CONTENTS of this PAGE:

THE WATCHER (Periodical)

BELIEVE ME! (Novel)

THE BLADE (Novel)

THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (Overview of the Order)

 

Welcome to my periodical "The Watcher".  Please enjoy it as it is being written!

I intend to regularly update "The Watcher" as the novel is being written to create interest in my work.  The novel is a murder/mystery/thriller, set in Victorian England at a time before PTSD was recognised. A young boy runs off to sea... becomes a man... gets mixed up with an Irish gang...

     

 

 

COPYRIGHT

 

NOTE:  THE WATCHER: All rights reserved: Martin R Jackson  ©2017 & ©2018  If any of this work is found as printed or electronic matter other than with express permission from Martin R Jackson or his agent/s, whether in the form of a novel or academic sample, it is STOLEN property. EXTRACTS MAY BE USED for Publicity & Marketing purposes.

 

THE WATCHER has not been proof-read or edited, anomalies will be addressed as I move on. Also, as the work progresses, earlier chapters will be removed to make for easier reading.  If you enjoy: Tweet!  or: PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS on the GET IN TOUCH page...  

On this site}  All rights are reserved Martin R Jackson  © 2017 & 2018

No part of this literature may be transmitted, stored or reproduced without the consent of the copyright holder with the exception of excerpts used for reviews. This includes "The Watcher", "Believe Me!" & "The Blade". The "About the Author" section may be used. 

WARNING: All the novels below may contain a small amount of violence, mild adult themes and language to reflect reality. AGE suitability 16 years +

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update: 14/05/2018

Chapter 14

 

 

 

Dorothy Malone struggled to keep pace with Brady, taking two steps to his one as they made a hasty retreat through the thick, choking fog towards Bethnal Green.

This cove’s holding a candle to the devil, she thought, reflecting on the way he had pushed the thin blade through the pimp’s foot.

And then robbed him into the bargain! She had witnessed how vicious the man was, and had seen how his mood could swing from one extreme to another.

Literally at the drop of a bonnet!

Almost two-hundred yards away from the Viaduct, the man could still be heard screaming and wailing at the top of his voice. The shrill sounds of a police whistle and ratchet reverberated around the cobblestoned alleyways and streets in the distance.

‘Come on, Dolly, down this jitty. We’ll make our way down the back streets and we should come out near the Boundary, not far from the Bethnal Green Road – I’ve digs in a boozer there,’ he advised in an almost kindly tone.  

‘Which one might that be, Conall?’ she asked, worry sickening her as she wondered how she was to get home.

‘You’ll soon see,’ he grunted, his manner quickly changing. He didn’t like too many questions; he would always get his way.

Brady pulled her arm guiding her down a pitch-black alleyway with crumbling and uneven paving stones. She stumbled but he tightened his grip saving her from taking a fall. George Parry slinked in the murky distance behind attempting to keep them in sight. The fog was making it very difficult.

The alley opened on to a narrow cobbled street noisy with revelry from a small alehouse seemingly full to the rafters with unruly drunkards spilling out on to the pavement.

An emaciated woman with a mouth full of decay stepped in his way and tugged at Brady’s coat. ‘Hey, fella, spare us a couple o’ yenneps fer a crib – ain’t got nowhere fer tonight, I ain’t, an’ I’m bleedin’ coopered…’ She was firmly latched on.  

Brady looked at Dolly in annoyed bewilderment and she quickly explained. ‘Cockney slang – back-to-front – she means a couple of pennies.’

‘Please mister…’ the hag persisted.

‘Sweet sufferin’ Jesus, gerroff me feckin’ coat,’ he bellowed shoving her away before groping in his trouser pocket. He found a silver thruppeny bit and flicked it in her direction with his thumb and forefinger. It hit the floor, the tinkle immediately attracting the attention of the other lushingtons. It promoted much scrambling and pushing between them as it spun in a circle somewhere in the darkness.

‘Ha! Ha! Ha! – Heh! Heh! Heh! …The balmy crone,’ he sniggered as he watched them for a moment. Then, anxious to move on, he grabbed Dorothy’s arm and dragged her away, still chuckling to himself, ‘heh, heh, come on, Dolly, this way, m’darlin’.’

Now knowing the sort of man he was, Dorothy had become convinced he’d thrown the woman a coin out of a twisted sense of amusement and certainly not to alleviate any pain or suffering. He'd been relishing the thought of the poor woman’s desperation and held the same look on his face as when he’d taunted her about the loan of the four pounds.

