Author: James Collins
Release Date: 25 February, 2018 Price: $3.68
Reviewed by Jacy
Cover Art: The cover is set in warm earth tones indicative of the fire element and summer solstice.
Synopsis: The reader is given a clear view of the story from the synopsis.
Plot: Saddling is cursed and the only way to save the village is for there to be a burning at the stake on solstice morning. Our hero, Tom must solve the mystery and stop this from happening.
Main Characters: Tom Carey – besides his Aunt, he is the last of his bloodline.
Secondary Characters: The story has many characters who enrich the feel of this ancient lore.
Flow/Continuity: There are no breaks in the story and questions posed are answered.
Price: It is priced comparable for a new release and totally worth it!
Conclusion: This is book two following The Saddling. The cover for The Saddling is in blue tones for the water element and winter solstice. You don’t have to read The Saddling first, but as characters reappear in the Witchling, it broadens the experience and intrigue.
The Saddling is very thorough including Dialect and glossary, along with a Historical Note. A very language rich story.
The Witchling demands no less than your full attention and will grip you to the finish. If you are looking for a good mystery with historical values and action, follow Tom on his adventure.
Rating: 10 out of 10
James was born in England (1963) but now lives on the small Greek island of Symi. His daily blog, Symi Dream, gives an insight into everyday island life and has been the basis of four very popular books about his experiences of moving to and living in Greece. One of these carries a foreword by Anne Zouroudi, author of Bloomsbury’s Greek Detective mysteries, who writes: “James’ great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties…”
Before moving to Greece James worked in musical theatre, writing and directing several full-length musicals, several revues and many cabaret shows. He has won awards for his theatre and fiction writing including an Arts Council of Great Britain Award for creativity.
What is The Witchling?
The Witchling is the second book set in my imaginary village of Saddling, on the Romney Marshes, Kent, England.
The Witchling is a follow-on from ‘The Saddling.’ You don’t need to read The Saddling first, but you will get more from The Witchling if you do. ‘The Saddling’ has been compared to the cult horror film, The Wicker Man because of its use of superstitions, solstice rituals, mystery and the isolated community. ‘The Witchling’ takes things one stage further.
‘The Saddling’ took the water element, sacrifice and winter solstice as its background. ‘The Witchling’ takes the fire element, acceptance and summer solstice. There’s a mystery to be solved as the story hits the parched ground running and doesn’t let up until the fire-pile is lit. The question is, will Barry be burnt to save Saddling? Or will Tom find a way to rescue him?
Is this a gay romance?
The Saddling and The Witchling are not your usual gay romance novels. (There’s no sex, and no overt love scenes, though parts are homoerotic.) The main character, Tom, accepted his being gay in ‘The Saddling’ and in this follow-on novel, ‘The Witchling’, he is living with his lover but keeping up a pretence. The village lives in the past, no electricity, no communications, and very superstitious, yet Tom has also fallen in love with the simplicity of village life and has stayed to be with the man he loves. When that man, Barry Cole, falls under the spell of the returning witchling who is seeking revenge on the village for sins committed there in the past, Tom is the one who must save him and the whole village from the curse. He must also come to terms with his lust for and friendship with another village youth, the mysterious and magnetically handsome Daniel Vye.
So, no, these are not your typical MM Romance books at all, they are mystery/thrillers that revolve around ancestry research and local history, myths, superstitions and the village’s own Lore and Teaching. It’s a non-religious community and one that lives by its own rules.
Why Romney Marsh?
I was born and brought up ‘in marsh’, as they say in that part of the world and have used the area as a backdrop to a few of my novels. There is no such village as Saddling, but the church you see on the cover and which is used in the story, still exists and you can visit it.
One of the things I have tried to do in these books is use some of the old Kentish dialect. Some of the older characters in the book speak using dialect words (there’s a glossary at the front of the book). There are some words which are still in use on the marsh today, some I have invented for my community at Saddling, and others that come from other parts of Kent, included because I find the dialect fascinating.
Living the dream
Although I was born on the marsh and brought up there, I now live in Greece. We moved here in 2002 after deciding that we’d like to try living abroad before we ‘got too old.’ We were in our thirties.
Fifteen years later and we are still here with no plans to move anywhere else. We were married here on the island last year in the first civil partnership the island has known, an event that was welcomed by the oslanders and foreigners alike. Both my husband and I write for a living. I write for other people in the morning and work on my own books in the afternoon at weekends. I try and write at least 3,000 words each day, taking the occasional day off to enjoy the island, the sea and to spend time with returning visitors and family.
I was writing before I moved here and had my first novel slated for publication by a large gay publishing house before leaving England – but that company, sadly, was wound down before the book came out. Since being here, I have written and published 14 novels and four books about living in Greece. I also write screenplays and a daily blog. Greece is something of an inspiration.
All but one of my books involve gay characters, and in some, such as ‘The Witchling’, the hero is gay. It’s about time we had more heroic, gay, central characters in thrillers and mysteries.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Collins/e/B005C7HWJI/
My daily blog: http://symidream.com/wp/
James Collins IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5579605/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
The Witchling (Kindle): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Witchling-James-Collins-ebook/dp/B079ZXBSBK/
The Witchling (print) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1985192667/