Pagans tackle the Knights of St John with terrible consequences in the new medieval thriller by Queen of the Dark Ages, Karen Maitland. Set on the wilds of Dartmoor, this is a ghostly tale for fans of The Essex Serpent, C. J. Sansom’s Shardlake series and The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse.

‘A dark read… fear and hysteria are portrayed with claustrophobic skill’ The Times on THE PLAGUE CHARMER


1316. On the wilds of Dartmoor stands the isolated Priory of St Mary, home to the Sisters of the Knights of St John. People journey from afar in search of healing at the holy well that lies beneath its chapel.

But the locals believe Dartmoor was theirs long before Christianity came to the land. And not all who visit seek miracles. When three strangers reach the moor, fear begins to stir as the well’s waters run with blood.

What witchcraft have the young woman, the Knight of St John and the blind child brought with them?

The Sisters will need to fight for everything they hold dear as the ghosts of the Old World gather in their midst.

Riddle me this: I have a price, but it cannot be paid in gold or silver.

1361. Porlock Weir, Exmoor. Thirteen years after the Great Pestilence, plague strikes England for the second time. Sara, a packhorse man’s wife, remembers the horror all too well and fears for safety of her children.
Only a dark-haired stranger offers help, but at a price that no one will pay.

Fear gives way to hysteria in the village and, when the sickness spreads to her family, Sara finds herself locked away by neighbours she has trusted for years. And, as her husband – and then others – begin to die, the cost no longer seems so unthinkable.

The price that I ask, from one willing to pay… A human life.

Vincent is an apprentice librarian who stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to destroy his master. With the foolish arrogance of youth, he attempts blackmail but the attempt fails and Vincent finds himself on the run and in possession of an intricately carved silver raven’s head.

Any attempt to sell the head fails … until Vincent tries to palm it off on the intimidating Lord Sylvain – unbeknown to Vincent, a powerful Alchemist with an all-consuming quest. Once more Vincent’s life is in danger because Sylvain and his neighbours, the menacing White Canons, consider him a predestined sacrifice in their shocking experiment.

Chilling and with compelling hints of the supernatural, The Raven’s Head is a triumph for Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages.

Liars and Thieves is an exclusive new short story set against the backdrop of the plague outbreak of 1348 by Karen Maitland, author of the much-loved Company of Liars.

‘Combines the storytelling traditions of The Canterbury Tales with the supernatural suspense of Mosse’s Sepulchre in this atmospheric tale of treachery and magic’ Marie Claire on Company of Liars

Camelot and Narigorm the rune reader return to delight fans of Karen Maitland’s classic novel as the company – in their desperate bid to outrun the plague – encounter a band of outlaws, who are making the most of the breakdown in law and order to steal from the weak … and kill at leisure.

But in the child Narigorm they might just have met their match – for plague is the lesser of those two evils.

1348 Plague has come to England. And the lies you tell will be the death of you.

A scarred trader in holy relics. A conjuror. A musician and his apprentice. A one-armed story teller. A young couple on the run. A midwife. And a rune-reading girl.

A group of misfits band together to escape the plague. But in their midst lurks a curse darker and more malign than the pestilence they flee…

Company of Liars was shortlisted in the US for a Sue Feder Memorial Award for best historical mystery of 2008, one of the Macavity Awards.

Fear is a question of what you believe. And belief could be the death of you.

In the heart of the countryside lies an isolated village, where pagan Owl Masters rule through fear, superstition and murder.

When a group of religious women ill-advisedly settles outside their village, they awaken dangerous jealousies. Why do their crops succeed when village crops fail? How do their cattle survive the plague? Are they concealing a holy relic that protects them from harm?

The Owl Masters cry ‘witchcraft’ and sharpen their talons. As torment and hellfire rain down, the women must take a stand to stop this darkness spreading its evil across the land.

The Thirteenth century has just begun and King John has fallen out with the Pope, leaving babies to lie unbaptised in their cradles and corpses in unconsecrated ground. Across a fear-ravaged England, people are dying in sin.

And into the Norfolk village of Gastmere comes a new Lord of the Manor – the cruel and bloodthirsty Osborn, not long returned from crusading. Spying treachery at every turn, he is prepared on the slightest pretext to damn anyone to hell and the scaffold.

So when Elena, a servant girl, is falsely accused of murdering her child, she is convinced she will be next. But there are others who will defy Osborn’s brutal regime to save a girl who once took part in the secrets and strange rituals of the manor…

The inquisition displays its power and ruthlessly spreads fear. Heretics are tortured and burned. Any who opposes the Church quickly realizes that silence is preferable to a slow and agonising death.

Isabela, daughter of the Falconer at the Royal Court, is about to be caught in the Church’s terrifying plot. The slaughter of two of the King’s precious white falcons sees her father arrested and imprisoned. As punishment, he and his family will be killed unless the birds are replaced.

Isabela, young and headstrong, decides that only she can save her father. These birds are impossibly rare and she will have to travel far and into strange lands to find them to clear her father’s name. It is a journey that will take her into a dark and dangerous world filled with menacing people driven by fearful beliefs.

And, unfortunately for Isabel, The Church has sent a companion to ensure she never returns…

Set in Portugal and Iceland, Falcons of Fire & Ice was published on 16th August 2012.

Falcons of Fire & Ice has been chosen by two of The Booksellers independent panel, Emma Giacon, Book Content Manager of Amazon and Sarah Clarke, co-owner of The Torbay Bookshop, as amongst their top choices of forthcoming novels.

I posted a guest-blog about the background and influences behind Falcons of Fire & Ice to on the crime and thriller book website –  Shots Magazine and also at book fanatics website the Book Smugglers website. Thanks to the hosts of both of those websites for inviting me to guest blog on their brilliant sites.

The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland, author of the hugely popular Company of Liars will thrill fans of CJ Sansom and Kate Mosse with its chilling recreation of the Peasants’ Revolt. It offers an intelligent, beautifully researched glimpse of a more deadly, superstitious era …

‘A compelling blend of historical grit and supernatural twists’ Daily Mail on The Falcons of Fire and Ice

The reign of Richard II is troubled, the poor are about to become poorer still and landowners are lining their pockets. It’s a case of every man for himself, whatever his status or wealth. But in a world where nothing can be taken at face value, who can you trust?

The dour wool merchant?
His impulsive son?
The stepdaughter with the hypnotic eyes?
Or the raven-haired widow clutching her necklace of bloodstones?

And when people start dying unnatural deaths and the peasants decide it’s time to fight back, it’s all too easy to spy witchcraft at every turn.


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