Could you survive a year of conflict in Tudor England and unravel the mystery of the Cataclysm?
As the destruction of monasteries by Henry V111 leads to uprisings in the north, a monk fleeing from torture learns of worse to come. Dr Nicholas Douglas finds himself transformed, and in York, forging allies and gathering evidence to thwart the Cataclysm of 1541
Now five years since the northern rebellion against the Reformation and the Act of Supremacy, King Henry V111 arrests, tortures and executes ringleaders, and subsequently organises the 1541 Northern Progress. Rebel monk, Brother Bernard, whilst detained in the Tower of London, becomes aware of a conspiracy that would threaten the very fabric of faith in England and it becomes his dying quest to alert his allies in York.
As summer arrives, Dr Nicholas Douglas finds himself in York but much transformed. He is determined to lead the cause against the impending Cataclysm and seek out like-minded rebel agents.
Undercover as City washerwomen, Elspeth and her sister, Wynnfrith query young local lad, Edward Fawkes, about the Micklegate Mouse not knowing who or what it is. In turn, they decide to recruit Edward’s uncle, The Mayor of York who tasks Silas, a delusional and accident prone adventurer with acquiring further intelligence. As clues, witnesses, documents, codes and designs are uncovered, they deduce that there will be a Cataclysmic event in York.
The agents scatter throughout England with those in Lincoln becoming almost consumed by the travelling Court and becoming favourites of Thomas Culpeper, Queen Catherine Howard and the King himself. As an awkward romance develops between Silas and Wynnfrith, and a terminal romance kindles between Queen Catherine Howard and Culpeper, the agents uncover the diabolical deceit and collaborate to thwart it.
1541 is quirky historical fiction, a story of integrity and inclusion for readers who enjoy humour, pathos and mystery combined with engaging and unpredictable characters and is supported by 4 original watercolour paintings by the author.
• the mystery of ancient texts, secret messages, cryptic documents and the cataclysm perpetrators
• the dedication and determination of Elspeth, the rebel nun.
• the suffering of imprisoned monks.
• the conflicts between agents and the perpetrators.
• amusement at Silas’s attempts at espionage.
• the danger of Queen Catherine’s affair with Culpeper
• admiration of Wynn’s attitude to her disability and the cause.
• the enigma and humour of the “Micklegate Mouse”
• the scale and awe of York Minster
• the frustration of Silas’s romance.
• the isolation of King Henry
• the inner conflict of the Mayor.
Note from the author
1541 has been quite a lengthy project partly because the writing, research and illustration that has been undertaken in many locations around England including York, Lincoln, Stratford upon Avon and Northumberland and I would invite readers to seek out those amazing locations, particularly the ones in York.
For anyone who has buys either the ebook or paperback, free, high quality digital copies of the paintings are available through the author’s site:
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I have a degree in both History and Art & Design and for my postgraduate studies, I concentrated mostly on British History. I have taught both subjects for many years and my students have ranged from early teens to undergraduates. Later in my career, I specialised in the application of new technologies in alternative education.
I started writing when I ran my own business, Jester Productions, in which I mostly wrote scripts for plays and musicals that were used eclectically, but most often in theatre groups internationally and for major tour operators. I have been a fine artist most of my life and, as well as designing backdrops and costumes for Jester, I have received commissions that have ranged from magazine work and book covers to church interiors.
My interests include painting, writing and history but I also love musical performance, having been a professional Bass player since I was a kid, now employed in my son’s band! – ‘Quaintest Show on Earth.’ For those who have read anything of mine you will also recognise that humour is so important to me and I’m not sure I could write anything that didn’t, at least, make me smile. People’s idiosyncrasies, personalities and behaviours fascinate me and most of my characters have some foundation in those I have actually met. When I used to write plays and musicals I realised that there could be few things more rewarding than hearing an audience laugh and respond positively to your work.
Britain is still rich with echoes of the past and we are so lucky to have places where history is actually tangible. It took almost a year to write ‘1541’ and I wrote, painted and researched in all the locations used in the book: York, Lindisfarne, Stratford upon Avon and London where every street and building was an inspiration.
It will come as no surprise that I am fascinated by theology and such issues are often woven into my work.
I live in Lancashire with my wife and two sons. We live in a semi rural area and, it is often on those casual country walks where characters and plots come to mind.