The Black and The White
Now available to order here The Black and The White is the first of three books, linked by their characters, set during the fourteenth century.
A psychological thriller, the ‘elevator pitch’ for The Black and the White might be ‘Cormac McCarthy’s The Road meets Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley‘. Here’s a flavour of the beginning:
‘If you meet a man on the road you should count his fingers.
That’s what they say. Count his fingers lest you deal, all unknowingly, with one of the Fair Folk.
But what if the fellow you meet on the road has eight fingers and two thumbs like any other man?
What if he is fair-faced and smiles at you like a Christian?
What if, at the very moment you first encounter him, he is wielding a club to save your life?’
Far from home, in the middle of a frozen and snowy night, a stranger saves Martin Collyer’s life. But is he a good man or a callous opportunist?
A difficult question to answer at the best of times but this isn’t the best of times. It’s the winter of 1349 and England is in the grip of a plague which may herald the end of the world.
Martin has left his home in the Forest of Dean to travel the breadth of England, to Salster, to save his father’s soul. But he is not travelling quite alone. Though no mortal walks with him, Martin has a troublingly lifelike statue of his father’s patron saint under a blanket in his cart.
Does his rescuer, Hob Cleve, know about the saint’s miraculous image? Has he been watching, waiting for his chance? Or is he what he seems, a runaway determined to make a better life for himself?
As Martin and Hob travel through a plague-blighted landscape, sudden death is never far away. Will Martin and Hob find Saint Cynryth’s shrine at Salster 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?
A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
The second in the fourteenth century trilogy is set in Salster just after the Plague of Children in 1361-2.
A minor character from The Black and The White comes to Saslter in search of the saint and, more importantly, her bearers.
Watch this space for updates on publication soon.
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 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, Testament has now been brought out in a new edition by Sapere Books. You can buy it in ebook or paperback here.
If you’d like to know more, click here for my favourite review of the book, from book blogger Juxtabook.