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The World of Lyndesfarne
The magical world of Lyndesfarne (glossary) exists in some kind of parallel universe to our own. At one time, there were many paths and crossings between the Two Worlds but, over the years, most of these have been closed. The reasons for the closures may not always be known, but there is evidence to suggest that, if the existence of a crossing to Lyndesfarne was as risk of becoming too widely known, then that crossing would be permanently destroyed.
At the time of writing, there is only one known crossing between the worlds, located in North East England. The crossing appears as a long causeway and an old stone bridge to a small island - whether approached from the Lyndesfarne world or from our own. There is a considerable amount of trade between the worlds and it is clear that there are economic and political advantages to both sides.
For mysterious reasons, the visibility across the deep straights between the worlds is almost always obscured by mist and haze, even on the sunniest of summer days. It is almost impossible to make out any details on the opposite shore.
The management of the crossing in in the hands of a number of organisations. Formal governance is the responsibility of the Board of Control (in Lyndesfarne) and a similar but un-named organisation in our own world. Escort and translation services (the written and spoken language are different in Lyndesfarne) are handled by the Guides and the Guild of Directions. The visible policing of the crossing is performed by an organisation known on both sides as the Guardians, supported by a secretive organisation known as the Watchers.
Lyndesfarne has a rich and sophisticated culture at least as advanced as our own. For complex reasons, the elaborate machines and technology which are so essential to life in our own world fail dramatically in Lyndesfarne. No machinery more intricate than wood-wheeled carts can be relied upon in the other world.
Life in Lyndesfarne relies entirely on techniques incomprehensible to visitors, and which can only be described as "magic". Some mysterious property of the barrier between the two worlds prevents magical items imported from Lyndesfarne from working in our world, just as finely engineered items fail in Lyndesfarne.
Visitors to Lyndesfarne are advised to leave their everyday mechanical and electronic items at home. Mobile phones and laptop computers will fail as soon as they are exported, and may not always work when they are returned to our world. Plan on walking over the causeway: cars and even bicycles will break down as soon as they cross the centre of the bridge.
In the tables below, I have included PDF versions of some sample chapters and (where I have completed a good draft) PDF files of the complete books - all free to download. For amusement, I have also included (in HTML) chapters illustrated in what I like to think of as a darkly evocative style. I have even included a few chapters in Postscript format, where I have them available.
Set in the present day, New Bridge to Lyndesfarne follows Kevin, a talented but lonely forty-something who is commissioned to design a second bridge between the Two Worlds. Accompanied by Tanji, his guide and interpreter from Lyndesfarne, Kevin inadvertently discovers a conspiracy to destroy the bridge which puts their lives in danger.
A prequel to New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Bridge at War is set in 1946, immediately after the end of the Second World War. The story follows three young men - Tom, Alistair and Bram - who were comrades in the Army during the War. Bram gently introduces the world of Lyndesfarne to the others, and engineers their recruitment into the Guardians, one of the secretive organisations whose purpose is to protect the crossing to Lyndesfarne.
A sequel to New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Death on the New Bridge once again follows Kevin and Tanji, who are asked by Bret to assist with the investigation of the mysterious death of Andrew Wollack, a microbial epidemiologist who was found in the exact centre of the new bridge shortly after its official opening.
Bridge of Stone and Magic is partially a prequel to Bridge at War, set in Napoleonic times, when the original Lyndesfarne bridge was being constructed. It is also partially a sequel to Death on the New Bridge, set in the present time, with Kevin, Bret and Tanji investigating a suspected new crossing between the worlds, a crossing which was supposed to have been closed permanently several centuries ago.
I am collected a second volume of my short stories which I intend to bring together under the title of Then a Miracle Occurs. This includes my all-time favourite short story Hearts and Flowers. This is very much still a work in progress, and I am providing new and updated stories on a regular basis.