When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers wake, bringing Native American goods and a skrayling ambassador to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I s capital? Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador's bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally and Mal his soul
Anne Lyle was born in what is popularly known as "Robin Hood Country", and grew up fascinated by English history, folklore, and swashbuckling heroes. Unfortunately there was little demand in 1970s Nottinghamshire for diminutive swordswomen, so she studied sensible subjects like science and languages instead.
It appears, however, that although you can take the girl out of Sherwood Forest, you can't take Sherwood Forest out of the girl. She now spends practically every waking hour writing - or at least planning - fantasy fiction about dashing swordsmen and scheming spies, set in imaginary pasts or parallel worlds.
Her particular obsession is Elizabethan England, so it helps that she now lives in a city full of medieval and Tudor buildings where the cattle browse on the common land much as they did in Shakespeare's London. She prides herself on being able to ride a horse, sew a sampler and cut a quill pen but hasn't the least idea how to drive one of those new-fangled automobile thingies.
Paradoxically she is a big fan of 21st century technology, being a Mac geek and full-time web developer. Well, it's the nearest thing you can get to magic in our own universe...