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Described by the late Peter Algar (author of The Shepherd Lord) as ‘JRR Tolkien with a smattering of Terry Pratchett and a frisson of smouldering sex,’ I conceived this tale years before I ever heard of George RR Martin. So imagine my dismay when I saw Game of Thrones and realised he’d got there first with messenger ravens, gay and incestuous lovers, tarts-with-hearts turned spy, and a murderous cult of mad zealots. Still, despite these commonalities, the Lay is my own invention: a cheeky homage to the high fantasy style, inspired by real-world history, this tale of romance, revenge and redemption has characters you’ll fall in love with, and others you’ll itch to slap – like its anti-heroine, prissy Princess Elinor!
Elinor finds adventure – and misadventure! – on the high seas aboard the Breath of Gaia with her two faithful ladies-in-waiting and her beloved lapdog, Loki. From the rainforests of Centralia to the Republican Palace in Angor, she has shocks and surprises a-plenty in store. Then a trip into the mysterious, sacred Demesne of Aumaia awakens Elinor to some astonishing truths, transforming her into a woman faced with a new, vital mission: wresting her homeland from the claws of Archbishop Sigismund, his malevolent Black Brethren, and his puppet Warlord, restoring peace and self-rule to the rebel province of Grunewald, and restoring both lands to true Faith. A tall order; luckily, help arrives from a most unexpected quarter, albeit bearing some most unwelcome news…
Herstory Writing & Interpretation, 2013
Paperback, 307 pg, £4.99
Elinor, King Thorund’s only child, must marry and breed a son to inherit the crown of Gondarlan, the most northerly kingdom of Urth. Desperate to escape the suit of her father’s Warlord, Hakon, the Princess hopes to wed Eduard, the dashing Prince of Faal; but instead, to their mutual chagrin, Thorund accepts a more interesting proposal from Jehan Sol-Lios, Elect of the southern Republic of Angor. Cultures (and swords!) clash as the long-haired, laid-back Angorians arrive at the straitlaced Gondaran capital on their mission to win hearts and minds – with much unexpected success, and several significant failures! Nonetheless, for reasons of her own, Elinor reluctantly agrees to leave her home, and accompany Jehan to spend a year as Gondarlan’s first Ambassadress to Angor…
Herstory Writing & Interpretation, 2012
Paperback, 300 pages, £4.99
Meanwhile back in Gondarlan, King Thorund finds himself at a loose end with a sudden appetite for change. His radical reforms win him plenty of friends – and also some powerful foes, who strike first at his closest advisor, the newly-knighted Sir Loric, then at the king himself, in a desperate attempt to regain their lost privileges and powers. Elinor, by now a fully-fledged member of Angor’s elite Kali’i’taia, is only too eager to fight for her king and fatherland, alongside their Faalian allies – although her much-desired meeting with Crown Prince Eduard doesn’t go quite as she’d hoped and expected! As conflict breaks out, first in Grunewald then in the shadow of her former home in Castle Thorsgard, events move to a literally shattering climax of twists, turns and treachery, tragedies and happy-ever-afters.
‘Once there was a time and place, and this a story true…’
Herstory Writing & Interpretation, 2014
Paperback, 377 pg, £6.99