About the Book
Title: Halloween Fires
Author: Val McMurray
Genre: Historical / Supernatural Thriller
The time: 1340
The place: Swan village, the estate of Sir Hubert Longhurst, on the banks of the River
Severn, and the city of Bristol in the south west of England.
On All Hallows Eve, a satanic mass is held in the forest across the river Severn.
A girl is sacrificed and a young boatman dies.
A suspicious priest, Father Simon, the Sheriff of
Bristol and three Dominican Monks hunt the “Satanists”.
Their evil leader is the Dominus.
The Dominus is quite mad and plans revenge. The villagers will suffer.
In Bristol devil worshippers are tortured and burned.
The Dominus murders his partner and kidnaps a girl.
A black mass takes place. There is torture and death.
A battle is fought.
The Dominus flees.
The Lord of the manor holds a Manor Court to investigate the frightening events. Prisoners must be taken to Bristol for trial by the church.
They, and a rich treasure, must be escorted to Bristol.
Satanists in Bristol, plan to fight for the treasure.
There is a battle on the road. Many are killed, the treasure is lost.
A blacksmith and a small boy assist the Sheriff in an attempt to regain it.
Perhaps Evil has been overcome; however, Devil worshippers in Bristol plan another mass.
The Sheriff is lured away.
In the Glade of Stones the Devil may yet triumph.
As a child in England I loved to write stories. I have lived in Sydney Australia for over forty years. My children and grandchildren live close by. I worked as a trained nurse until retirement. Sadly, then, my husband needed nursing. Now I live alone and needed to follow my own interests. First a Book Club (all writers need to read), and I love it. Our discussions are lively and I have read many books that I would never have picked but for the club. It really widened my horizons. I also joined a Writers Group in Liverpool and have found great enjoyment and satisfaction in learning from the very different people in the group. I have been pleased to see several of my articles in print. We contribute to Freexpression Magazine (www.freexpression.com.au), which is edited by Peter Pike. His unfailing encouragement and that of Michael Norris, who read the first draft of this book (and believed in it) has been the impetus needed to goad me to finish it. The research was daunting, but I have always been interested in history, and I soon became immersed in the 14th century. How the people lived and their deeply felt superstitions and customs held me enthralled. There are, inevitably, mistakes. Please forgive them. I set out to write a rollicking good yarn, set in the south west of England, I hope that you enjoy it.
Five Reasons to write:
1) When I am writing anything, an article, short story or chapter of a book, I lose myself in the process. I often think that I will just write for an hour, four hours later I stop and wonder where the time went! I enjoy it and it makes the day pass.
2) I belong to a writers group and each of us must present a piece every week. It is the spur that goads us on. Criticism is necessary and helpful but it is given with a genuine desire to instruct and not to dampen the writer’s spirit.
3) An idea will go round and round in my head and give me no peace until I have written it down. Once written it may be discarded in the next few days, as rubbish, or I may review it and think it has possibilities. Whichever I decide, it has stopped disturbing my sleep!
4) Our writers group can become a bit serious or nostalgic as people reminisce about their early life in another country, so I often try to write a light hearted piece to make everyone smile. It may not be great literature but it is fun.
5) Writing must be enjoyable. It is for me, and if a piece of mine is printed in our very professional and colourful magazine, Freexpression, (www.freexpression.com.au) I am very happy. I know pride is a sin but just to be a little bit chuffed, is not too awful, is it?
An excerpt from my book Halloween Fires:
Night at the warehouse:
Where had Miller gone? A noise made them look again. Only two yards from their hiding place, a square of the warehouse floor lifted up and a light showed. A man walked from the shadows, turned and went down under the floor. They watched for some time before the floor opened once more and Miller climbed out. A man, following him, climbed halfway out and said, ‘Don’t forget, you must tell him it’s at the stone in the forest near Swan. He’ll go after us. You join us at the glade of stones. Leave well before curfew. Now get along.’
Wishart pulled Pitchfork back as they watched Miller hurry away. ‘We have to be back before him,’ whispered Pitchfork. ‘Follow me,’ urged Wishart, and he was off at a run. They raced through foul alleys, passed filthy hovels. Rats fled their footsteps, the bright eyes of foxes watched their progress. A few dogs barked but they saw none. They had to dodge the watch in the one or two roads they crossed, however, within a very short time, they were running up the side of the Sheriff’s house. They threw off their filthy boots and flung them down the side of their building. When Miller returned they were in their beds feigning sleep.