Seeing that they had been momentarily waylaid, George Parry quickly slipped into a terrace between two crumbling three-storey buildings to bide his time. He could not afford to be spotted, knowing how violent Brady was, how he possessed a Colt revolver; how he was not afraid of using it! He counted out thirty-seconds and then risked poking his head out to have a look.

20/05/2018

To his utter dismay, they had gone!

Damnation!’ he cursed to himself stepping out and looking down the street in bewilderment. He knew they could only have carried straight on, or possibly turned down a small archway on the left, an archway dimly illuminated by a single gas lamp. And just as all choices seem to be the wrong ones when in such a predicament, so was his. 

He chose to go straight on. 

Seconds earlier, Brady had directed Dorothy down the arched passage between the warehouses. She had nervously obeyed him hoping that George, her minder, was somewhere nearby following in the shadows. She was terrified that Brady might find she was an infiltrator and was now quite aware how violent he could be. She tried to slow down hoping to give George Parry sight of them and an indication of which way they had gone, but Brady gripped her wrist and hastened her onwards. The fog was becoming thicker and her foot was exceedingly sore where she’d placed an apple-pip in her shoe to feign a sprained ankle. At the first opportunity she would remove it; it was no longer necessary.

‘Down here, Dolly and you’ll see the back yard to the place at the bottom of the street on the right,’ he said, slowing down and looking around him. A wooden gate with peeling paint was set into a high brick wall. He grasped the iron ring of the latch, gave it a twist and pushed hard. The gateway opened into a small backyard, cobbled and sloping towards a drain in the centre. Standing at the drain was a man in a long drape coat with his pants open. He was urinating, steam rising to join the fog. Brady tutted, turned to shut the gate behind them and grasped a small metal spike hung on a chain from the latch. He wedged it into the mechanism thus locking it against any unwanted visitors.

God, George will never find me now, Dorothy realised as she quickly glanced around the yard. It was completely enclosed, the far wall incorporating a brick privy with a large heap of coal piled up against it.

The backdoor to the alehouse was open wide illuminating the yard in an eerie, wan glow. A glow seemingly waxed by the choking fog. The whine of a fiddle plus the general hubbub of a bodhrán drum, clacking spoons and a concertina, broke through the sound of voices; some singing, some mumbling, some shouting and cursing. 

Brady looked at the man again, shook his head and raised his voice above the din. ‘Put yer cock away Paddy – it’s a disgrace to manhood, so it is – I’ve seen more feckin’ meat on a tinker’s toothpick.’

‘Call of nature, Conall, can’t hold me water nowadays, I can’t.’

‘You’re pissin’ ale and potcheen, Paddy, not water…’ he replied curtly as he took Dolly’s wrist and motioned her to the open doorway. He failed to apologise for the vulgarity.

The smell of stale ale and tobacco seeped out of the seedy set-up as she stood on the doorstep.

‘A young filly in a fancy hat – be Jesus!’ a cry went up.

The music stopped abruptly…

Update: 22/05/2018

Chapter 15

 

 

 

Another week had passed before I saw Morgan again. He was still acting the part of Mr William Hem, attorney at law, when he made an unannounced visit to our cell early one morning. He brought with him a basket of fruit, hard biscuits and a generous portion of cheese. He placed the basket down on the floor attracting the anxious gaze of my ravenous cellmate.

‘Good morning, Mr Asher, and a grand one indeed it is, my dear fellow.’ He took a handkerchief from his pocket and blew his nose as he looked around the cell. ‘Not for you though, it seems.’ He briefly turned his back on Danny and gave me a sneaky wink.

‘Bad news then, Mr Hem,’ I replied.

‘Yes, I’m afraid to say,’ he continued.

I realised from Morgan’s wink that the bad news was for the benefit of Danny O’Dowd.

‘Bad news, you say? You’d better enlighten me.’

He commenced apprising me of the situation and whilst doing so, made sure Danny O’Dowd was within earshot. He spoke in a stridently clear tone that my cellmate would have no difficulty hearing.

‘You are aware of the charges filed against you which are murder, barratry and another charge of complicity in the murder of a policeman. Let me tell you that on the first count, an eyewitness has been found who’s claiming he observed you at the dockside late at night near the Paddle Steamer, Yarmouth Bluebell. That was the night before Francis Bainbridge’s dead body was found hanging from the ship’s rigging. This so-called witness came forward on hearing of a sizeable reward put forward by the Sealine Steamship & Sail Company Limited, the owners of the vessel. What’s more – the witness is willing to testify against you, James.’

