Wayland’s Revenge by Lesley Lodge
It’s 1647: a time of bitter civil wars in England. Wayland, the village blacksmith, returns from army service to find his wife, Rebecca, murdered and his son traumatised and struck dumb. Wayland’s overpowering desire for revenge is thwarted by the collapse of laws and a dearth of clues to her sadistic killer. Thwarted, that is, until the villagers ask him to investigate a runaway horse. Whilst searching for its rider, he discovers instead the body of a young boy, cut with symbols in the same way as Rebecca’s body had been. The clues abound and confuse with elements of witchcraft, religious hatred and the enmities of civil war.
Wayland sets out on a perilous journey to find the killer, taking with him his son Jonathan and Alun, a canny Welsh baker. But just as they find their first suspect, they are trapped in the brutal Siege of Colchester, facing ever more dangerous challenges. Wayland, Alun and Jonathan must draw on all their strengths, devise new strategies and make agonising decisions, if they are to stay alive and find the real killer before he strikes again.
5 Star Review: Captivating story listed as historical fiction, but seeped in truth. The Author is writing from the UK, where language and spelling might differ from your own.
The setting is 1647 in Forest Heath, England. The main character, Wayland returns from war to find his wife has been murdered and his son traumatized. This village blacksmith sets out to find the sadistic killer of his beloved Rebecca. Wayland enlists his son Jonathan and his baker friend Alun to help him. The three of them set out on a perilous journey. In the process Wayland discovers the truth behind the symbols cut into Rebecca’s dead body.
Author Lesley Lodge is a compelling writer. I quote, “Wayland was standing beside a lake, watching thick grey clouds swirl over the seething water. At first, he could hear only the waves slopping against the shoreline. Then a woman’s head broke through the surface of the lake, gasping, choking, panting. Wayland leapt forward, ran towards her, shouted to her to hold on, to wait for him. But her head sank down again. He could see only the black surging sea and some dirty white foam.”
The author carefully takes the reader from 1647 back to 1645. I quote, “The howling became louder, nearer. Agnes could make out individual screams now. For a moment she felt paralysed, rooted on to the earth, her hands still holding the strips of cloth. Then she dropped the cloth and she ran, holding her skirts up out of the mud. Other women soon overtook her; their urgency spurred her on. Tree branches whipped at her face and caught at her skirts. Neither she nor any of the other women wasted any breath screaming now. All that Agnes could hear was the sound of her own lungs heaving and that of her heart drumming.”
Then back to 1647 where for Wayland “a few more days passed uneventfully though, and the uneasy feeling began to leave him. Instead, he and Alun discussed again and again their hoped–for encounter with their suspect Carter and what it might mean in terms of opportunities to question the man further. One morning they were sorting through the charcoal stores, setting to one side the big lumps needed for the smithy furnace and to the other side the smaller pieces more suited for the bakery oven. Wayland suddenly picked up the bellows and threw them into the far corner of the smithy.
‘When?’ he shouted, ‘When will God grant me the truth? Will we never get any further with our search? Can we never find justice for the boy’s death? Or for Rebecca’s death? We will likely perish in this Godforsaken town, murdered by one side or the other. Or starve to death. All for no reason.’
I invite you to read Wayland’s Revenge. Review by Theodocia Mclean.
Paperback: 232 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mysteries, Thrillers, Fiction, Literature, Suspense
About Lesley Lodge: Lesley Lodge now lives on a very small farm in England after many years working on regeneration projects in inner-city London. She grew up in the New Forest with holiday jobs in a racing stable and on a palomino stud farm. Her long-time ride is Freddie, a hairy bay cob mare with a moustache.
Lesley has had several short stories published. Blues to Orange, about a farmer ruined by the foot and mouth outbreak, was a Luton Literary Prize Winner and published in Junction 10, a collection of short stories. She has twice been a Runner-up Prizewinner in the annual British National Short Screenplay Competition and is a past Time Out and Jim Beam Whiskey Cult Film Buff of the Year.
Lesley is currently working on a crime novel set in 17th century England featuring ex-soldier and blacksmith Wayland. Lesley is always looking for new stories about horses in film or TV – you can contact her through her website.
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