Testament is a split time narrative, with action taking place in both the late fourteenth century and the present day. Both timeframes concern Kineton and Dacre college – part of the medieval university in my fictitous city, Salster.
In 1385, master mason Simon of Kineton has two great desires – for a son to continue his name and work and for a commission worthy of his talent. In the same week, both seem to be granted to him but neither turns out as he had expected. In the present day, Damia Miller is just beginning a new job as Marketing and Development manager for Kineton and Dacre college when a bizarre medieval wall painting is discovered in the college. What do the scenes represent? Who is the prisoner depicted in his strange cage? And what, if anything, does the wall painting have to do with the statue of the boy, believed to be the master mason’s son, who stands overlooking the college?
Originally published in 2008 by Macmillan, I recently re-acquired the rights to the book and I’m delighted to announce that Testament will be brought out in a new edition by Sapere Books at the beginning of 2019.
If you’d like to know more, click here for my favourite review of the book, from book blogger Juxtabook.
The Black and The White
Scheduled to be published by Sapere Books in early 2019, The Black and The White is the first in a trilogy set during the fourteenth century.
A psychological thriller, the ‘elevator pitch’ for the novel might be ‘Cormac McCarthy’s The Road meets Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley’.
‘Magpies. I count them and the rhyme beats like blood in my ears.
“One for sorrow, two for mirth
Three for a wedding, four for a birth
Five for heaven, six for hell
There are seven. Seven for the devil.
They have been stalking me all day in ones and twos, staring at me, heads cocked, hard little eyes clever and pitiless. A mile or so back, I counted six and now there are seven. The Devil himself is near.’
On the road, devoid of friends, a stranger saves Martin Collyer’s life. But is this stranger a good man or a callous opportunist? It’s a difficult question to answer at the best of times but this isn’t the best of times, it’s February 1349 and England is in the grip of a plague which may herald the end of the world. Martin has left his home and everything he knows to make his way to Salster to save his father’s soul. But he is not travelling alone. He has a troublingly lifelike statue of his father’s saint under a blanket in his cart.
Does his rescuer, Hob Cleve, know about the saint? Has he been watching, waiting? Or is he what he seems, a runaway determined to make a better life for himself somewhere else?
Sudden, unexplained death is never far away as they journey ever eastwards, and Martin wonders whether he has been saved from the plague only to die at the hands of this ambitious stranger. But he cannot entirely rid himself of the thought that perhaps the bouts of sleepwalking he has begun to suffer from offer a more sinister explanation.
Will Martin and Hob find Saint Cynryth’s shrine at Canterbury or will her cult prove to be nothing more than a tale told by a peddler? Will they enter the city as heroes and saint-bearers or as discredited charlatans?
Will both of them arrive at all?