In a supernatural novel with echoes of Alan Garner and Kate Mosse, Geoffrey Gudgion chills the modern reader as the supernatural past invades the present.
Fergus Sheppard’s world changes for ever the day his car crashes near the remote village of Allingley. Traumatised by his near-death experience, he returns to thank the villagers who rescued him, and stays to work at the local stables as he recovers from his injuries. He will discover a gentler pace of life, fall in love – and be targeted for human sacrifice.
Clare Harvey’s life will never be the same either. The young archaeologist’s dream find – the peat-preserved body of a Saxon warrior – is giving her nightmares. She can tell that the warrior had been ritually murdered, and that the partial skeleton lying nearby is that of a young woman. And their tragic story is unfolding in her head every time she goes to sleep.
Fergus discovers that his crash is uncannily linked to the excavation, and that the smiling and beautiful countryside harbours some very dark secrets. As the pagan festival of Beltane approaches, and Clare’s investigation reveals the full horror of a Dark Age war crime, Fergus and Clare seem destined to share the Saxon couple’s bloody fate.
"Once there was a great classical tradition of rural British horror from MR James to The Wicker Man. Now Geoffrey Gudgion has revived the style and modernised it to great effect, proving there's still nothing as creepy as the countryside." Christopher Fowler
|Product dimensions:||4.40(w) x 6.64(h) x 1.14(d)|
About the Author
Geoffrey Gudgion was the scholarship boy who was never bright enough to realise he’d have been happier as a writer than a businessman. Until, that is, he had a spectacular row with his boss and stepped off the corporate ladder. Prior to that epiphany, he made his first attempts at writing fiction during long deployments in the Royal Navy, and consistently failed to reconcile writing with being CEO of a technology company. Geoff likes his plots to have a strong sense of place that can be traced to his geography professor at Cambridge, who inspired his love of the English landscape and taught him to see traces of the distant past in the patterns of how we live today. No surprise, then, that Geoff’s first novel should be set in the 21st century but be grounded in the Dark Ages, and have at its heart an Anglo Saxon legend. Geoff lives with his wife in the Chiltern Hills between London and Oxford, and divides his time between writing and business consulting. He’s also a keen horseman and a very bad pianist. Both of these passions have been known to creep into his writing. Saxon’s Bane is his first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sucks you in from the first page. Believe it or not, the initiating car wreck is told so well, you can smell the spilled gasoline and the stag’s wet fur. After the wreck, Fergus has lots of issues, not least his rehab and the loss of his partner, Kate, but also his developing connection to the town of Allingley. There are good guys and bad guys and an archaeologist, Clare, who dreams her work and worries she might be going crazy because the dreams are so vividly entwined with her waking life. There is also a riding stable and the owner whose connection to place is even deeper than Fergus’ own. When Fergus makes a local enemy and is targeted for human sacrifice, the bad guys use Clare to try and get to him. Lots of history and mythology sprinkled throughout and it’s great fun. Pretty good story when you hit the end and try to turn the page anyway, even though the story ended perfectly. Received free copy for review.
A chance encounter with a white stag on a mountainous road near the village of Allingley transforms Fergus Sheppard from a rational computer salesman to a man open to the possibilities of the paranormal. Swerving to avoid the stag, car hurtles down a steep slope. Trapped and injured, Fergus watches a strange man with a stag tattoo on his forehead comfort his friend Kate during her last moments. Simultaneously, a bog body, similarly tattooed and thought to be a Saxon warrior, is uncovered nearby. Months later and on the mend, Fergus returns to Allingley to live and work until fully recovered. Eadlin, a local stable owner, and Clare, the archaeologist excavating the bog where the Saxon was murdered, help Fergus rebuild his life, one with a job and the other with her love. But as Fergus and Clare are discovering a gentle magic surrounding the village, evil is afoot. Eadlin's ex-beau, Jake Hearne, perverts sleeping powers of the area, first with animal sacrifice and sacrilegious ceremonies, that moves from the level of malicious mischief to a frightening conclusion. Light fantasy elements, well developed characters, a touch of romance, and glimpses of an ancient tragedy enhance a well paced plot. Recommended.
By the dark waters of a quiet millpond lying in the heart of a quaint English village, a pair of workers unearth an ancient injustice. Geoffrey Gudgion has skillfully woven the interconnections showing how the lingering power disturbed in this peat bog, ripples outwards -- forever altering the lives of an injured businessman from the city, an academic archaeologist, a local horse trainer, a local pub owner and the rest of the village residents. Saxon’s Bane is an absorbing, very enjoyable book containing an evolving mystery, gently revealed lessons for its readers, memorable characters, raw emotions and a strong sense of place. Author Gudgion’s nuanced view of the peaceful countryside taught me that beneath the veneer of normalcy in this post-card village, lurks hidden currents and whispered secrets. Not all of them are mere gossip, either. Saxon’s Bane tells how a heart-wrenching curse wrung out of painful loss can live on for more than a thousand years. When several events coincide, a powerful force for retribution is unleashed. Its actions remain hidden, working along unnoticed pathways until too much damage has been done to be contained. The characters, each a complete study in confronting disbelief, injury and betrayal, are affected in personal, private ways. Some share their emotional burdens as their reality begins to dissolve while others fall into madness and evil. Some turn to their village priest while some turn to an even older faith. They all remain highly accessible throughout and reminded me of people I’ve known and worked with. This made reading Saxon’s Bane not just an adventure, but also a troubling and often funny look at how we see our world of beliefs, our chosen lives and our relationships with each other. I recommend this book for anyone who appreciates how the past still exists in the present.