Peter Bennet's sixth book of poetry, The Long Pack, is a saga of haunting, sex, and conspiracy in England's remote border country and throws new light on an old mystery. In the forward he writes:
The story of the long pack appears in The Ettrick Shepherd's tales, and also in Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. It is well-known in the village of Bellingham, in Northumberland, where the occupant of the pack is buried in the churchyard. My long poem adds details about his earlier life, as a member of a community of ranters, to material provided by James Hogg, together with an account of some episodes in the lives of two late-twentieth-century lovers who are troubled by this desperado's restless and rather dominating spirit. The haunter's aim is to be reborn and recognised. Meanwhile he describes their experiences as well as his own, offers advice and comment, and appears sometimes in the foliage, like the Green Man. The narrator also refers, perhaps unwisely, to links between members of the 1715 Jacobite uprising in Northumberland and the activities of the mysterious Prieuré de Sion, as described by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
The voice of Richard Last, which dominates the chorus, is adapted from the writings of the real-life ranter Abiezer Coppe. The chorus also includes quotations from Sir George Etherege, Robert Herrich, Samuel Johnson, Andrew Marvell, the anonymous author of 'Hexham Wood', and Wilfrid Gibson, whose poem 'the Unseen Rider' also mentions Hetherbell and the tragic wedding. Apart from a visit to the Coromandel coast, and to the unusual church at Hartburn, the events of The Long Pack take place in the real geography of the North Tyne valley and Redesdale.
The Long Pack costs £4.00 and was published in 2002.
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