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Taken from the last of the Poison Diaries short stories ‘Harbour Tales’.
Weed meets Issa on the thriving docks of East London. He hails from North Africa and has travelled the world seeing the best of its beauty and worst of its ugliness. Hungry for adventure, nothing fazes Issa. He is the hard fighting, good natured backbone of our heroic posse’s final showdown on Anglesey and his devotion to Weed and Ruth is matched only by his devotion to a hearty hot breakfast.
Connell is the ageless priest of the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne. When Weed’s body is badly hurt he nurses him back to health and when Weed’s mind is torn by betrayal he teaches him what real trust can be. He is a rock of solidity when our hero wavers and he offers the encouragement and the wisdom of his experience to show Weed the path he must follow.
Of Tacitus’ descriptions of the Roman Conquest of Britain, the Menai Massacre at Anglesey in 60AD is the most arresting. Weed sees in his vision, the clamour of the Celtic horde, their women and priests as they launched themselves against 7,000 Roman Soldiers. What a battle that must have been!
Two whole Roman legions were deployed at Anglesey, a strangely large number to send to so distant an outlying island. Yet those Britons who fought were not simple rebels spoiling for a fight. Tacitus writes how Anglesey, or Ynys Môn, was the heartland of a Druidic religion that had ordered and commanded the Britons since the Stone Age. During the decisive massacre at Menai, Roman Generals brutally exterminated the Druids and their ardent defenders. They ensured that none survived the cultural genocide of a priesthood that gave the British Isles their distinctive culture and unique theology of sun worship, sacrifice and augury.
Soutra Aisle is situated in the Scottish Boarders along the ancient arterial Dere Street road that connects York to Edinburgh. If you go there today you will see a stone chapel with a lintel baring the name Pringle over the door. The chapel is all that remains of a great chain of structures that formed one of the greatest medieval hospitals of Europe. Analysis of the soil has revealed extensive blood pits containing residue of medicinal Henbane and Hemlock as well more exotic herbs such as Opium and Cloves, which must have been imported from Asia.
There has also been discovered an abundance of substances used in natal care, pointing to Soutra Aisle as a centre for the medieval care of pregnant women and midwifery. The fortunes of Soutra Aisle changed dramatically in the 1460s when, following a scandal involving the Master of the hospital, its funding was withdrawn by the crown and diverted to Trinity College Hospital in Edinburgh.
Hannah is a ripe spring flower of the Scottish Borders. She is open, honest and brash and she is Weed’s second passionate interest. When she and Weed first kiss in the town of Fala Weed is an untried lover but by when they meet again Hannah teaches him to laugh and find fun in the easy give and take of mutual attraction. Her wild red hair betrays a wild heart and she breaks Weed’s heart as well as ours.
Featured in Weed…
Malina is Weed’s first love interest and she arrives in his life like a thunderbolt. On a storm of passion Weed falls in love with her ethereal beauty, and yet her delicate bearing belies a steely core. Malina has a dark purpose; she wants Weed for her lover but she needs his help as well. Together they go on a dangerous journey with harrowing consequences.
Featured in Weed…
Jessica is Weed’s beautiful and expressive, dark-haired final love interest. She is beholden to no man and makes her own living as an actress in Covent Garden’s Theatre Royal. Meeting Weed and making him her lover is a choice between equals and their loyalty to one another is mature and honest. Her devotion to Weed is tested and proven when she leaves London to join him in the final battle at Anglesey.