‘My God, there must be a mistake!’ I gasped, in despair.

‘I take it you weren’t there then, Mr Asher?’

‘Well, errm no, Mr Hem,’ I replied hesitantly.

‘I see,’ he said. ‘I suppose that money not only has the ability to loosen tongues, my dear fellow, but it seems it may also cause phantasms, illusions, and such. I can’t help but think that the greater the sum, the clearer the vision might become.’

‘It appears that could be so, Mr Hem,’ I replied.

Danny was listening intently and seemed to be sidling closer and closer to us. I pretended to take no notice. Then came a familiar clank and groan from the cell door as it swung open to reveal the bullying turnkey and his colleague.

‘Come on you two – it’s time fer fresh air and exercise in the yard – let’s be ’aving yer!’

God… even the yard stinks, I thought as I made a move to obey the order.

‘Hold you there, Mr Asher.’ Morgan held the flat of his hand to me and turned to the guard. ‘As you know, I’m Mr Asher’s attorney and I need to advise him and take instructions – he goes up on Monday.’

‘As yer like, but you’re wasting yer time, he’s sure to be dangling afore the months out, gaffer.’ 

As promised, another peek at Chapter 12...

Chapter 12

 

 

 

William Melville, alias Morgan, had been forwarded many names of Irishmen as persons of interest by branch agents covering London’s East End. Unfortunately however, he had been experiencing immense difficulty discovering which of them had connections to the Irish Republicans and who the actual leader of the movement was. Many navvy-labourers had moved into the metropolis drawn in by the rapidly expanding rail and roadworks and being an Irishman himself, he was well aware they weren’t all dangerous rebels, but far from it.

The term “commander” however, had been overheard on numerous occasions but no other information was forthcoming. On Morgan’s instructions, men were singled out and stealthily followed until they could be eliminated. Several public houses in the area had been under surveillance and a particularly lowly one, the Crown Public House on Bethnal Green Road, had been noted by Morgan to be much favoured and frequented by Irishmen to the point of most other folk giving it a wide berth. One man of interest to him had lodgings there. He seemed well-breeched, but didn’t appear to have employment. Morgan dearly wanted to know his name and the nature of his business.

Could he be the elusive commander? He wondered.

He had delegated the job of investigation to a young lady agent. As a woman, she cut a most unlikely figure for an investigator. He considered an attractive female might find it easier to charm her way through any difficulties without arousing too much suspicion.

Initially, the young woman had been drafted into the Metropolitan Constabulary two years previously as a matron to investigate crimes committed by women. Body searches by men on the fairer sex had rightly been considered reprehensible by the authorities much to the regret of certain constables who’d considered it a bonus. Noting her intelligence and unrivalled tenacity, Morgan had poached her for his new department. This had been her first operational job and she had covertly logged the Irishman’s movements from a distance. She determined her mark to be as crafty a fox and worthy of much deeper scrutiny.

 

The commander preferred to distance himself from the more risky operations and demanded his associates all come to him under the guise of being patrons of the public alehouse. When summoned they would emerge from the murky depths of the Old Nichol to filter through the taproom of the Crown and up the stairs to his apartment. Any interloper would have been flagged well before they got anywhere near.

The young lady agent had devised a scheme to reel him in. She was aware of his regular Monday morning visits to a specific newsagent and tobacconist shop, and had planned to bump into him.

Bump into him, literally…

He’d emerged from the shop with his usual broadsheet and plug of twist only to collide with her as she’d been walking past carrying a pile of neatly ironed washing in a basket. He’d sent her sprawling across the flagstone pavement. Her planned stumble caused the cover of the basket to fall off allowing the pure white shirts and bed linen to spill into the dirty gutter.

‘Oh, my good Lord, that’s torn it I’m in real trouble now!’ She exclaimed. ‘That’s the guvnor’s whites for the whole of the week – he’ll lock me up along with his lags in Newgate,’ she whimpered, rubbing her ankle vigorously.

Is he taking the bait…? 

‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I’m so sorry m’dear. Guvnor, you say – lags… prison?’ he inquired.

‘Yes, he’s the guvnor of Newgate, and don’t I know it. Everything has to be bang-up fine for him – pure white shirts, starched and ironed the lot. And now look at these – all got to go back and be done again, and I’m supposed to be doin’ his bed sheets and table linen ’safternoon – promised I’d go do the beds in his home.’ Her words rushed out in a torrent.

She rubbed her ankle again then started gathering the washing together, with her mark stooping to help her.

