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The Aelf Fen books are set in the fenlands of East Anglia in the reign of William Rufus. The 7 titles so far are Out of the Dawn Light, Mist over the Water, Music of the Distant Stars, The Way between the Worlds, Land of the Silver Dragon, Blood of the South and The Night Wanderer.
Alys has been writing professionally for more than 25 years.
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October, 1604. Former ship's surgeon turned country physician Gabriel Taverner is surprised to receive an urgent summons from his old naval captain. Now docked in Plymouth harbour, having recently returned from the Caribbean, Captain Colt believes his ship is haunted by an evil spirit, and has asked Gabriel to investigate.
Dismissive of the crew's wild talk of mysterious blue-skinned ghosts, Gabriel is convinced there must be a rational explanation behind the mass hallucinations. But matters take a disturbing turn when he and the captain discover a body hidden behind one of the bulkheads. Calling on the help of his old friend, Coroner Theophilus Davey, piece by piece Gabriel uncovers a terrifying tale of treachery, dark magic, unimaginable cruelty – and cold-blooded murder.
Physician-sleuth Dr Gabriel Taverner uncovers dark secrets in his small Devon village in the second of this intriguing historical mystery series.
June, 1604. When the emaciated body of a vagrant is found on the edge of the moor, it’s the verdict of physician Gabriel Taverner that the man died of natural causes – but is all as it seems? Who was the dead man, and why had he come to the small West Country village of Tavy St Luke’s to die cold, sick and alone? With no one claiming to have known him, his identity remains a mystery.
Then a discovery found buried in a nearby field throws a strange new light on the case … and in attempting to find the answers, Gabriel Taverner and Coroner Theophilus Davey unearth a series of shocking secrets stretching back more than fourteen years.
October, 1093. At her mentor's urgent request, Lassair is accompanying Gurdyman across the sea to Spain. But why is he so insistent on embarking on this difficult and dangerous journey just as winter approaches? And why does he seem so afraid? Could there be any connection to the vagrant found lying dead outside his home, a single pearl clutched in his outstretched hand?
As the pair reach the remote mountainous regions of northern Spain, Lassair will be tested as never before. Hot on her trail is Jack Chevestrier, the young lawman who loves her. But who is it who's trying to kill him ... and why?
Devon, 1607. Gabriel Taverner, former ship’s surgeon turned country physician, is called to examine a rotting body found impaled on a blade. Identifying the corpse seems a hopeless task and the death is declared a suicide.
But Gabriel is not satisfied and re-examines the body – making the first of a series of shocking discoveries that will lead him deep into the dark underbelly of the lucrative silk trade. As he investigates, Gabriel realises that not only was the death a murder – but even worse, he had a personal connection with the corpse.
September, 1216. A foreign army has invaded England. The country is divided. Some support the rebel barons and Prince Louis of France; others remain loyal to the king. His rule under threat, King John summons Sir Josse d’Acquin to support him. But can Sir Josse save the king from himself?
Meanwhile, Josse’s daughter Meggie is summoned to Hawkenlye Abbey to attend a sick patient in a very distressed state. The elderly woman is warning of terrible danger unless she can complete her mission. What she learns from her patient will set Meggie on a perilous journey to retrieve a cursed treasure. But will she be in time to prevent a tragedy?
A medieval mystery from the author of the Hawkenlye series
It is 1087 and William Rufus has just ascended the throne; England lies under a harsh new militaristic regime. Rebellion is in the air and, in the shadows, secrets are muttered that men will kill for. On her sister’s wedding day, Lassair meets an attractive and enigmatic stranger who brings a breath of the glamorous and fascinating outside world to her backwater Fenland village.
Young and confident, when Lassair is asked to use her unique talents to help locate a mysterious treasure she accepts with barely a hesitation – despite the grave consequences should the mission be discovered. But after a night-time march across East Anglia, Lassair begins to understand the danger she is in. For this is no ordinary treasure hunt; the object of the perilous search is five hundred years old and has a terrifying power of its own . . .
A Hawkenlye medieval mystery
Autumn 1196. A secretive stranger arrives at New Winnowlands, and Sir Josse d'Acquin guesses that he is a returning Crusader. Josse seeks the assistance of Abbess Helewise of Hawkenlye to have the man's injuries treated in the infirmary. But then the various demons who are on the man's trail begin to turn up, and Josse realizes that his mysterious guest has brought with him a terrible secret . . .
The latest Hawkenlye medieval mystery
May 1199. Abbess Helewise has been summoned by Queen Eleanor to discuss the building of a chapel at Hawkenlye Abbey. Meanwhile, Sir Josse d'Acquin is on the trail of a group of mysterious knights rumoured to be devil worshippers. As Helewise heads for home, Josse follows his quarry to Chartres, where he meets the last person he expects: Joanna. And she has grave problems of her own . . .
Sir Josse d’Acquin and Helewise are summoned to Southfire Hall, where Josse’s elderly uncle, Hugh, lies dying, surrounded by his children. But the pair soon discovers that Hugh’s ill health is not the only cause of distress in the house: for Hugh’s son and heir, Herbert, has taken an unpleasant new wife, the widowed Lady Cyrille.
Josse and Helewise are distracted by the discovery of an injured young man on the road outside on the evening of their arrival, but the longer they remain in the house, the more they feel that something is very wrong. What happened to Josse’s cousin Aeleis, who no one speaks of? Where is Lady Cyrille’s small son? And why do they both feel as if the house itself is alive – and threatened by approaching evil?
It is February 1194. A desperately ill man is making for Hawkenlye Abbey in the hope of a miracle cure. In his delirium he sees the Virgin Mary and, sinking to his knees, he begins to pray. She is the last person he will ever see.
The winter cold intensifies and the Vale lake freezes over. It is only when the thaw sets in that a corpse is discovered in the icy waters, its skull crushed by a lethal blow. With no clues on the body but an apothecary's remedy, Abbess Helewise asks her trusted friend Sir Josse d'Acquin to find out the man's identity. As Josse sets out on his mission, a party of sick people arrive seeking help, and their sickness looks terrifyingly like plague . . .
A grove of huge oak trees in the Wealden forest is felled. And, as if some ancient curse is being brought alive, the man who wielded the axes meets with a violent end.
The Sheriff claims the Forest People did it, but Abbess Helewise believes a supernatural solution is too easy an answer. She consults Josse d'Acquin, whose manor house in the Weald is now being renovated, and he, concerned about the safety of two girls from the abbey, enters the forest himself - to find something in this ancient part of Britain that terrifies even him.
Shortly before his unexpected coronation, King Richard passed a law letting all of England's prisoners go free.
Shortly afterwards a young nun is found, gruesomely murdered. Richard swiftly employs an old military colleague of his, Josse d'Acquin, to unravel this hideous mystery. Who could have wanted to kill this innocent young novice, and, more worryingly, why?
Josse goes to Hawkenlye Abbey to find out the answers to these questions. He is having little success until meets the Abbess Helewise, a woman who quickly proves herself to be his equal, both as an amateur sleuth, and as a figure the community can rely on during this turbulent time for England.
This duo have to find the murderer, and find him quickly, or they'll have the King of England to answer to...