The Rules of Trade (The Peaceweaver, Book One)

The Rules of Trade (The Peaceweaver, Book One) is an historical novel set in 8th. century Northumbria. Release TBD.

In the year 793, a great Viking raid devastated the rich monastery of Lindisfarne, announcing the opening of the Viking age. In a small coastal village a few miles south of Lindisfarne, Elswyth, the daughter of a simple thegn and a slave, is preparing to marry a nobleman, Drefan of Bamburgh, a match that will secure her family’s fortunes. But Elswyth’s family has been trading with a Norse clan since before she was born and when Leif, the son of the Norse yarl, arrives seeking to raise a ransom for his kidnapped father by selling Christian holy books, Elswyth is charged with keeping the peace between Drefan and Leif. On its own this would be difficult enough, but it becomes so much harder when Elswyth finds herself starting to fall for Leif. If Elswyth follows her heart, or fails to allay Drefan’s growing suspicions, bloodshed and slavery are certain to follow.

Being a peaceweaver was one of the responsibilities of the lady of an Anglo-Saxon hall. It was her job to keep peace between the boastful warriors who feasted with her lord. We don’t have a cover design for The Peaceweaver yet, but here is an picture which illustrates one of the duties of a peaceweaver. It is by J. R. Skelton of Wealhtheow, Queen of the Danes,  from the 1908 children’s book Stories of Beowulf by H. E. Marshall .

St. Agnes and the Selkie (The Peaceweaver, Book Two)

St. Agnes and the Selkie (The Peaceweaver, Book Two) is an historical novel set in 8th. century Northumbria. Release TBD.

Mother Wynflaed of Whitby Abbey rules a joint house of monks and nuns, and many layfolk besides. Her office forbids her to have favorites, but when a young woman appears on the doorstep, soaked from the sea and too terrified to speak her name, Wynflaed comes to see her not only as a potential postulant, but as a daughter. She names her Agnes, but before Agnes can become part of the community, Wynflaed must discover her secret.

Though Wynflaed finds it impossible to think ill of Agnes, Agnes herself keeps pulling down one penance after another on her head, as if trying to expiate some grave crime. As some in the abbey begin to fear her, Agnes becomes Wynflaed’s obsession, upsetting the harmony of the abbey, and leading Wynflaed to question her own fitness to rule.

When Eardwulf, the young king of Northumbria, comes to Wynflaed seeking counsel, he too becomes infatuated with Agnes. As Wynflaed begins to unwind Agnes’ secret, she realizes that Agnes is a danger to both the abbey and the king, and plans to send her away. But Eardwulf has other ideas, and Agnes has other admirers.

Monks and nuns writing, separated by a wall.

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight is a literary fantasy. Release TBD.

Isabel resists the Elf Knight’s seduction and kills him with his own sword. With the  Elf Knight’s horse, sword, and horn at her disposal, she is convinced she can do good in the world. At first, all seems to be going well. Isabel is able to save herself and her new friends Etty and Dotrice from rape at the hands of a pair of louts, slitting their throats with a precision a skilled butcher could only envy.

But Isabel discovers that the Elf Knight’s tools have a taste for bloodletting that cannot be sated or controlled. They need only a hand to wield them and by the time Isabel resolves to put them down, it is too late. She has become the Elf Maiden, a seducer and destroyer of princes and a danger to everyone she loves.
La Belle Dam Sans Merci painting.

Non-fiction

For information on my non-fiction (technical) books, see Every Page is Page One.