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My four-legged friend

The figure rose out of the ground in front of me, a shorter distance away than the bird had been. I stopped, my hand on my breast. It was a man: wild, dirty, menacing. He...

Why I wrote THE LOTUS CAVES – Part 1

In 1971, two years after its publication, John Christopher (alias Hilary Ford, alias Sam Youd) published an article in the children’s magazine ‘Puffin Post’ to explain his reasons for writing THE LOTUS CAVES — recently...

Beauty and Beast

I came on him unexpectedly, the morning after my arrival. Walking in the garden I turned the corner of a high box hedge and saw him lying in my path, dozing in the wintry sun....

The eldest cousin

‘Here is Michael at last. Jane, permit me to introduce you to the eldest of your cousins.’ I stared as he bowed in greeting. It was true Sir Donald had said nothing of his appearance,...

Welcome to Carmaliot

The village huddled in a valley fold, its single street rising fairly steeply between converging slopes. Above and beyond the clutter of buildings, on the horizon, an immensely larger house was silhouetted against a sky...

A smiling sacrifice

The morning was grey to match my feelings, and bitingly cold. Sir Donald was handed in to sit with his back to the coachman, and I was placed opposite. I was permitted to have the...

A fine gentleman

It was just after four o’clock that Sir Donald arrived, by growler and unaccompanied. I had expected something more impressive: a private carriage and a retinue of servants. But it was a rare occasion even...

A stiff white hand

They brought him back from the dockyard on a cart. It was a cold day, with drizzling rain, and the men who accompanied the body were wet and bedraggled. They had covered him with a...