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Showing posts from September, 2023

Utterly Dark: Saint Chyan's Story

  Many place-names in the Autumn Isles reference Saint Chyan, the 9th Century missionary who introduced Christianity to the islands. (Sundown Watch, where Utterly Dark lives, stands upon a cliff called Saint Chyan’s Head.) In an early version of the third Utterly Dark book, Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time I went into a bit more detail about who Saint Chyan was, and the truth behind his legend. His story didn't make it into the finished book, but it's part of the history of the Autumn Isles. Maybe it will come in useful one day. The Utterly Trilogy is available now from UK bookshops. Saint Chyan and the Lady of the Deep Of all the monks at his abbey, Brother Chyan was the laziest, and the least devoted. That was how he had come to be dozing by the river on the day the Northmen came. It was a sunny morning in the September of the year 834, and he should have been about his chores in the kitchen garden, but digging bean-rows was hard, and the green shade beneath the willows h

Utterly Dark & the Tides of Time: Publication Day

Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time is published today, and I’m on my way to the Islay Book Festival, where it all began, back in 2019. Spending time on the island then reminded me that I’d been toying with the idea of writing something about an imaginary archipelago since at least my first year of art college, and I went home feeling it was probably time I got started. Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep was the result. But on the way to Islay this time, Sarah Reeve and I have stopped off on Mull, which is the place where it really all began. Because the reason I’d been toying with imaginary archipelagos for so long must have had something to do with an earlier visit to the Hebrides, back in 1977, when my parents, my sister and I camped on the shores of Loch na Keal. This is how it looked then: And this is how it looks now: We had a lot of holidays like this, to Cornwall, Wales, the Lake District, and similar places - my parents had a thing for mountains and beaches, the more remo