‘You say the guvnor’s home? – A racing certainty the right honourable gent lives somewhere like Park Lane, or Arlington Street, in a big posh place, eh, m’dear!’

Have I hooked him? She wondered, wiping away a crocodile tear.

‘Naw – don’t be daft, sniff, he’s got a place out o’ town but lives at Newgate nick most of the weekdays. A nice lodge at the front of the building – ’tis a lovely place mind you. Look mister, sniff, I must go and earn, because the bailiffs are on me for rent arrears. It’s like a monkey on my back, a monkey with a long tail – can’t seem to get the money paid off and I’m working all hours.’

To Conall Brady the words had been manna from heaven. Is this young woman his answer? Could she be his inside contact, a woman desperate for money? Danny O’Dowd had been imprisoned in Newgate for over a week, and hitherto Brady had found it impossible to find anyone who worked on the inside.

This is it! He was thinking… A way in

‘The bailiffs are chasin’ after yer then?’

‘Forget that – sorry, I shouldn’t have said it – must go – can’t hang around,’ she replied and made to get up, her apparently injured ankle suddenly letting her down with a bump.

Ouch!’ She moaned loudly.

‘Twisted ankle is it, m’darling?’

Oww – err, lend us a hand if yer please, mister – think I’ve sprained it!’ The young lady agent gripped Brady’s extended arm and he assisted her to stand, trying his utmost to gain her confidence. Little known to him she was up to the same game, but she was winning. 

‘Look, I must go, sniff …’

‘Ye can’t even stand properly let alone walk. I’ll help ye back home – whereabouts is yer abode, may I ask?’

‘The back of Cheapside, Cranmer Cottages,’ she replied. ‘With my papa and little brother – mamma passed over a couple of years back, she’d been ill for some time.’

 ‘Awfully sorry to hear that, my condolences, m’dear – Conall Brady’s the name, what would be yours, may I ask?’ He put on his educated tone of voice.

‘Dorothy Malone, Miss,’ she replied as they traipsed down Newgate Street towards Cheapside, him carrying the basket of washing, her limping along gripping his arm.

He was quite unaware, but eyes were upon them watching every move.

‘So tell me about your papa, Miss Malone.’ Brady was worried he might pose a threat.

‘Of course, Mr Brady – he was a lamp-lighter afore he fell and did his leg in. There was a build-up of gas and it blew him off the ladder when he was lighting a street lamp. He’s a window knocker now – can’t get up ladders anymore. And then he does a bit of rat-catching in the day. Hardly brings in a wage at all, I’m afraid.’

It was all a lie of course.   

The truth of the matter was that her so-called papa had sustained a bullet injury to his leg during the Sepoy rebellion at Jhelum, India in 1857. His injury caused him to be honourably discharged from the 24th Regiment of Foot. He had eventually found employment as a respected backroom agent compiling intelligence for the London Police at their Scotland Yard office. Now, nearly a quarter of a century on, and fully fledged as an investigator, William Melville, alias Morgan, had snapped up George Parry for his newly formed Special Irish Branch. Therefore, it was only in the broadest of respects that George Parry was an expert at catching vermin.

Vermin of the human kind…

George was not at all related to Dorothy, but in fact a bodyguard put there by Morgan for her protection. He was a man of fifty years or so, his pronounced limp belying his skill with fists and firearms. The young brother would be “out doing errands”. In fact, it would be one long errand. He was just a product of her imagination and didn’t exist at all, but was a further make-believe mouth to feed so adding to Dorothy Malone’s apparently dire circumstances.

 

‘This’s it, Mr Brady, Cranmer Cottages,’ she eventually said, turning through an archway into a tight passage. She pulled a large key from her apron pocket and unlocked a door into a dark room on the right hand side.

‘You’re lucky to have a nice little drum like this, m’dear,’ Brady commented, stepping into the room and looking around as he placed the basket down. She closed the door.

‘Not for much longer if we can’t pay the landlord,’ she replied striking a Lucifer to light candles on the mantelpiece. ‘Anyway, papa will be home soon – with a little bit of luck he might’ve made a penny or two…’

No sooner had she said that, than the knob rattled and the door swung open. George Parry alias George Malone, hobbled into the room and was seemingly surprised by Conall Brady standing there. In reality, his surprise had only been feigned. He’d been following them unobserved at a distance since Dolly’s staged mishap. It was a fact that the most notable thing about George Parry was that he was unnoticeable; indistinct, a nonentity. Even his limp branded him a person of little threat. His drab garb of darned jacket, neckerchief and cloth cap had concealed him perfectly within the busy workaday throng. He flopped his hat on to a hook on the door and closed it.  

