A time and place much like our own. Hardship up and down the country. People turned out of their homes; others living rich beyond the dreams of the dispossessed. Above all, religious hatred sending groups into hiding; feeding constant fear of plots and threats and rumour. Terrorist packmen roam the remote parts of the country. Celebrity and Royalty parade in a public sexual carnival.
This is England in the last years of the Stuarts; England in the days just before Monmouth’s rebellion; England at the time of the “Popish plot”; England of Restoration Comedy romps.
In these dangerous times how can a naïve girl live? It’s harder to find a safe path through the thickets of treason and bigotry than through the rip-tides and quicksands, solid routes and sanctuary in the sand of Morecambe Bay.
Her occultist father’s body burned; her brother pronounced dead from the deepest dungeon of Lancaster Castle; she fears herself threatened by with marriage-by-rape to a predatory Placeman.
The man she trusts is a fellow scholar of the occult, who speaks of her father with respect, who rescued her from the backstreets of Lancaster. On separate occasions, she has given him her necklet, her pledge and her maidenhead.
Too late she realises that he is a sexless megalomaniac, who will use any vulnerable woman in his experiments in hypnosis and generating mass hysteria.
That’s how she finds herself a desperate prisoner in a grim old farmhouse high in the Cumbrian Fells, the centre of a network plotting the overthrow of the government, and dares the only escape she can think of.
More to follow...