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'To Untie a Sealed Knot'
Three vows will be challenged: one by a woman; one by a man; one to a king.
“Warfare gives men plenty of experiences they could do without. Even earning respect will get a man noticed when it might not be in his best interests. I got noticed, and by one of the highest lawyers in the land no less. He gave me a job to do. At the beginning it all seemed simple enough, even though it was a task tightly proscribed, for correctness’ sake. But matters seldom run smooth and circumstances change. And my motives … well, let me simply say they were … knotty.”
Pendennis Castle, Cornwall, 1649: A prominent Commonwealth judge and regicide, seeks a man with an enquiring mind for a mission to gather evidence to hang a murderer. Success will be well rewarded; failure is out of the question.
Daniel Edwards has his own reasons for accepting the commission; not least being a promise to the woman he loves. Yet to condemn a villain implicates an innocent man and the deeper Daniel’s investigations go, the more challenging are the choices he has to make. Uncovering treachery reveals old associates, rekindles former loyalties and weaves a web of deceit where to betray a trust will place both friends and a future king in peril.
Book II in the Pendennis Trilogy
A Cord of Three Strands
available on Kindle.
ISBN ISBN 978-0-9929293-2-9
Nominated for 2017 Cornish Gorsedh Holyer an Gof Award for Adult Fiction
REVIEW for 'A Cord of Three Strands' ...
Grace, Hester and Mary: ‘Their adventures are as compelling and convincing as they are varied and vital’.
WESTERN MORNING NEWS
August 1646: in the aftermath of Civil War, three women, brought together by Fate at a beleaguered Royalist stronghold on the Cornish coast confront new challenges in a world turned upside down. Men dictate the terms upon which the women’s lives depend.
A wife, Mary Tremayne, will face a choice between her husband and her home. A widow, Hester Mattock, pins her hopes on the home that her husband left to her. Her husband hoped Grace Fenwick was dead; can she change her name to change her fortunes?
When the Parliamentarian victory brings only an uneasy peace to a war-weary nation, the spirit of rebellion and the Royalist cause stir in the depths of Cornwall. These three women will face circumstances which will test to the limit their spirit, their resourcefulness and their courage. The future is unknown; the present is uncertain, but the past forged bonds that are bound to endure, for a cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Book I in the Pendennis Trilogy
'Exposed to All Villainies'
Nominated for 2015 Cornish Gorsedh Holyer an Gof Award for Adult Fiction
REVIEW for 'Exposed to All Villainies' ...
“Steph Haxton draws the stories of her three spirited souls together with such skill one can all but hear the beat of the drums that rattled orders within the granite walls of Pendennis Castle.”
WESTERN MORNING NEWS
Three women, three lives ravaged by civil war, one Cornish destination.
In 1646, in a Cornish fortress overlooking the Carrick Roads, one thousand souls loyal to King Charles I suffered an ordeal five months long, besieged by a Parliamentarian army in a bitter civil war between Crown and Commonwealth. Of these desperate Royalists, two hundred were women and children.
Now voices from the past whisper from the walls of Pendennis Castle.
Three women journey westward, each unknowingly bound for the same granite stronghold. From Bristol to Oxford, Tenby to Truro, the narrative weaves across the west of Britain to the Cornish fortress on the Fal, the last in England to stand for the Royalist cause.
Forces they cannot control propel the protagonists’ lives. Each woman makes her journey to Pendennis Castle as the King’s cause fails, revealing very different perspectives. Grace Godwynne might wish to turn back time, Hester Phipps to speed its passage. Mary Tremayne only wishes to make Heligan her home.
Their tangled fates depend upon their past choices and the choices they still have to make but they have one thing in common…they are women in a man’s world, which will leave them exposed to all villainies.
by the same pen ...
'Remember' (2011) - A play, commissioned by Falmouth Town Council and the Falmouth Rotary Club and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, commemorates the 350th anniversary of the granting of Falmouth Town Charter.
‘Remember’ is set in Pendennis Castle during the turbulent Civil Wars of the seventeenth century with a retrospective commentary by Sir Peter Killigrew of Arwennack House in Falmouth.
The title was inspired by Falmouth’s motto-beneath the coat of arms- Remember and the words of the surrender document signed in August 1646 which can be seen at the Cornwall Record Office, Truro:
That the castle of Pendennis with all fortresses, fort, fortifications thereunto belonging shall without any manner of diminution be delivered upon Monday the 17th day of this instant August at 2 o’clock in the afternoon….. .... with flying colours, trumpets sounding, drums beating, match lighted at both ends, bullets in their mouths and every soldier twelve charges of powder, with bullets and powder proportionable and with all their own proper goods, bag and baggage with a safe conduct unto Arwinch Downs.
Illustrations to texts:
East End to Land's End by Suasan Soyinka (2010)
Now 'ark to Aunt Sarah Ann by Liz Harman (2010)
Looking at Penzance by Margaret Perry (2006)
In and Around Penzance in Napoleonic Times Penwith Local History Group (2000)
West Penwith at the time of Charles II Penwith Local History Group