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Kalainen the Drouhin is a distrusted outsider in the sprawling port of Shaddimur, living by solving crimes that baffle the city watch. 

As war looms between the Seven Cities, a killer has been assassinating high-ranking members of Shaddimur society. Aided by his apprentices, Yanni, a gutter urchin, and Mardenifol, a noble’s son with a predilection for chemistry, Kalainen must use his wits to solve the puzzles left by a renegade spy and prevent the war by finding conclusive proof of the identity of the killer.  And he must do it before the xenophobic leaders of Shaddimur use him as a scapegoat.


Exciting and funny, the Drouhin of Shaddimur is a fantasy murder mystery.


When magic is shaped from pain, who would be a sorcerer? 

Attics hide many things of the past.  There Jebbin finds a spell book and discovers he has the rare talent of magic. But nothing is free and spells are created from pain.  Jebbin winces, but the pain is not yet so important.  For a country lad, the world seems to beckon with wonders. That naivety leads to jail where he meets a sinister magician prepared to mortify his own flesh for power.

Jebbin is joined by a blunt wrestler and a bard as adept at reading people as at crafting songs.  In a vibrant world of intrigue and danger, he needs all his wits and magic to decipher the Riddle of the Seer amid the teeming colours of Lana Fair.  Finally, he must learn the true Power of Pain

Exciting, inventive and occasionally hilarious, the Riddle of the Seer blends magic and realism in a classic quest.


The Maker of Warriors is melding steel with flesh to create peerless fighters. 

The wrestler, Bolan, seeks revenge on the creator of the giant who killed his friend.  He needs the help of the magician, Jebbin.  Only the Thieves Guild have the network to find Jebbin.  Unfortunately, they have also sworn to kill him to end the threat of the Mage without a Staff.  And they have paid the assassins to kill Bolan.

Led by a traumatised army captain, Bolan and Jebbin must escape pursuit by the army, the Thieves Guild and a vengeful sorcerer before they can even reach the island of Torl – but will any of them survive a meeting with the inhuman Maker of Warriors.

A story of loyalty, courage and love, the Maker of Warriors is the fast-paced sequel to the Riddle of the Seer.  Both are complete, stand-alone novels in the Power of Pain series.


Looking After Dad

There are many people who are carers.  It is probable that some of them are naturally good at it.  I suspect many, like me, just fall into the role, blown there like thistledown before the wind of circumstance.  We don’t necessarily have any natural aptitude for it but just do our best.


It isn’t always easy.  It is one thing to change you’re a baby’s nappy; quite another to change your Father’s - but I am going to draw a veil over all that.  It is a downward road with ill-favoured milestones; cancer, Parkinson’s disease, dementia… and yet many of the hiccups along the rock-strewn way can be amusing – at least after sufficient time for the scars to have healed.

An excerpt is included below to give a general flavour.

Dad was desperate to go to the Game Fair, a huge country show with miles of tented stands.  Not being able to walk presented a problem, but I organised the hire of a mobility scooter and hoped all would be well. I asked him what time he would like to set off.  His reply of 4:15 am was not warmly received. 

If not quite that early, we made a timely start and arrived ahead of the crowds.  The auguries for the day seemed good and off we went to pick up the electric scooter. 


It was not easy to get him perched onto the contraption.  Once he was enthroned, the scooter man began giving helpful advice, none of which Dad could hear.  However, he did gather where the Forwards button was.  Considering the formalities dispensed with, he latched onto that.  The machine lurched off in a tight circle and sank into the side of the tent.  As we dragged the scooter back onto the road, the owner picked up on the fact that control was going to be loose at best.  With admirable, if unwarranted, optimism, he thought pace was the problem.  He pointed out a limiter to reduce the maximum speed and turned it down to something manageable. 


A huge mistake.  Dad now knew where the limiter was.  He promptly cranked it up to its top attack speed and set off with me lumbering into a trot to keep up.  The day was already hot and Dad looked like Grandma from the Giles cartoons, dressed in heavy trousers, a vest, undershirt, thick shirt, winter gilet and coat, all topped off with a black felt hat.  Although I eventually managed to prize him out of the coat, he refused to take anything else off and sweated obstinately.

