Burnt Offering centres on the ancient Druids who existed for centuries and at times flourished throughout Great Britain and many parts of Europe, but who somehow enveloped their history in a cloak of mystery.
They date back at least as far as 200 BC, their activities were recorded by Greek and Roman writers and in later years, by Irish historians, yet not even a single artefact or image from the early times has ever been found.
Roman historians recorded that the Druids engaged in human sacrifice (something which is vividly depicted in this story) and the Irish described them as sorcerers who opposed the coming of Christianity.
There is little reason to doubt either of these claims!
Considering the many centuries in which it is known they existed and practiced their own (often, very strange!) beliefs, were very strongly linked to the still standing remains of England’s Stonehenge and the fact that the Druid cult still exists today, it is almost beyond comprehension that their history is so vague.
That is the situation, but do not be put off by such a sketchy description!
Find the time to go searching on your computer, or your local library—you will be amazed how many theories exist, but especially how such a once huge and powerful organisation could slide into such obscurity!
The literal translation of the original Swedish title of this story is ‘The Burning Man’.
For reasons I hope will become apparent, I modified that to Burnt Offering, a phrase in common usage in Australia and New Zealand.
Covers for this issue have been rendered and hand-coloured by Antonio Lemos, who has produced not only some excellent art but exactly the right feel for such a dramatic and thought-provoking story!
Author Claes Reimerthi and artist Heiner Bade have not exaggerated the human sacrifice method used by the Druids.
The victim was encased in a highly flammable human shape made up of tinder dry timber of all sorts, but mainly branches and twigs of trees and the shape, known as The Wicker Man, set on fire. Death was slow and agonizing.