‘You’re home early, daughter, and with a guest – who might we have here then, gal?’

‘…A gentleman, a gentleman who helped me home, papa, after I stumbled and sprained my ankle.’

‘Oh dear me, are you alright, daughter?’ He gave a look of concern.

‘I think so, thank you. The pain’s getting better by the minute, papa. It’ll be fine by the morning I’m sure.’

‘Thank goodness for that, the fees those bone setters charge are more than I can afford.’

‘Trouble is, papa – I’ll have to do all the guvnor’s whites over again – I’ve mucked them up awfully I’m afraid.’

‘Dear, dear me, ne’er mind lass, so long as you’re alright.’

 ‘I am, thanks to Mr Brady here…’

‘You’d better sit down, Doll, and rest it a while.’ George Parry turned to Brady and proffered his hand.  ‘Good on you for assisting my daughter, sir – George Malone’s the name – delighted to meet you, he said with a smile.’

‘Conall, Conall Brady – the pleasure’s all mine, glad to be of assistance.’ He returned more of a smirk than a smile as he shook George’s hand.

George cursorily studied the man’s face taking care not to arouse his suspicion; over the years he had acquired an uncanny ability to assess a person’s character. His feelings were not good. He quickly ascertained that the man standing before him was hiding his true temperament. The permanently furrowed brow could only have come from a lifetime of discord, the sunken staring eyes from scepticism and dissent. And there was something else about him, something unnerving, something unhallowed and dark. George could not quite determine what that was; whether it was his markedly fitful mannerisms or the way he had failed to remove his hat.

Better make a move, no dallying about or he’ll get wary, he thought. ‘Look, if you’ll kindly ’scuse us a short while, must go an’ have a butchers at the copper out back and boil a drop of Adam’s ale – it’s another ponch-jobby for the guvnor’s whites by the looks of it. I’ll only be a few ticks or so then Doll can take over the important bit.’ George Parry picked the Lucifer sticks from the mantelshelf and hobbled out of the room leaving Dorothy alone with Brady.

‘How much did ye say is owed to the landlord if you don’t mind me asking, Miss Malone?’

‘I didn’t say, and please, call me Dolly,’ she replied.

‘Come on how much then, Dolly?’

‘All of forty three shillings and six pence, Mr Brady.’

‘Call me Conall, please. Two pounds three-and-a-tanner, eh, and that’s all of it?’

‘Yes, I’m ashamed to say – I don’t know how we’ve let it get to that sum, and then there’s Alfie my little brother – we’ll all be in the workhouse!’ Dorothy whimpered.

‘Not if I can help it. I’m not without means, Dolly, and I’m sure I could find a few quid to help ye along the road ’til ye get on your feet, so to say – a very hard working and honest family it seems, so ye are.’ Conall Brady had reached in his pocket. ‘And don’t tell your father, eh.’

‘No…?’

‘…No, don’t be bothering him, he needn’t know anything about it at all, Dolly.’

Due to his uncertain circumstances Brady had always considered it prudent to carry a sizeable reserve of cash knowing he might have to make a run for it; enough to catch a boat and go out foreign if needs be. He had contacts in America and that would be his destination.

He took hold of her hand, and gently opening it, counted four pounds into her palm. ‘Pay the rent, and buy yourself a nice new bonnet, silk stockings or someth’n, cheer yourself up, then we can discuss a wee bit of work you can do in repayment. I might have a weekly wash – a shirt or two and some sheets…’

She shivered; his hand was nothing like she’d expected. It was damp, sweaty and almost as soft as a baby’s bottom. There were no signs of manual labour. ‘I don’t know how to thank you, Mr… errm… Conall,’ she replied, another fake tear wetting her eye as she shivered again. Luckily, Brady took the tremor as a sign of her distress.

‘Like I was saying…’ Brady was suddenly cut short by George returning from lighting the copper boiler in the lean-to washhouse out the back.

Supposedly!

In fact, George Parry had been listening at the door.

Brady had looked Dolly straight in the eyes, and it was plain to her that he didn’t want anything said about money matters. It was also plain to her that she had caught him; he had swallowed the bait.

‘Ye’re safely home now, Miss Malone but it’s a little bit of a maze around here. I would very much appreciate yer pointing me in the right direction for my place, if ye would be so kind.’ He turned to George, ‘I’ll say goodbye then, Mr Malone.’

‘Goodbye, Mr Brady, and I thank you again for looking after my daughter!’