Dad decided that he needed a coffee and it had to be taken in the Country Landowners Association enclosure, the centrepiece of the show. He drove serenely in the middle of the road, which annoyed the Animal Ambulance (no, really) that was merrily tootling his siren (yes, really) and flashing his light behind him, presumably as some pooch was gasping for a drink somewhere – I had some fellow feeling for that as I lolloped after the scooter.  The siren annoyed everyone who could hear it, but that large group did not include Dad and he remained resolutely in the centre of the roadway.  One chap bravely tried to help pull the scooter out of the way and had to leap backwards with a yelp as Dad shook him off and the scooter bounced over his foot.  The animal ambulance had to wait until I was able to deflect Dad into a side road.  We made it to the gates of the CLA enclosure.  There were two burly gentlemen stationed at the entrance to ensure only members could enter.   My father is not a member.  But he used to be one once and that was quite good enough for him.  He blithely ignored the verbal and physical efforts of the door-wards to restrain him and sped between them as though they had been no more than flapping pigeons.  Given the choice of rugby-tackling a disabled pensioner from a mobility scooter or stepping smartly out of the way, they wisely chose self-preservation.

The enclosure boasted a sea of plastic garden furniture, laid out for expected guests.  To be fair, at the rate the scooter was travelling, it would have been a tricky slalom course to get through safely.  Dad made no effort to do so at all and I looked up from apologising to the gate wardens to seem him plough straight through the middle of it, scattering tables and chairs left and right.   The early start was now fortunate, as there were few others present and no children’s buggies in his line of attack.  It would have made no difference.

There were more people about after our coffee and we had an undignified wrestling match over the controls.  Despite his protests, I kept a vice-like grip on the steering until we left the enclosure.  Nobody tried to stop us leaving.  The fact that nobody threw anything suggests a polite clientele.


Inevitably, the list of victims began to grow; mostly minor damage of clipped hoardings, scraped display fronts and various passers-by hooked – and, in one case, near garrotted - with his walking stick handle, protruding from the back of the scooter.  Dad began to get into the spirit of the thing as he demolished one advertising board altogether and then, when the British Association for Shooting and Conservation man told him to ‘come this way’, did so at such pace that he crashed slap into him.


From there it became a grim litany.  In the National Gamekeepers Organisation tent, he blundered up a blind alley.   I warned him he couldn’t get through that way and started moving a few chairs to make a way out for him.  Instead of having any truck with such limp-wristed niceties, he looked for the Ice Breaker mode, pressed Full Ahead and rammed into the back of a woman quietly sitting having a drink.  I imagine the whiplash injuries are notable but may not make themselves apparent until the coffee burns have abated.

I managed to bring Dad to a halt by promising him a restorative beer.   We admired a fine stand of new ATVs and mowers behind us.  When we had finished the beer, I realised that he was trapped in again.  I pointed this out and went to move a large box to give him a free run out.  He cunningly waited until my back was turned before trying to effect a high-speed U-turn.
         To judge the success of the manoeuvre, it depends on which term you are assessing.  The U-turn was essentially a failure.  However, I would not argue with the high-speed bit.  He hit one of the display mowers with the most tremendous crump noise.  The two men on the stand leapt skywards as though a mortar round had hit their stock, but luckily Father was able to grind along the side of the mower and make his escape with me loping after, waving apologies in his wake.


A group of three in their late middle years were standing minding their own business in the road.  Father neither deviated nor slowed and ran smack straight into a large lady and bowled her flat onto the ground.  Although he initially bounced back a bit, he must have been a little disorientated as he kept his fist closed on the accelerate button.  The two men with the victim were desperately trying to hold the buggy back as, it seemed to them, he was determinedly trying to run the poor woman over while she was on the ground.   Finally, I was able to lever his fingers from the throttle and they were able to drag the wounded from under the scooter.  The lady took it very well, bless her.  Perhaps this was kindness of heart, perhaps she just didn’t want him to have a third crack at her.   The men were understandably upset and offered abuse, being less disposed to let things rest.  However, they let him accelerate away.  It may have been the fact that he was staring fixedly at them with his mouth open and his front dentures hanging down, giving him an aspect so deranged that they feared close contact.


It only remained to get him out of there before he seriously injured someone.  Oh, he also managed to drop his wallet.  A very kind woman ran after him to give it back, which was a mercy.  Had it been a crash victim, they might have kept a few notes as compensation and I would not have blamed them a bit.

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