author a wonderful publication day ~


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.

A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.

Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.

At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.

A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.



(Courtesy of Author’s blog)

Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.


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