For now

 

Brady knew exactly the way to go but he wanted to catch Dorothy on her own. Once outside in the narrow street, he asked to meet her from work the following day when they could discuss the work he had for her.

‘If you’re takin’ the washin’ back tomorrow, I’ll be across the road in the Viaduct Palace lookin’ out for yer. I’ll make sure ye get home safely, so I will.’

Conall Brady did not always speak the truth.  


 

The story so far (detailed manuscript moved)

 

 

Prologue (1 & 2)

Young James Meredith Asher suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to mental and sexual assaults from his grandfather. His grandfather is found dead at the bottom of a well in the back garden; the inquest returns accidental death. (Written in third person)

Chapter 1

(The narrative changes to the first person of James M Asher for effect) 

James Meredith Asher joins the crew of a small paddle steamer, the captain of which is a drunkard. The steamship is involved in an accident due to an anomalous whistle-signal by James. The captain goes AWOL.

Chapter 2

Bainbridge, the ship’s engineer, tries to blackmail James and the first officer Danny O’Dowd.

Chapter 3

Danny and James arrange to meet Frank Bainbridge at nine o’ clock the following morning to pay his demand but he is found dead, hanging from the tangled rigging of the stricken steamship in drydock. It was thought an accident.

Chapter 4 

A Maritime Board of Trade Inquiry is held. Danny and James are taken into custody charged with barratry after the steamship’s captain makes an unexpected appearance and points an accusing finger. They are committed for trial at the Old Bailey.

Chapter 5

Whilst being transported to Newgate there is an explosion and an attempt made by a Fenian gang to rescue Danny O'Dowd from custody. The plan goes wrong, Danny is thrown from a horse but escapes on foot. James is left behind to answer for it.

Chapter 6

James is thrown in Newgate, head shaven, then taken to see the governor.  There is another man there who threatens him saying James will be hung for killing a peeler. His name is William Morgan. Morgan promises to free James on a promise that he works for him.

Chapter 7

Sworn in as an agent of the Special Irish Branch, James Meredith Asher returns to the cell where he meets the recaptured Danny O’Dowd.

Chapter 8

Danny O’Dowd describes his escape attempt, whilst James tries to ingratiate himself with him. He tries to find where he was heading and the names of the gang. Danny is taken from the cell for a good hiding… 

Chapter 9

The gang arrive back at the yard “Hennessey & Son, Saddle, Bridle & Shoes” in the Old Nichol. Seamus relays the bad news to the commander. They had failed to spring Danny from the gaol.

Chapter 10

James Asher and Danny O'Dowd languish in Newgate. A lawyer brings food, James finds out the man's true identity... it is William Morgan! 

Chapter 11

The commander calls a meeting at the Crown Inn, where he discusses breaking Danny O'Dowd from gaol.

Chapter 12

William Melville, alias Morgan, of the Special Irish Branch, drafts in a young lady agent to gain the Republican Commander's confidence and thus spy on him. Dolly Malone is in great danger.

Chapter 13 

Brady (if that’s his real name) meets Dorothy at the Viaduct Gin Palace. Demands she helps him to release Danny. He skewers a pimp in the foot & robs him… But where does he take her?

 

 

BELIEVE ME!

Back cover blurb:

When Ben McVeigh moves to Norfolk to escape the high maintenance memory of Sally Peters he has little idea that the silence of the place will soon be broken in a most unexpected way.

He is contacted by the legal department of a large multinational energy company, “Genélan” with a request to recover a badly damaged Mercedes from an old barn in a village about ten miles or so away from his home. Ben is tasked with examining the car and supplying an engineer’s report with secrecy being the order of the day.

But soon the mystery of the crashed Merc will include the discovery of an old chart and a silver box and the way will be open for Ben McVeigh to embark on an investigation involving sunken islands, the Knights Templar, missing treasure and foreign agents, not to mention the discovery of a new soulmate. 

 

 

Believe Me! The Lost Treasure of the Templars...  a taster, try it out!

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

At first he was convinced things would be alright; comfortable, relaxed and free from the rowdy hassle of the city. He was almost enjoying the quiet seclusion of North Norfolk, so different from his native Nottingham.

Almost enjoying it, but not entirely...

Something was missing. Although he had formed an excellent relationship with next-door neighbours Jackie and Jonathan Stone, he found that loneliness had sharp teeth and bit hard, particularly when the door of his cottage was shut of an evening.

A prisoner! The explosion of silence – deafening!

