There is certainly no loss of verve, adventure or indeed style in Brian John s latest book in this long-running saga. In Conspiracy of Angels the reader is taken back to 1810 and a youthful 31-year-old Martha Morgan is back as mistress of Plas Ingli after a period of absence of which she will give no true account. Being a woman of this period is a serious disadvantage, especially a woman without a husband beside her, with children to bring up and without great wealth. As always there is much hurtful gossip, but Martha s ever-loyal staff, her family and friends, particularly grandpa Isaac and granny Jane, and her mentor the wizard Joseph Harris, are there to support her. However, will they be enough? Following a premonition on a damp Angel Mountain, Martha becomes involved in a secretive anti-slavery movement; child torture, blackmail and the Sons of Obeah all add to the nail-biting intensity of the plot. If the reader were to assume that that is all John s story tells, they would be very much mistaken. The author is a master of connecting interwoven threads. His secondary characters, no less colourful than the protagonists, jump from the page with the intrigue of their daily lives and adventures all adding to this riveting saga. As usual John has excelled himself with his art of story-telling, his humour and his literary prowess. Conspiracy of Angels is the eighth in the Angel Mountain saga, of which more than 65,000 copies have been sold to date. A grand achievement by a born raconteur. --Norma Penfold -- Gwales.com (Welsh Books Council)
So pleased to reacquaint myself with Martha Morgan again - this is another totally gripping tale from Brian John. He writes with such credibilty that it's hard to believe that Plas Ingli and its occupants are all fictional. The historical element is equally fascinating, and I have been completely convinced each time I read the novels in this amazing saga. It is such a shame that the BBC haven't got their act together and realised what an enthralling series this would make....or someone with some vision in S4C who could translate it into Welsh...we have the actors, the scenery is already there...if Hollywood can see the benefit of Pembrokeshire, why can't those nearer home ???! I think Nia Roberts would make a superb, feisty, enigmatic Martha. Diolch yn fawr Brian John (PS. I (almost) think that the best part of each book is the beginning - it is SO clever at drawing one in from the very first moment). --Amelia Davies
Another scorching page-turner in the life of Mistress Martha, the 19th century heroine whose life has been recorded in such convincing detail through family feuds, murders and the mundane experiences of daily life.... The finding of Martha's diaries is the portal into the stories of her life, and one which cleverly builds the early excitement from opening the first pages........ the idea of finding something hidden, and of revealing it to the world works its spell, for once the current diary is found, its credibility is established. For her time, Martha is nothing if not a liberated woman, aware of her class and yet also democratic and classless in her treatment of others. The joy of the series is that beginners can join at any point since each book or diary stands alone as well as being connected, so this one is as good a place to start as any. And for those who know Mistress Martha well, they will already be queuing up for a copy. --Liz Whittaker, Tivyside Advertiser
About the Author
Brian John is a prolific and prize-winning author with more than 80 books to his name. He was born in Carmarthen in 1940 and brought up in Pembrokeshire. He is married and has two grown up sons and two grandsons. He studied at Haverfordwest Grammar School and at Jesus College Oxford, where he read Geography, had a lot of fun and obtained his D Phil degree for a pioneering study of the Ice Age in Pembrokeshire. When he was a student he led two University expeditions, to Iceland and Greenland, and thinks it is a minor miracle that he survived. He then worked as a field scientist in Antarctica and spent eleven years as a Geography Lecturer in Durham University. He has travelled widely, mostly in cold places. In 1977 he and his family moved to a smallholding near Newport in Pembrokeshire, and since then he has made his living as a writer and publisher. He is also actively involved in environmental and community organizations. He has published hundreds of articles and around 80 books, and among his publishers are Collins, Pan, Orbis, Aurum Press/HMSO, Longman, Corgi, David and Charles, Wiley and Edward Arnold. His published output includes university texts, walking guides, coffee table glossies, and books of popular science. Many of his titles have been published by Greencroft Books, and have been of particular interest to readers in Wales -- for example tourist guides, books of local jokes, walkers' handbooks, and titles on local folklore and traditions. Then came the Angel Mountain Saga, which transformed his life as a writer. His first novel, called On Angel Mountain, was published by Greencroft Books in 2001, and became an instant success. It has now been through seven print runs, and has racked up sales in excess of 27,000 -- not a bad total for a small backwoods publisher. There are now eight novels in the Angel Mountain series, and total sales of all titles are in excess of 65,000. Mistress Martha Morgan, the heroine of all the titles, has become something of a cult figure in her own right.