For many years one of my pleasures has been walking over Dartmoor in all seasons and in all weathers.
No-one can walk through that stunning, atmospheric landscape and be unaffected by it. The imposing granite outcrops bursting through the tops of the tors; the rivers rushing and tumbling through steep-sided gorges; the purple heather and the yellow gorse with the seductive smell of coconut; the cry of the curlew in spring, the song of the skylark, the strange call of the nightjar at dusk; and, perhaps most affecting of all, the rows of standing stones put in place by Bronze Age man and still keeping silent watch over the moor.
I couldn’t help noticing how many locations are associated with pixies, or ‘the little people’, the associations showing up in names (Pixies’ Cave, Pixies’ Parlour, Pixies’ Pool, Pixies’ Holt etc), but also in local folklore. William Crossing, in compiling his Guide to Dartmoor, collected hundreds of folktales relating to pixies.
I thought that it would be quite possible for a tribe of tiny people to live unnoticed among the clitter, natural caves, man-made mineshafts, woods and waist-high bracken. Ideas for a novel began to form. I didn’t want my tiny people to be pixies or elves, but normal human beings who happened to be very small, for then I could imagine how they felt about the increasing numbers of full-size people invading their territory. I began to build a picture of these people. I gave them their own folklore that traced their history to the ancient Celtic tribe, the Votadini. I also gave them the ultimate problem: no longer capable of producing children, the Dini are dying out.
Another longstanding passion of mine has been the Arthurian legends. I used the folklore of the Dini to establish a connection and entwine those legends into a modern day story.
I called my first novel Dartmoor…The Saving. It was published as a paperback under the Moorhen Publishing imprint. It was really written as a retirement hobby, rather than as an attempt at finding another career, so I was pleasantly surprised at the press reviews and the sales that followed. The book seems to have touched so many people. I have been very moved to receive more than 200 letters and emails from readers.
I wrote a sequel. Myrddin’s War was published two years later and completes the tale of the Dini.
Both books continue to sell steadily in print format, but the advent of ebook versions has extended the marketplace worldwide.
In all respects it is an excellent read and I was gripped from the first page. This author could be as widely read and respected as Tolkien or Pullman.
The Readers’ Review Magazine
This book is different and makes interesting reading. The next time I walk the moor I know I may not be alone. Slowly but surely this book grips you, like a snake crushing your bones. Five Stars.
Will enchant and capture its readers.
Get the book and read on. You won’t be disappointed.
Looking for the next Lord of the Rings? This fantasy tale set on Dartmoor promises to fit the bill.
Western Morning News
I found myself sitting up at nights reading it.
Written with an easy clarity which is very reader friendly. The central creation is intriguing.
The Writers’ Workshop
Will appeal to those drawn to the Celtic legends.
I was riveted! I spent a whole weekend reading – I couldn’t put it down.
Unlike anything you may have read before. A breath of fresh air. Highly recommended.