Judith is the author of twelve historical novels: The Heretic Wind: the life of Mary Tudor. Sisters of Arden, The Beaufort Chronicle (three book series), The Winchester Goose, The Kiss of the Concubine, Intractable Heart and A Song of Sixpence. Medieval novels are Peaceweaver, The Song of Heledd, and The Forest Dwellers. All In paperback and on Kindle and some are on audible. Judith also writes historical blogs and articles. Find out more on www.judithmarnopp.com
It is Christmas! and I am happy to offer two paperback copies of Sisters of Arden, hot off the presses. All you need do is comment below on why you'd like to be one of the winners and your name will be entered into a draw. Please share on social media.
Arden Priory has
remained unchanged for almost four hundred years. When a nameless child is abandoned
at the gatehouse door, the nuns take her in and raise her as one of their own.
As Henry VIII’s
second queen dies on the scaffold, the embittered King strikes out, and unprecedented
change sweeps across the country. The bells of the great abbeys fall silent,
the church and the very foundation of the realm begins to crack.
Determined to preserve
their way of life, novitiate nuns Margery and Grace join a pilgrimage thirty
thousand strong to lead the heretic king back to grace.
Sisters of Arden
is a story of valour, virtue and veritas.
Excerpt from Sisters of Arden
1537 - Yorkshire
heads down through the darkness, away from the cries of our dying friends and
the sickening thud of their falling bodies.
through a garden gate, I cast about for a hay store or a tangle of bushes that
might conceal us. Grabbing her wrist, I pull Frances into a briar patch, the
thorns snagging and tearing at our robes and limbs. As we crouch in the dark,
she trembles and wipes her wet cheeks on my sleeve. I can just distinguish her
bone-white face and the stark terror in her eyes, and I am sickened with guilt
that I have led her to this. Her life is now forfeit to my mistaken conviction
that simple folk can make a difference.
grope for God in the faithless void of my mind, begging that the king’s men
grow tired of the hunt and ride away, back to their warm hearths, their laden
tables, and their fragrant, sinful wives. Frances’ teeth begin to rattle, her
breath faltering as her courage dwindles. I give her a gentle shake and put a
warning finger against her lips, beseeching her to be silent, to be brave for
just a little longer.
the stealthy hooves draw closer to our hiding place, we hold our breath,
sinking deeper into the undergrowth when he halts just a little way above our
heads. The dank aroma of rotting vegetation rises; the tang of frost tickles my
nose and pinches my toes. Frances trembles so violently it is indistinguishable
from the juddering of my own body. I fumble for prayer, nausea washing over me
as I fail to recall a single one.
A creak of harness as the rider shifts in his
saddle. I cannot see him but when the horse snorts, in my mind’s eye his breath
mists the darkness, rising wraith-like in the night. I can feel the rake of the
man’s gaze as he searches, seeking out our hiding place. My lungs strain fit to
burst, my chest is aching, and I am ready to relinquish my freedom for just one
blessed breath. The horse stirs, turns and moves away, and we fill our lungs
with fresh damp air. We clutch hands as the vague hope of escape returns.
noise erupts with a harsh yelp. A hound is loosed and, with a furious growl, it
crashes through the hedge. As I fall backward, I glimpse a lolling tongue, and
yellow eyes stare briefly into mine; cold, murderous eyes. Frances’ scream
shatters the night as the jaws clamp down upon her wrist.
go! Let go!” I strike out with my bare feet, feeling the crack of bony ribs
beneath a silken coat. The hound yelps but holds on fast, screaming aloud as I
kick out again, hammering his head with my heels. The air fills with a
confusion of hooves, screaming women, and triumphant male laughter as they lay
hands upon us. As they drag me to my feet, Frances gives a loud unintelligible
sound that breaks my heart.
I beg, as my hands are wrenched behind me and roughly held. “We are nuns from
Arden. My sister has done nothing. Take me, but … let Sister Frances go – she
... she doesn’t understand.”
white dagger of agony flashes through my skull as my captor clouts me around
the ear. My head rings and my vision blurs. Through a fog of pain, I realise
they are hauling Frances from the ground, dragging us both rudely forward.
them,” the man on the horse orders, and their grip tightens as he slides from
his saddle, hawks and spits on the ragged skirts of my habit before slowly
unfurling a rope from his belt.
The knots are tight about my wrists; my hands
are numb. I cry out as the horse jolts forward and, tethered to the saddle, all
we can do is follow him. Agonisingly, we retrace our route back the way we have
come, through the hamlets and homesteads that earlier offered us shelter.
cause is lost. Our peaceful mission to bring England back to the true church
has failed; doomed by the promises of a false king. In the lightening dawn, the
slack-limbed, sightless bodies of those who aided us sway as we pass. The
voiceless, lifeless men, women and children who dared to share our questioning
of the king’s wisdom gape blindly at our passing.
We will join them soon; our useless lives cut
short, our fruitless existence ended in ignominy.
throat grows tight. How have we come to this?
Paperback will be available on Amazon very soon. Also available on kindle
From the author of the international bestselling Tudor Trilogy
comes a true story of adventure, courtly love and chivalric loyalty.
and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A
favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love
with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks
everything to marry her without the King’s consent.
Brandon becomes Duke
of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s
public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous
conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man,
Torn between duty to
his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can
he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?
About the Author
Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of
best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a
specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early
Tudors. Tony was a finalist in the 2017 Amazon Storyteller Awards and is listed
130th in the 2018 Top 200 list of the Most Influential Authors. For more
information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com
and his popular blog, The Writing Desk
and find him onFacebook and Twitter