RAVAGED BY WAR …AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.
Pursued by Rome.
AD73 Northern Britannia
After King Venutius’ defeat, Brennus of Garrigill – known as Bran – maintains a spy network monitoring Roman activity in Brigantia. Relative peace reigns till AD 78 when Roman Governor Agricola marches his legions to the far north. Brennus is always one step ahead of the Roman Army as he seeks the Caledon Celt who will lead all tribes in battle against Rome.
Ineda of Marske treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius, who is responsible for supplying Agricola’s northern campaigns. At Inchtuthil Roman Fort Ineda flees seeking fellow Brigantes congregating on the foothills of Beinn na Ciche.
Will the battle against the Romans bring Ineda and Brennus together again?
Barnabas Tew is a private detective struggling to survive in his trade in Victorian London. Fearing that he is not as clever as he had hoped to be, he is plagued by a lack of confidence brought on in no small part by his failure to prevent the untimely deaths of several of his clients.
Matters only get worse when Anubis, the Egyptian God of the Dead, is referred to Barnabas by a former client (who perished in a terribly unfortunate incident which was almost certainly not Barnabas’ fault). Anubis sends for Barnabas (in a most uncivilized manner) and tells him that the scarab beetle in charge of rolling the sun across the sky every day has been kidnapped, and perhaps dismembered entirely.
The Land of the Dead is in chaos, which will soon spill over into the Land of the Living if Barnabas – together with his trusty assistant, Wilfred – cannot set matters to right. Pulled from his predictable (if unremarkable) life in Marylebone, Barnabas must match his wits against the capricious and dangerous Egyptian gods in order to unravel the mystery of the missing beetle and thereby save the world.
James and Clare Blackwell have been happily married five years and now desire to start a family. Clare’s pregnancy results in the birth of their son George, who brings not only great joy, but profound heartache. Because of a deathly illness after the birth, Clare loses her eyesight and must come to terms with this new reality. She slides into the trap of self-pity and victimhood, shuns James, and isolates herself from him and her family.
Confused by the changes in his strong and independent Clare, James seeks solace in their friends and neighbors Phoebe and Patrick Tripp. He misses a woman’s companionship, and with Patrick gone on business trips to London on a regular basis, James begins to spend an inordinate amount of time with Phoebe.
Simeon Quire, enemy of the Blackwells, discovers the blossoming relationship between Phoebe and James. With this information, he disguises himself as a manservant and manages to get a job at Bethel Manor with the sole intention of tarnishing the Blackwell name and ruining the estate in the process.
The beautiful Bethel Manor is affected by the neglect of James and Clare and the grounds and home begins to decay. Will the Blackwells be able to redeem their marriage, and is it ever too late for God’s power of forgiveness to overcome family tragedies?
Thirty years of Kenya’s recent history unfold through the lives of Caroline, a privileged woman from the fertile highlands, and Charles Ondiek, a farm labourer with dreams of an Oxford education. Charles’s love for Teresa, daughter of a hated settler farmer, leads to a drama of psychological terror fuelled by Mau Mau oath administrator, Mwangi, who is held in detention for six years.
On his release, Mwangi forces Charles and Teresa apart, then turns his attention to Caroline. But she has inner resources, and joins with Charles to seek out a mysterious ancestral cave. Against the backdrop of Kenya’s beautiful but hostile desert, the curse is finally broken.
But when Caroline discovers the hidden reason for Mwangi’s hatred, she wonders if she’ll ever, really, belong in the country she loves.
As a publisher of predominantly full-length fiction, we always wanted to create a collection of short stories by our talented Crooked Cat authors – so here it is!
You will find twenty tantalising tasters from Crooked Cats from the UK and the US, all keen to showcase their writing skills with glimpses into their existing releases, or with something new altogether.
Twenty stories of historical and contemporary fiction, crime and drama, fantasy, humour and ghostly shenanigans. Murder. Love. Adventure. Gossip. Growing up. Scheming. Friendship – Crooked Cats’ Tales has it all!
Crooked Cat authors and their contributions:
Cocktail Hour by Pamela Kelt
A Rescue in Graphite by Maggie Secara
Once Again by KB Walker
The Pied Piper of Larus by Kathy Sharp
Her Visitors by Ailsa Abraham
White Rose by Carol Hedges
A Bright New Copper by Catriona King
Altared by Adele Elliott
Misgivings by Nancy Jardine
Saturday Fever by Sue Barnard
The Wanderer by T.E. Taylor
Sheffield Steel by Trevor Ripley
The Blue House by Carol Maginn
Processionary Penitents by Nik Morton
The Second Summer of Love by Michela O’Brien Young Loves by Jeff Gardiner
Cradle of Man by J.L. Bwye
Silken Knots by Frances di Plino
The Thread that Binds by Mark Patton
Boo! by David W Robinson
Murder. Betrayal. Hope.
On his return from battle at Lincoln, Geoffrey de Mortagne, under-sheriff of Gloucester and spy for the Empress Matilda, assists a dying knight caught in an ambush. Promising to look after the welfare of the knight’s only daughter, Geoffrey stays at her manor, investigating the murder. Keen to join the Empress on her progress through England, he is torn between his oath and his duty.
Left to defend her manor following her father’s death, Alleyne de Bellac reluctantly accepts Geoffrey’s support. As she doesn’t trust the taciturn stranger, she asks Will d’Arques, an old friend, for help. But loyalties change. Her life in danger and her inheritance at stake, Alleyne must decide which man to trust.
Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where vows are broken as allegiances waver.
“…a great read…”
***The Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction First Place Category Winner***
“Never had she imagined she would be brought so low, and all for the love of a very bad man.”
Convict’s daughter, Laetitia Beedham, is set on an epic journey from the back streets of London, through transportation to Barbados and gruelling plantation life, into the clutches of notorious pirates John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, Mary Read and the treacherous Anne Bonny.
In a world of villainy and deceit, where black men are kept in chains and a woman will sell her daughter for a few gold coins, Laetitia can find no one in whom to place her trust.
As the King’s men close in on the pirates and the noose begins to tighten around their necks, who will win her loyalty and her heart?
A NEW LIFE THOUSANDS OF MILES FROM HOME
Lydia and Clem Davie arrive in an Igbo village in Nigeria in July 1967 just as civil war breaks out, but Lydia has trouble adjusting to life in West Africa: a place so unfamiliar and far away from everything she truly understands.
Initially, most of the locals are welcoming and friendly, until one or two begin a frightening campaign of anti-white protests. Lydia’s life is changed irrevocably after she meets enigmatic Igbo doctor, Kwemto, and war victim, Grace. Through them Lydia learns about independence, passion and personal identity. Conflict and romance create emotional highs and lows for Lydia, whose marriage and personal beliefs slowly begin to crumble.
Will this house in a Nigerian bush village ever seem like home?
Along Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, royalty and commoners – living and dead – mingle amongst the museums, cafés and former royal residences. From Castle Hill to Abbey Strand, there is far more going on than meets the eye, as ghosts of every era and background make their home along the Mile.
Returning to the city for her annual visit, Mary, Queen of Scots, is troubled by the lacklustre attitude of her father, King James V of Scotland, and decides to do something about it, with the aid of her spiritual companions. More troubling, though, is the arrival of a constant thorn in her side: her second husband, Lord Darnley.
Can Mary resolve both her own issues and those of her small, ghostly court?