Extracts from the back of the book, and the notes at the front- to whet your appetite:
Kathleen Herbert is a scholar and a story-teller. She has written three historical novels as well as non-fiction works about Anglo-Saxon history and mythology.
In 1983, her novel Queen of the Lightning won the Historical Novel Prize awarded annually in memory of Georgette Heyer. Bodley Head published the sequel, Ghost in the Sunlight in 1986. The first novel in the trilogy, The Lady of the Fountain was republished as Bride of the Spear. All three novels are set in Cumbria, Northumbria and the Borders of Scotland, during the period of turmoil and immigration following the withdrawal of Roman troops in the fifth century.
Moon in Leo has a new setting, Lancashire over Sands, and period, but Kathleen's concerns remain the same: conflict, social and political upheaval, and how ordinary folks survive, live and love in uncertain times. She writes with the same mix of meticulous historical research and vivid immediacy.
“I write conversations and episodes when I am actually on site. Very often the place tells me what has happened. It certainly tells me what could not possibly have happened. I compose the story in my head as I move around. It is amazingly evocative.”
Moon in Leo is Kathleen's biggest novel yet and, she believes, her best. It celebrates the bawdy of Restoration Comedy, the whole range of religious belief from matriarchal mysteries through to Hobbesian materialism, and the richness of everyday life in the 1670s. We taste the syllabubs and the subtleties, the clap-bread and the fresh-caught flukes; we feel the velvets and the crisp linens, appreciate the turn of a cuff, and the rakish angle of a beaver. We sing the songs, we breathe the same air, and when the book is finished, we are reluctant to put it down; we feel a great sadness, as from a parting with old friends.
This is Kathleen Herbert at her rich best: with a book which is like the woman- intelligent, full of humour and above all, deeply humane.
People turned out of their homes; others living rich beyond the dreams of the dispossessed. Science struggling with superstition; celebrity and royalty parading in a public sexual carnival. This love story takes place among the political intrigues and religious hatred of England’s age of upheaval between civil war and ‘glorious revolution’.
Of the two men in Rosamund Halistan's life, one is a fellow scholar of the occult, the other a wild hedonist with tragic memories. She suspects both of them of attempts on her brother’s life and designs on her body and land.
It’s harder to find a safe path through the thickets of treason and bigotry than through the rip-tides and quicksands, solid routes and sanctuary in the sands of Morecambe Bay.
Written with passion … and an extraordinarily vivid sense of place…” Sarah Johnson: Reading the Past