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His first excursion into historical fantasy is Half Sick of Shadows - a retelling and metamorphosis of the Arthurian tale of The Lady of Shalott. The book was awarded an IndieBrag medallion in December 2017.
His first science fiction book, Far from the Spaceports, introduces Mitnash Thakur and his virtual partner Slate as they investigate financial crime in the asteroid belt. A follow-up novel, Timing, takes place about a year later, and sees the duo travelling down to Mars and its moon Phobos to thwart a plot targeting AIs.
The Liminal Zone takes the setting twenty more years into the future, and out to Pluto's moon Charon. Further books in this science fiction universe are in preparation.
His first book, In a Milk and Honeyed Land, explores events in the Egyptian province of Canaan. It follows the life, loves, and struggles of a priest in the small hill town of Kephrath.
A follow-up novel entitled Scenes from a Life begins in Egypt. It follows the journey of a scribe as he travels to discover his origins. down the Nile from Luxor and finally out into Canaan.
A third book, The Flame Before Us, is set in the middle of calamity. New settlers are arriving from the north, sacking cities and disrupting the established ways of life as they come. This story follows several different groups each trying to adjust to the new situation.
Author readings from most of these books are available online as YouTube videos, and also as part of a range of Alexa skills.
Richard lives and works in Cumbria, England, as part of a family business. This includes all manner of jobs including designing AI skills for Alexa and similar technologies. When not writing words or computer code, he enjoys spending time with family, walking, and wildlife, ideally combining all three pursuits in the English Lake District.
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Selkies in Space?
Nina Buraca, investigator of possible signs of alien life, has heard tales of mysterious events on Pluto's moon Charon, where a science outpost studies extrasolar planets. Facing opposition from her colleagues, she nevertheless travels from Earth to uncover the truth. Once there, she finds herself working with a team of people who have many secrets. To make progress, she has to take sides in an old dispute that she knows nothing about.
Can she determine who – or what – is really behind the name "selkies", that the station's staff have given to this uncanny phenomenon? And how will the discovery change her life?
The Liminal Zone, a novel in the Far from the Spaceports series, takes you a further twenty years into the future – and out to the edge of our solar system – for an encounter with the unknown.
"...Abbott uses his deep understanding of human nature to explore what would happen in a future where outer space is much less about what’s “out there” than what’s inside us..." (Breakfast with Pandora Books)
In ancient Britain, a Lady is living in a stone-walled house on an island in the middle of a river. So far as the people know, she has always been there. They sense her power, they hear her singing, but they never meet her.
At first her life is idyllic. She wakes, she watches, she wanders in her garden, she weaves a complex web of what she sees, and she sleeps again. But as she grows, this pattern becomes narrow and frustrating. She longs to meet those who cherish her, but she cannot. The scenes beyond the walls of her home are different every time she wakes, and everyone she encounters is lost, swallowed up by the past.
But when she finds the courage to break the cycle, there is no going back. Can she bear the cost of finding freedom? And what will her people do, when they finally come face to face with a lady of legend who is not at all what they have imagined?
A retelling – and metamorphosis – of Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott.
"…a splendid good read..." (Breakfast with Pandora)
"...Abbott’s characters are very personable and make for good companions..." (The New Podler Review of Books)
"...the newest novel to feature the islands is quite literally ‘out of this world'..." (Radio Scilly)
Quick wits and loyalty confront high-tech crime in space
Welcome to the Scilly Isles, a handful of asteroids bunched together in space, well beyond the orbit of Mars. This remote and isolated habitat is home to a diverse group of human settlers, and a whole flock of parakeets. But earth-based financial regulator ECRB suspects that it’s also home to serious large scale fraud, and the reputation of the islands comes under threat.
Enter Mitnash Thakur and his virtual partner Slate, sent out from Earth to investigate. Their ECRB colleagues are several weeks away at their ship’s best speed, and even message signals take an hour for the round trip. Slate and Mitnash are on their own, until they can work out who on Scilly to trust. How will they cope when the threat gets personal?
Mitnash and his AI companion Slate, coders and investigators of interplanetary fraud, are at work again in Timing, the sequel to Far from the Spaceports.
This time their travels take them from Jupiter to Mars, chasing a small-scale scam which seems a waste of their time. Then the case escalates dramatically into threats and extortion. Robin's Rebels, a new player in the game, is determined to bring down the financial world, and Slate's fellow AIs are the targets. Will Slate be the next victim?
