When Rick Hughes receives a reliquary pendant as a gift from an old friend, he has no idea what’s coming next.
Drawn to an old excavation site, Rick stumbles upon a portal that takes him back to the 8th century, and in the middle of a Viking invasion.
After discovering a shocking link to the present, Rick is determined to intervene and save the inhabitants of the village from devastation – and to find a scientific explanation for what is happening.
With the perils of 8th century England surrounding him, can Rick save his new friends and live to tell the tale?
The re-enactors surprised him with their dedication and knowledge of the period. Tired of chatting and feeling more than ever unsettled, he wandered to the edge of the field to be alone for a few minutes. His head was aching and beginning to spin a little. The thought occurred that he might be ailing. In an unconscious gesture, he plunged his hand inside his tunic and fingered the pendant.
At once, the strangest sensation of dizziness overcame him. The air around him vibrated and whirled. Would he be swept off his feet? The trees behind him blurred green as they spun and the air became opaque like a steamed-up mirror. Then the ‘mirror’ cracked and the gap created widened while all else swam around. But the scene within was firm and well-defined, while the outer, opaque part, swirled like an impenetrable fog. Desperate to flee from the inexplicable mist, Rick stepped boldly on the reassuringly solid turf and that was when he blacked out, the uncertainty and terror of an epoch far from the present became an ominous reality.
– end of chapter – beginning of next chapter –
Little Carlton 870 AD
Rick’s eyes flickered open, to his relief, all traces of the headache and dizziness from moments before had gone. The squawking of raptors captured his attention and he switched his gaze from the weed-infested turf – whose solidity had lately comforted him – to the sky, half-expecting scavengers to be circling over his prone body. A rapid glance told him he was wrong. The cries were coming from over a rise, but to check them out, he had first to stand. For the moment, though, the small effort of straightening, restored the sensation of vertigo. Giddily, his eyes strained over the gently rising ground and for a second he doubted his sanity.
Where previously the re-enactors had erected three wooden huts, now stood an entire village of houses of different sizes. Was that a hall near the centre? Could they have created a whole settlement in the time he had lost consciousness? But, the buildings showed no signs of newness, far from it, the reed-thatched roofs had a weathered aspect. The re-enactment roofing had been
made of turf, for sure. How to explain this transformation? His mind rejected the only solution that would make sense. Remembering Occam’s razor – the problem-solving principle from philosophy that the simplest solution tends to be the correct one – as he walked with trepidation toward the village, he told himself these were the Dark Ages.
About the author
Worked at the University of Calabria.
Teach English, translate.
Married to Maria. Son Adam.
Wrote ‘The Purple Thread’ and eight other Anglo-Saxon period novels.