Knights of the Blackdowns

My third novel, Knights of the Blackdowns, is now available to buy on Amazon.

It’s a change from the last two – Marc Miller and I have been living apart for a while, and he has been knocked off his post by a chivalrous modern-day jouster named Cal, who, unlike his globe-trotting rival has his roots placed firmly in the West Country.

We Devonians can be an eccentric lot, and anyone who thought that visiting the county was like stepping back 20 years clearly hasn’t been up on the Blackdowns, because 20 years ago in our memories is the far future for some of them…

Living their dream

Modern-day jouster Cal and his devoted friend Amber fall under the spell of the warrior-poet Tony. High in a remote Devonshire hilltop camp, they discover his living history society acting out a romantic medieval vision.

Millions of people’s journeys pass under the dark and brooding escarpment of the Blackdowns each year, yet scarcely any turn off towards its forgotten lanes, the fields beyond the hedges, or the watery edges of the rivers and the deep, quiet pools. It is a world set apart. In their lonely pastoral paradise, the Knights are free to act out their dream of a time past: with riding, dancing, banquets, battles, chivalry, courtly love, falconry and alchemy.

The men and women of the group model their lives on the court of Edward IV during the period of the Wars of the Roses. It was England’s most vicious period of conflict. Overcoming mortal fear was an essential part of a warrior’s passage to knighthood in that time. So within Tony’s fiefdom, authenticity is married to uninhibited violence and its corollary, the love of fate: to walk in the shadow of death was to experience the full sweetness of life. Like a natural-born gladiator, Cal accepts mounting risks for the sake of his greatest ambition, which is to become a world champion jouster.

It seems as if his path has been laid out for him, but everything is not right in Cal’s world. Having been assigned a role to play, he is unsure how far this alter ego intrudes into his private affairs. Cal keeps some very personal secrets, hiding them even from himself, but which now rise up to confront him. Soon, he will also discover that in the past the erudite Tony’s vision demanded a brutal choice, and that the society has buried a secret of its own.


(noun) haɪpərɪˈælɪtɪ

An image or simulation, or an aggregate of images and simulations, that either distorts the reality it purports to depict or does not in fact depict anything with a real existence at all, but which nonetheless comes to constitute reality — Collins English Dictionary, Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers.

Individuals may find themselves, for different reasons, more in tune or involved with the hyperreal world and less with the physical real world — Wikipedia.