'THE RED JUDGE' - Bloomsbury
The second 'Children of Plynlimon' novel
Zachary ‘Zed’ Fitztalbot has never fitted in with his step-family, but one wrong decision quickly turns his life from unhappy to disastrous. Blamed for a terrible accident involving his sister, he is banished to the empty and abandoned house once belonging to his beloved Welsh grandmother. Once there, he’s haunted by guilt, and by the story of the Red Judge of Plynlimon who, legends has it, hounds bad children with his Dogs of the Sky. Forced to escape by dog-sled, Zed embarks on a magical journey in search of a better life where he can be safe and loved. But the Red Judge, it seems, is never far behind…
This story is set on and around the River Wye. Research took me to all sorts of strange and interesting places, and involved me in some extraordinary coincidences, the most striking of which concerns an eighteenth century conjuror upon whom I modelled the villain of my story, the shape-shifting Dr Katterfelto, who in reality - as I discovered only after I’d written my book - fell upon hard times and ended up in a debtors’ gaol that now happens to be my house!
The driving force behind The Red Judge, though, isn’t Dr Katterfelto, self-styled ‘king of conjuring’. It’s Zed, my favourite character in all my books, and the journey he makes to discover his true worth.