The occasional muted bump of a door or muffled laughter from next door only went to remind him of his isolation. Others were having fun, but definitely not him! No female interaction, no hugs, no intimacy – no sex! The only thing available to Ben McVeigh was imagination, or the occasional girlie magazine. And that made him feel guilty, dirty even.

Before finally deciding to move to Norfolk he had been in a steady relationship. She almost became a fixture, his fiancée, but as things worked out, a most embarrassing incident finally put paid to that; embarrassing in one respect, but in reality most fortunate for Ben. It had been a lucky escape from a life hanging on the frail tenterhooks of infidelity. On her part that is. Ben was as sound as a pound.

Sally Peters had been high maintenance. It required more than a few peanuts to rock her cradle, a whole Carter load if truth be known. She had been a butterfly, flitting about with no apparent direction until briefly settling on her latest fad: another point of interest – another conquest – another man of the moment…

Ben had politely concluded she was a free spirit, incapable of monogamy or full commitment. That’s how she was; he knew she couldn’t help it. However, his opinion of her now was not so polite, especially when primordial instinct raised its raging head. He would fantasise about Sally, and the times when they had laid together consumed by animal impulse – the nitty-gritty requirement of existence itself.

The essential but uncontrollable urge of the beastie!

It had been that unfortunate incident with the Hiatt handcuffs that finally convinced him to break their relationship.


 

 

 

Chapter 1

Spring 2007, Norfolk

 

 

The appointed rendezvous was the old Norfield Quarry. This had been abandoned over two decades earlier when aggregate abstraction had become unprofitable. Larger, more modern equipment and progressive management had given competitors a serious financial advantage over the small family-run business. Lack of investment, too many family members extracting more from their bank than the terrain finally put paid to the operation. “Norfield Aggregates Ltd” was no more. The shareholders had long since imposed their lethargy on more profitable endeavours elsewhere.

The lone rider pulled alongside the gates to the disused quarry, cocked his leg over, and dismounted his machine. He pulled the bike onto its stand, removed his gauntlets placing them on the seat; the engine patiently idling, awaiting instructions, rocking rhythmically. Rickety gates secured the entrance, fabricated from old scaffold tubes welded together and in-filled with heavy steel mesh; the sort used to reinforce concrete. The whole lot was in an advanced state of corrosion, any protective coating long gone. A white sign displaying faded red lettering: “NO ENTRY, DEEP WATER”, hung haphazardly to the left of the structure. A heavy chain in the centre secured the gates together. The rider was a “prospect”: a prospective candidate, recruit, initiate into a secret biker organisation.

This’s it; looks deserted though…

He pulled the chain through the steel mesh creating a heavy clanking as he gained access to the padlock fastening the chain. A shower of flaking rust fell to the sandy track peppering the stinking-nanny weeds that had sprung up on the otherwise barren ground. As advised, the padlock key was in situ and only required turning to release the mechanism. This done, he pulled the gate open just enough to allow him to push his bike through, then shut it turning the key as instructed, tossing it into a rain-barrel at the side of an old corrugated iron shed to the left of the gateway. The barrel was full to the brim. Plop – The key had gone! He was now inside, his exit blocked!

No friggin turning back now…

The rider donned his gloves, remounted his machine and negotiated the bumpy track leading around a rocky outcrop until he reached a harsh, desolate clearing. The topography was almost extra-terrestrial, the whole area storm-grey in colour, pock-marked by bottomless pits of cobalt blue water. The recruit hoped the intense colour was due to the reflection of the cloudless deep-blue sky, but had concern it might be the result of some toxic mineral leaching in.

An old earth-moving machine lay abandoned and rusting on a flat bed of shingle next to one of the larger watery craters. It bore the only sign of life, a lone black crow standing atop, preening feebly under a raised wing. Trees, bushes and vegetation were noticeably absent.

It looks deserted… No bugger about!

The rider paused at the rim of the largest pit, balancing his motorbike with one booted leg propping the idling machine; his other foot covered the gear selector in preparation. He raised his visor and with gauntleted hand shielded his eyes from the early morning sun. He surveyed the panorama; wisps of haze rose from the dark pool – malevolent phantoms expectant of a sinister happening. The crow took flight.

The prospect was just speculating what vile things lay at the very bottom of the deep water when a low humming noise similar to swarming bees became apparent. Louder, closer, and lower the noise came until fluctuations in the tone revealed individual thumping sounds of high-powered bike engines. Each machine sounded like a jack-hammer echoing around the scarred craters as the riders negotiated the undulated terrain. The engines cut simultaneously at exactly the appointed time – silence, apart from the pathetic throb of the recruit’s bike. He pulled his gauntlet back and nervously looked at his watch.

