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A Storm in Summer. Shortlisted for The International Rubery Book Award See the fiction list.1651 The so-called English Civil War has been dragging on for nine long years. Oliver Cromwell’s troops have defeated the Royalist army at Dunbar, and an uneasy peace prevails throughout the land. Battle weary, and nursing a wound to his thigh, Rob Haddon, cavalryman in the New Model Army, rides home to his family’s farm in the Lune valley on the borders of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Westmorland. But instead of the peaceful, cheerful welcome he expects, he discovers a corpse, and his mother, brother and sister missing. Friends and neighbours rally to try to help him find them, but even as one mystery is solved, another rears its head. Clearly all is not as it seems amongst the summer sunshine and the ripening hayfields. Storm clouds are gathering over the dale.
The English Civil War (a misnomer if ever there was one, since many of the decisive battles took place in Wales, Scotland and Ireland) began in October 1642 and was finally won by the Parliamentarians at the battle of Worcester in September 1651. What began as a disagreement between King Charles the First and Parliament about the powers of monarchy, dragged on for nine years. However, many of those who had supported Parliament from the beginning were greatly dismayed by his execution in January 1649. Some retired to their lands and estates, others changed sides, believing that Charles’ son was the rightful heir and should be given the throne, and after the Interregnum and the death of Oliver Cromwell, the monarchy was restored in 1660.
During the various phases of the war many ordinary people were caught up in events as the rival armies passed through their neighbourhoods, staged battles on their commons, or subjected their towns to crippling sieges. Also, many young men from humble backgrounds joined on either side, as foot soldiers or cavalrymen. Some did so from deeply held religious or political conviction, but many must have seen it as an opportunity for excitement and adventure, an escape no doubt from personal problems, or a chance to travel to other parts of the land at a time when most people lived and died within a few miles of the place where they were born. Some towns and villages experienced vicious fighting with many lives lost, others never saw anything of the war at all, living in peace and tranquility throughout. For those who took part, as has been the case throughout history, the experience marked them in ways they could not have foreseen, and they returned changed men.
A Storm in Summer is available in print and as an e-book for Kindle from Amazon
This is the UK Amazon site but it is available from other Amazon sites too.
©2014 Rosemary Sturge