The clues lead them back to the asteroid belt, and to their friends on the Scilly Isles. The next attack will be here, and Mitnash and Slate must put themselves in the line of fire. To solve the case, they need to team up with an old adversary - the only person this far from Earth who has the necessary skills to help them. But can they trust somebody who keeps their own agenda so well hidden?
"...absorbing and credible…" (Historical Novel Society)
" …satisfies as a love story, coming of age tale, and historical narrative." (Blue Ink Review)
Life, love and conflict in the hill country
Damariel is apprenticed as a young man by the village priest, whose reckless actions lead to his disgrace. Damariel manages to avoid becoming implicated in the matter and carries on his training, marrying his childhood friend Qetirah shortly before they begin their shared ministry in the town.
Feeling ashamed of their continuing inability to have children, Qetirah becomes pregnant by the chief of the four towns, but the pregnancy is difficult. Damariel’s anger and outrage spills over into the marriage. He holds the chief responsible for the situation but cannot see how to get either justice or revenge.
"...Wide in scope and rich in detail and plot..." (Historical Novel Society>
"...…A surprising tenderness in the face of brutality, loss, and displacement..." (Breakfast with Pandora)
Conflict and commitment in the shadow of a city's downfall
The raiding ships have come before, but this time it is different. This time the attackers are coming to stay, and defensive walls will not hold them back. Nowhere is safe. One by one, the great kings and their vassal cities collapse as the newcomers advance.
The land is already a patchwork of many different peoples, bound together in a fragile web of traditional alliances and rivalries. How will political and personal promises change with the arrival of the new clans? Is war inevitable, or can a different answer be found?
Walk with refugees, migrants, and defenders of the land alike, as they struggle to create a different way of life beside the ruins of the old. Can alliance, commitment and love survive the turmoil?
"...Full of emotional highs and lows..." (Hoover Book reviews)
"...evocative sentences or phrases that add so much to the atmosphere of the book..." (The Review Group)
What journey would you make to encounter the meaning of a dream?
Makty-Rasut is a scribe in New Kingdom Egypt, fashioning tombs for the elite. He lives a comfortable but restless life, moving every few years further upstream along the river Nile. He is content to exercise his talent without examining his origins.
Then a series of vivid dreams, interpreted with the help of a senior priest, disrupts this pattern. To solve the riddle, he must go on a journey that will take him outside the Beloved Land and away from the life that he knows. His travels take him into the neighbouring province of Canaan, to a hill-country village called Kephrath, and to a way of life he has never considered.
"Belita-Labiy found it difficult to concentrate, though, with the news rippling around the hill country. So far the raids had not been too close, but from all that she had heard, these groups of men were swift to move, and swift to strike, wherever they pleased. Who could say which town they might visit next? So when the festival came she knew that her dancing, while apparently as fluent and potent as ever, lacked the whole-hearted commitment that she preferred. It could not be helped, but the distraction nagged at her. All the while that she danced like Taliy in the earliest garden, and later as her body thrilled and her voice cried out in lovemaking, part of her soul was anxiously flitting around the uplands, trying to guess what would happen next."
From the abstract:
This study aims to show that the Israel Stele of Merenptah and the Song of the Sea in Exodus 15 share sufficient common compositional principles and poetic devices as to support a similar dating for the two works. Indeed, the specific combinations of large-scale principles and small-scale devices are shown to be unique within their respective cultures. These claims are supported by analysis of a wide spectrum of both Egyptian and Hebrew triumphal material, together with insights drawn from wider studies in poetics and culture. Some original insights into Egyptian principles of poetic composition are suggested, together with the
corresponding cross-cultural implications for Israelite poetry. The later textual history of incorporation of the original poetic work into its current narrative context is also considered.
“They are more of a threat to themselves just now. But two things might happen. One is that men might join, and stay, who have some weapons and some real aggression. Then they might start to intrude on surrounding towns including this Kephrath. Or, and maybe more likely, they could bring a plague of sickness into the area. These are not men who know how to live outside, not for the most part. A few have been slaves, but most of them are workers who have always been told what to do. They are used to living in houses. The main thing that protects Kephrath is that they do not know how to act in concert as a group. They are just like a rough heap of gravel. But perhaps someone could turn them into a rock and start to pound others around them.”