Novels and short stories

The Doomsong Sword. In the darkest years of Long Ago in the cold, cold North, there were two young men who were very much alike; and very different in all that mattered most. Davor was a spinner of stories; Sigurd was an earl. Both were destined to confront an evil dragon – but only one of them slew the beast.
The Doomsong Sword is coming-of-age, mythic fantasy based on the ancient Norse Volsung Saga, where the real tests of character aren’t always what they seem.

Local Resistance sums up what is going on in a tiny Cornish fishing village in 1941. Set in England during the Second World War, this is a story about ordinary people manning the Home Front and doing the best they can to get round wartime restrictions. The village, Porthferris, is located between Plymouth and Looe on the East Cornish coastline. It is fictional, but the characters come from real life, and the goings on are based on true events related to the very real threat of invasion and the highly secret British Resistance organisation that came to be known as Churchill’s Secret Army.

The Empress Emerald, is set between 1900-1944. This was a period of rapid social change when people’s lives were disrupted not only by war and international political events, but by technology. Transport, communications and weaponry were developing so rapidly, daily life in the first half of the twentieth century changed nearly as fast as our own.

The protagonists’ lives are influenced by two World Wars, Civil War in Spain and India’s transition to Independence. Leo Kazan, half-Russian, half-Indian, and descendant of Ludo in The Chosen Man, is another charming rogue who can’t be trusted, but he’s also a victim of events beyond his control. The novel raises the question: do the circumstances of his birth and abduction excuse his behaviour? It is for the reader to decide. The heroine, Davina Fulford, who grows up in the old Cornish mansion Crimphele, lives in a fairy tale world of her own making - until she finds herself in a much darker story, and in a very different country.

The Chosen Man is set in 17th century Europe and involves papal politics, the Thirty Years War, and the financial scandal known as tulipomania in Holland. There is a charming rogue, Ludovico da Portovenere who is an genoese silk and spice merchant commissioned by the King of Spain to destabilize the burgeoning Protestant Dutch economy in 1635. There are also pirates similar to those that sailed up quiet European estuaries to capture men, women and children for the white slave trade. If you read Giles Milton’s White Gold, the real-life story of a Cornish boy named Thomas Pellow who was captured and taken to Salé in 1716, you’ll see I didn’t have to invent very much for this part of the novel.

If you are interested in the historical background to The Chosen Man, read Tulipomania by Mike Dash, and a fascinating but disturbing book on the history of supposed Vatican conspiracies and espionage The Entity by Eric Frattini.

Dark Night, Black Horse, is a short story based on true events that occurred during the first year of the Spanish Civil War in rural Andalucía.  The characters of Diego and his son (also named Diego but called Paco here to avoid confusion) are based on the father and grandfather of a friend who breeds horses in Coín.

Noche Oscura, Caballo Negro, es la traducción al español del relato, que ya está disponible en versión Kindle.

The Cats of Capriale. Edna is on a package tour of Italy with two old school friends. They visit the ancient mountain village of Capriale, a mysterious place full of narrow, winding passage ways - and cats. Capriale has a sinister history of witch trials. It all takes Edna back . . . and back . . . and back

Read the story here. It was written after my own visit to an ancient Italian village full of cats.