This is the tale of the haunting, in modern times, of a girl by a ghost exactly resembling her own dead mother. Encountering this ghost imprisoned in the East wing of the Great House Kate is gradually drawn in and compelled to unravel the terrible story of this place. The reader too will feel utterly drawn in to follow Kate’s story through the author’s masterful storytelling powers and the two worlds, modern and historical are woven together in to a web in which the reader has no desire to leave but instead continue turning the pages to the surprising denouement. Through the Tales of Shabby Tattler, a one-eyed vagabond whose power of description seems to bring to life those he depicts, Kate is drawn into a past in which she finds herself a living victim, trapped by circumstance and helpless to alter the terrifying unfolding of events. This is the first in a trilogy of Gothic tales through which, in a ‘Danse Macabre’ moves the dark enigmatic figure of the ‘Shabby Tattler’, the cunning man. Tale-teller and myth-maker is he, or puppet-master of these strange plays, conjuring appearances and disappearances, scenes of tragedy and comedy: manipulator of souls with strings invisible?
When her mother dies, 18-year-old Kate and her father bury her in a place beloved of her childhood and go to live in a cottage close by. Kate meets a one-eyed vagabond who tells her the Elizabethan history of the neighbouring great house: of a massacre in the name of religion, of imprisonment, rape, torture and murder. It is a tale that comes alive in the telling as its victims rise up in vengeance to engulf Kate and all around her. Kate finds herself the unwilling medium through which they will have their revenge upon the descendants of the perpetrators of their suffering.
“This is a truly astonishing book. The cleverly spun threads will draw you into a web of intrigue and mystery that will have you gripped throughout. If you enjoyed the Quincunx you will love this - I can't recommend it highly enough.” Steve Sharpe
“Worlds within worlds! Warms your heart then twists your soul with a haunting melody that long lingers. What an amazing tale! The reader is thrust straight into an atmospheric drama, weaving history and fantasy together in this Gothic Danse Macabre, in parts reminiscent of some original brothers’ Grimm tales, and the writing is so addictive there’s never a good place to put the book down. As for the ending, nothing prepares you for that! I really was not expecting when I started this book for it to have a treasure trove of such depth and diversity, horror and enchantment. It combines the magical twists of Neil Gaiman with atmosphere of Poe or Machen. The author has, like an Elizabethan alchemist, blended to perfection all the vital serendipitous ingredients to make a most original haunting tale.” Gemma, St. Albans
“An almost perfect book. A book that sounds frankly weird. A girl goes back in time, whilst remaining in her current time and follows her family’s history back 400 years.
This sounds all nonsense but in reality is one of the best books that I have ever read. For readers of medieval whodunit novels (CJ Sansom lovers) they will love this book. The writing is crisp and it flows. The story is in fact 4 or 5 stories all threaded together. I am struggling to criticise at all this excellent book and look forward to the next two stories in the trilogy.
Do read this book as this is an author who has great ideas and is way beyond many other authors.” Chris Bushe.
“I started reading it, and I thought, okay, this isn't that good, maybe it will get better. And it did. I really, really enjoyed it. Okay, maybe it was a little bit gory in places (maybe a lot), but I thought that it was really clever and a really good read. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. It is just the sort of thing that I'm constantly looking for - a mystery, stuff from the past, betrayal, horrid stuff like that; but that's just the sort of thing that is really very exciting. This book is full of suspense and excitement. There is as much interest in the chapters set in the present day as there is in the tales from the past; I love it I love it I love it. Thaaaank you, Mr. Alan Howard!” Catherine Hodgson, Horsham (teen blog).
“This is a book which fills your mind with wonder. The characters live on in your mind long after the last page has been turned and the story is clever, deserving applause for the gripping plots. This book is a book to read if you want to experience a beautiful piece of writing which will stay with you forever.” Littlewriter, Waterlooville, England, Age, 18.
“The story itself is hugely intriguing. After the death of her mother, Kate Pegler moves to a small village with her father where she befriends a local boy whose father works on the estate of the Tercel family. But things take a strange twist when Kate encounters the mysterious Shabby Tattler whose very appearance triggers a series of strange events in which Kate finds out about the terrible massacre that took place back in the village during the Elizabethan times. Kate’s future lies in the past and terrible secrets and revelations come to the surface. I shall say no more, as to do so would spoil things. Intrigue is the key here. I absolute loved the story. Alan has created a rich history filled with high drama through to delicate relationships and some truly shocking momrents. Buy this book.” Martyn Drake Blog (5 Aug, 2011).
“I bought The Flight of the Birds for my daughter at the end of November and she loved it - please can you tell me when the next two titles in the Danse Macabre trilogy will be available?” Maria Hardy
“Hi, I met your author Alan Howard today in Waterstones Portsmouth - I bought the book the Flight of Birds and interested I started to read it as soon as I got home, I'm only half way through, but I am finding it hard to put down, I have always been a book lover but have recently stuck to reading authors that I am used to not venturing far from particular favourites - it can be hard to fall inside the book if you have a new voice telling the story. That said, I fell instantly in love with the characters and need to know more. I have not yet finished the first but I already cannot wait for the next installment - fantastic.” Gemma Bryan, Portsmouth.
Publication date: 31/10/2010
Publisher: Raven's Quill Ltd
|Publication date:||31st October 2010|
|Publisher:||Raven's Quill Ltd|
|Genres:||Horror, Thriller / Suspense,|
Son of a rubber planter, Alan Howard’s schooling began on a beach. After a grinding spell in the English educational system, he tried several occupations before settling on the writing of novels.He works in a shed at the end of his garden under an ancient apple-tree. For recreation he walks through the woodlands of Sussex and, when injury permits, plays fanatically bad real tennis.More About Alan Howard