Read an excerpt from The Conjuror’s Apprentice.
As Margaretta retreated through the stables, she passed a stall with the name Jonas carved into the cross beam. Inside was a truckle bed, neatly covered with a blanket and, on the floor, a leather bag. She banged the stable door closed without stepping out. It was only five quiet steps back to Jonas’s bed space, where she huddled down in the black of the shadows.
The voice of Father Thomas started in a rhythm of prayer and blessing. Then Luke, his voice strained and urgent, like all men who are trying to stop their emotions spilling out of their mouths.
‘I cannot just sit here and do nothing, Father. Jonas was like a son to me… and…’
The priest’s response was low and firm. ‘Luke. We have spoken of this before. Lord Cecil will not let this rest until the killer has been found.’
‘Killers. Jonas was a strong lad. It would take more than one to hold him down and do those things to him.’ Luke’s voice was tinged with anxiety now, like a child whose pleading is being dismissed. ‘Have you told Lord Cecil what I told you? Did you tell him that Jonas spoke of someone called the Shepherd? Did you tell him that Jonas said he was in a flock?’
Then banging followed by a whimper. It was Luke beating his fists on the timbers of the stable. The priest was telling him to calm himself, that there was nothing he could do. Luke almost shouted: ‘Jonas was afeared the night before he disappeared. In church that morning he was praying like he had never done before. Flock be damned. He was a lamb to the slaughter.’
‘Did he say who he feared?’
‘No. But he had a bruise on his cheek a few days before. When I asked him who did it he claimed a few street boys battered him…that a woman called…called…something I cannot recall…had helped. That she was good no matter what others said.’
The priest snapped. ‘What woman? You did not tell me of this before.’
Luke’s intake of breath was audible. ‘Tell truth, father. My mind has been full of witnessing the lad’s body. Memories are sneaking back.’
‘You must tell me everything, Luke. How can I pass the information to Lord Cecil if you do not? Now, what was the woman’s name?’
‘I cannot recall.’
‘You must.’ The voice was hard now, like a teacher with an errant child. ‘I will return in half of an hour for the name.’
There was a rustle as the priest turned, his long black coat sweeping hay along the floor. His tread was heavy, determined as he made towards the stable door. Then he stopped. From the shadow on the floor it was obvious he was looking into Jonas’s sleeping area. Margaretta held her breath. The cleric muttered something low under his breath as he peered into the gloom. It was not English. He stepped forward. Then a shout from outside. ‘Father. Are you here?’
With a grunt, he turned for the door and walked away. The only sound was the chomping of the horse in the stable opposite and the moaning from Luke. She was listening to a heart break.
Here’s the blurb:
Born with the ability to hear thoughts and feelings when there is no sound, Margaretta Morgan’s strange gift sees her apprenticed to Doctor John Dee, mathematician, astronomer, and alchemist. Using her secret link with the hidden side and her master’s brilliance, Margaretta faces her first murder mystery. Margaretta and Dee must uncover the evil bound to unravel the court of Bloody Mary.
The year is 1555. This is a time ruled by fear. What secrets await to be pulled from the water?
The Conjuror’s Apprentice takes real people and true events in 1555, into which G J Williams weaves a tale of murder and intrigue. Appealing to readers of crime and well researched historical fiction alike, this is the first in a series which will follow the life, times, plots and murders of the Tudor Court.
Descriptions of bodies and the injuries that brought about their death.
Threat of torture; description of man who has been tortured.
Meet the author
After a career as a business psychologist for city firms, G.J. Williams has returned to her first passion – writing tales of murder, mystery and intrigue. Her psychology background melded with a love of medieval history, draws her to the twists and turns of the human mind, subconscious powers and the dark-side of people who want too much.
She lives between Somerset and London in the UK and is regularly found writing on a train next to a grumpy cat and a bucket of tea.
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