Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Tremayne, Peter

Pseudonym of UK writer and Celtic scholar Peter Berresford Ellis (1943-    ). Under his own name he has produced many books about Celtic history, culture and legend, starting with Wales – A Nation Again (1968). Of particular relevance to this encyclopedia are A Dictionary of Irish Mythology (1987) and A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology (1992). PT also used his own name for biographies of H Rider Haggard, H. Rider Haggard: A Voice from the Infinite (1978), and Talbot Mundy, The Last Adventurer (1984). He is currently working on a biography of E Charles Vivian. He writes thrillers as Peter MacAlan.

As PT he has written over 30 books, almost all in the categories Supernatural Fiction, Celtic Fantasy, Science Fiction and crime. When PT first turned to fiction there was one of the regular revivals of interest in the characters of Dracula and Frankenstein. In The Hound of Frankenstein * (1977) the Baron hides on Bodmin Moor and turns again to his experiments, this time creating a dog. In his Dracula Trilogy PT went back to events before Bram Stoker's novel and traced three first-person accounts of their experiences with Dracula: Dracula Unborn * (1977; vt Bloodright: Memoirs of Mircea, Son of Dracula 1979 US), The Revenge of Dracula * (1978) and Dracula, My Love *(1980), assembled as Dracula Lives! * (omni 1993). PT experimented with other sequels (> Sequels by Other Hands) with The Vengeance of She * (1978), bringing the story of Ayesha into the modern day (> Immortality) and unconnected with the movie of the same name (> She); and the nonfantastic The Return of Raffles * (1980), featuring E W Hornung's rogue detective.

Not surprisingly, PT draws heavily upon Celtic myth and legend for many of his stories. The Lan-Kern series – The Fires of Lan-Kern (1980), The Destroyers of Lan-Kern (1982) and The Buccaneers of Lan-Kern (1983) – is based on legendary Cornwall, converting the myths into Heroic Fantasy. Raven of Destiny (1984) is based on the historical figure of Bran MacMorgor, who invaded Greece in 279BC. Both Ravenmoon (1988; vt Bloodmist 1988 US) and Island of Shadows (1991) use Celtic legends, the first involving the Irish Otherworld, the second telling the story of the female warrior Scáthach.

For a while in the 1980s PT threatened to rival Guy N Smith (1939-    ) and James Herbert for the number of novels in which people (or even humankind) is threatened by various monstrous creatures (> Monsters). These began with The Ants * (1979), a faithful sequel to "The Empire of the Ants" by H G Wells. This was followed by The Curse of Loch Ness (1979), Zombie! (1981), The Morgow Rises! (1982), about a legendary Cornish Sea Monster, Snowbeast (1983), about a Scottish abominable snowman, Kiss of the Cobra (1984), about a Cobra cult in India and the working of a Curse when a tomb is disturbed, Swamp! (1985), about a lake monster in the Florida everglades, Nicor! (1986), about a sea monster disturbed during oil-drilling off the coast of Venezuela, and Trollnight (1987) where an evil scientist has created a new race of Trolls. Though these books are mostly action-based, PT was able through his fund of knowledge of the old legends to give them a degree of credibility that most similar books lack.

PT has written many short fictions. Those collected in My Lady of Hy-Brasil (coll 1987 US) draw on Celtic legend; those in Aisling (1992) contain more contemporary Irish horrors.

PT has also edited Irish Masters of Fantasy (anth 1979 Eire; vt The Wondersmith and Other Macabre Tales 1988 Eire) and compiled a volume of stories by William Hope Hodgson as Masters of Terror 1: William Hope Hodgson (coll 1977). [MA]

other works: Angelus! (1985); the Sister Fidelma series of historical mysteries, featuring a 7th-century Irish advocate, being Absolution by Murder (1994), Shroud for an Archbishop (1995), Suffer Little Children (1995) and The Subtle Serpent (1996).

Peter Berresford Ellis


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.