Aberystwyth author Geraint Roberts has released the final part of his trilogy featuring a lead mining family in the foothills of Aberystwyth.
A Light in the Darkness takes the story through the beginning of the 20th century and the demise of the great lead/zinc mine at Frongoch.
The company has been sold to a Belgian consortium and with the demise of mining in the area, labour has been recruited from Italy, to help work at the modernised site.
“It all started off well,” said Geraint. “But pretty soon, the mine collapsed amid strikes, violence and mysterious explosions.
“The company had modernised the place to use electricity for its tramways and pitheads, using hydro electric power.
“What they hadn’t thought about was the cultural differences a Welsh mine would bring.
“Placing signs in English and Italian was one way to alienate a mainly Welsh speaking workforce.
“With newspapers headlining about ‘Popery in the Welsh Hills’, it was no surprise that the place collapsed. This was a very colourful period of local history and sadly forgotten. The conflict was a tragedy and so avoidable.”
The cover shows a sunset at Aberystwyth, to reflect the later part of the tale.
“Owain and Ceri are desperate to find their children,” Geraint added. “After securing work in the Talybont area, they discover their offspring have moved to town. Owain has a debt to pay and he finally manages that and saves his friend in the process.
“The sunset is a representation of the twilight years and reflects on warmth and sadness. The picture has been amended to remove the war memorial and Blaenplwyf – and a paddle boarder! What I haven’t managed to do is reconstruct the pier, but the setting looks timeless – as the prom is. It’s a very important place for me also, having spent most of my life in this town.”
There is some overlap with Geraint’s railway stories. Where the scenes overlap, they reflect how people remember events slightly differently. Geraint knows the railway tale needs its own final act but is focusing on another tale about an Aberystwyth-based woman who is plagued by dreams – where she is a bystander to actual historic disasters in the UK.
“It’s full of twists and turns,” he says. “Enough to keep me busy for now!”