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Richard Gwyn Davies, Author - His Books  

Davies, Richard Gwyn, Phd - Richard Gwyn Davies, born in 1941, is the son of a Welshman and a Tennessean; he grew up in Indiana. Earning his undergraduate degree at DePauw he entered the Peace Corps, returning to the US to teach at Culver Academies in 1966. Davies went on to get his MA at the University of Aberystwyth; he also worked at Atlantic College and studied at Oxford. On returning home Davies returned to Culver; he also earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University and an M.A. from Columbia. He served as an instructor at Culver till his retirement in 2008.
    Swords at Culver
    Budda At Culver
    Suris at Culver (2011-12)
    Magic at Culver

Swords At Culver
Buddha at Culver author of Swords at Culver (Unlimited Publishing 2006)
    Two boys, Tim and Merthyn study at Culver Academy. Avid lovers of fantasy, they were very eager to visit the sword display at the Academy’s library, among the swords were the famed swords Excalibur and the Sword of El Cid. Unbeknown to the boys, an ancient evil had arrived around the same time they happened to be viewing the swords. What would the two boys do? What else could two lovers of fantasy do? They break the cases containing the swords and fight their way out!

    Swords at Culver is the first of a series of books written by Richard Gwyn Davies. It is a fantasy novel set in modern day times. A lot of real references are used to help the reader relate to the book. The story has 4 main characters, Tim and Merthyn (the boys) who stumble upon the evil, and Mr. Meek and Mr. Davies, two teachers at the Academy, whom together help the boys in dire straits.

    At the first mention of Excalibur I couldn’t help myself but groan, but as I read on, the focus was more on Native American Indian lore, which intrigued me. Yet that one thing that interested me, wasn’t explained in detail, everything seemed rushed as if the Davies thought it would bore the reader. With the main characters being teenage boys and the length of the book being short (225 pages), perhaps Davies was targeting YA readers, and this is how I treated the book when I read it.

    What I have learnt from reading many YA books is that a successful YA book contains young characters, they have special powers, it is fast paced and readers can relate to the main characters. I think Davies has the first three done, but the last one I am not so certain of. Yes, readers can relate to the books, as it is set in modern times but relating to the boys or the teachers? I’m not too sure of.

    Davies has a sequel to this book called Buddha at Culver, which I will read and review at a later time as I am hoping for more ancient lore. - by Enchanté (a.k.a) Jon Snow

The Buddha at Culver - by Richard Gwyn Davies Ph.D. (Author); CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 1, 2010) Paperback: 228 pages A year ago, a couple of boys (Merthyn and Tim) and senior lecturers at Culver were attacked by mystical forces. They found out that it was a pair of fanatical ‘Rebel’ Indians who were trying to bring back to life a ‘Death Goddess’. Through ancient Indian lore and the power of Excalibur, the boys and lecturers were able to defeat them.

In the present, it seems that the ‘Rebel’ Indian pair are back and want revenge on Merthyn, Tim and the senior lecturers, but first they attack more unknowing students at Culver. Very fortuitously a Buddhist nun was visiting Culver and she helped to prevent serious harm, but the Indian pair are more cunning than their last failed attempt. How will the boys with the help of this Buddhist nun defeat the Indian pair once and for all?

The Buddha at Culver is the sequel to Swords at Culver written by Richard Gwyn Davies. I had reviewed Swords earlier in the year with a mixed review but the book held some interest, especially in ancient Indian lore. As I picked up the book, it had almost the same cover as the last book except with a Buddha on it, which made me worry as the Indian lore I expected to be in there would be replaced with Chinese lore.

As I read on, I immediately recognised the improvement in editing which I was critical of in the first instance. This made reading a lot more enjoyable, but that was where the enjoyment ended. My first dislike was introduction of 3 brand new ‘main’ characters. The first book was only approx. 220 pages which I felt wasn’t nearly enough to help you get a feel for all the characters. Now to add 3 more new characters in another 220 page book, makes the characters thin. The more I read on, the more repetitive the book got. The Buddha at Culver was Swords at Culver repeated 4 times. Not once…not twice…three….but four times! Boy gets injured…needs spiritual healing, girl gets injured…needs spiritual healing etc… etc…

The ending to the book is almost identical to swords. Deus ex machina are not the best of endings. Swords at Culver at least sets up for one, but The Buddha at Culver just sneaks it in there at the last moment.

This book was very disappointing, considering the potential it could have by extending what was in Swords at Culver. I think Richard Davies has the ability to write better fantasy but I feel he needs to read more recent fantasy to get a feel for it. C.S Lewis and Tolkien are very good, but fantasy has moved on so much since then; even young adult fantasy moves in different circles (i.e. Bartimaeus Trilogy, Percy Jackson Series).

Good luck to him. - by Enchanté (a.k.a) Jon Snow

Sufis At Culver - - by Richard Gwyn Davies (Author); Amazon Digital Services LLC/Kindle Edition;
    The story takes place at Culver, a boarding school in Indiana, where an evil pair of rogue Indians are attempting to create the worship of Mchemnito, as the Great Earth Mother Goddess.

    Sufis takes part of its inspiration from Chiekh Sene, a Senegalese instructor who spent a year “exchange” teaching at the Academies in the early 1990s. Sufism, for the uninitiated, is a highly mystical branch of the Islamic faith, one of whose proponents was the late 19th and early 20th century figure Amadou Bamba, whose followers make up the Mouride sect. Into Davies’ novel comes Sene’s real-life affiliation with the Mourides, as well as his real-life friendship with Davies, also a character in the novel. Part of the story involves killings following at attack on a youth at the root beer stand in Culver, putting “terrible pressure,” on another real-life individual turned recurring fictional character in the novel, longtime former Academies instructor Bob Meek, to surrender to the rogue Indians perpetrating the crimes. In addition, previous lead character Tim Marks is invited to a special mission by Pau-Koo-Shuck, the real-life Potawatomi chief central to Culver-area ghost lore. Marks travels back in time to change the fate of another actual historical figure: the son of Potawatomi chief Pokagon, whose life ended prematurely due to alcoholism, and whose mother and sister suffered untimely deaths as well. Other previous characters return in “Sufis,” including former Culver students and faculty. The action builds to a crescendo in the Bird Sanctuary involving a battle with an evil “Earth Mother goddess” seeking to be the sole goddess in the universe, a development Davies says employs a far more traditional understanding of such a being than more modern, “New Age” movements which cast a figure bearing that name in a positive light. “She (the ‘Earth Mother goddess’) wasn’t worshipped by people singing ‘Kum-ba-yah,’”

Magic at Culver - by Richard Gwyn Davies (Author); Amazon Digital Services LLC/Kindle Edition; 576 pages<
An electronic trilogy combining the three books set in the heart of the Middle West at Culver Military Academy: Swords at Culver; The Buddha at Culver ; Sufis at Culver

Is a trilogy about an American teen and his Welsh pal who challenge two rogue Native Americans seeking to harm people at their prep school in Indiana. In this struggle they receive unexpected help from various sources: a young woman shaman from Notre Dame, a Buddhist nun, an African Sufi mystic and young Pau-koo-shuck, a ghostly figure from Culver's past. These individuals join their adult mentors and classmates to tap into deep magic in a classic battle between good and evil. This battle echoes Ragnorok and the siege of Minas Tirith but is set in the Middle West-not Middle Earth.