It’s true then that they’re sticklers for time…

A pack of black leather-clad riders on black motorcycles lined up on the far rim of the crater, arms outstretched clenching ape-hanger bars. Their dark glossy machines and chromium accessories reflected the bright, sunny vista transforming the riders into a string of incandescent cormorants hanging their wings to dry. A rider in the centre of the group stood out from the others. He sat proudly on a gold-plated Harley, the burnished metal blazing in the morning sun – a magnificent alpha on shimmering steed.

He was positioned slightly forward of the others and extended his left arm in a form of salute to the recruit. The biker slowly looked to his right and then to his left. His mirror-style visor remained down, face totally hidden, but as he turned his head, silver “SS” symbols could be seen either side of his storm-trooper helmet.

Satan’s Soldiers!

A forked woolly beard protruded from below the head-protection gear and moved gently in the light breeze.  He lowered his left arm, bending and crossing it across loops of gold chains dangling on his chest. He punched a clenched fist to his heart. All was done with a stiff, orderly movement. The prospective recruit shuddered.

Up shit-creek without a paddlereckon I’ve backed up the wrong alley here…


 

 Available at Austin Macauley book publishers & Amazon.com 

THE BLADE

Back cover blurb:

When Ben McVeigh moves to Norfolk to escape the greedy tentacles of femme-fatale Sally Peters, he has no idea he will soon be pursued by a splinter group of the Mukhabarat, a Middle-Eastern military intelligence secret service. They are intent on recovering an ancient Arab blade that has fallen into the possession of Ben's neighbour, Jonathan Stone.

 

The two young men become fugitives from the law after the body of an attractive young girl is found behind Ben's cottage.  Stephan Robert Thornhill, a police inspector known as "Bostik Bobby", knows he can make the charges stick no matter what, but why does he need to?  What connection does the blade have with the Knights Templar?  How did it possibly change the course of history?  It leads Ben and Jonathan on a desperate battle to prove their innocence, and to a surprising revelation for a young acquaintance. 

Add caption Lulu Bookstore, Barnes & Noble etc... ISBN 978-1-4834-7393-2 (sc) ISBN978-1-4834-7392-5 (e)

http://lulu.com/spotlight/The_Blade

Order direct from publisher...

Prologue 

 

‘I’m sure he’s got ADHD! Never listens to anything I say; in cloud cuckoo-land I reckon – then starts this here hyper-thingamajig.’

‘Well, that is the nature of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,’ she said.

‘Do you reckon there’s anything I can do about it?’

‘No, I think you’ll just have to accept that’s how he is, Sir,’ she said.

‘So you can’t recommend any sort of therapy, then?’

‘You’re talking about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy,’ she said. She giggled.

‘Yeah – I’ve tried talking to him, tried changing the way he thinks… you know, paint word pictures, slowly but surely catch his attention, but he doesn’t seem to know what I’m saying; definitely aloof in a world of his own I’m afraid!’

She giggled. 

‘I don’t think talking would do any good whatsoever in this case, but you could try altering his diet, Sir,’ she said. 

‘…His diet?  He certainly is a very faddy eater!’

‘Yes, it’s a fact that food colourings, additives, sugar, can cause problems – he may be intolerant to something in his food; poor nutrition can cause all sorts of complications,’ she said.

‘So, could a change of diet also control his symptoms of OCD?  He seems to have that as well…’  

‘Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder you say; what makes you think that, Sir,’ she said.

He kept a straight face. She did not. She giggled. 

‘Yeah, just between you and me, he has this repetitive thingy – some sort of ritual, I reckon. No matter what I say or do, I don’t seem to be able to stop him fidgeting; rapidly rocking his head backwards and forwards with his tongue sticking out!’

She giggled. She picked up a folder… The patient’s name…?

She suddenly, became aware her colleagues had made a simple error of identification. Sir Wilfred Scarlett was the large Maine-Coon ginger tomcat. The man… was just a man! 

Better tell my staff it’s the cat who’s called Sir – they keep on addressing this chav as Sir Wilfred…! 

‘Anyway, it’s not a ritual – he’s doing what we call “grooming” if you ask me. And about the flea problem, just put this preparation on the back of the cat’s neck – not your own…’  She tittered.

‘Okay, m’dear – but I call it playing-the-harp…’

This guy’s crazy…

‘Is that about everything Mr… errm?’ She slid the folder across her desk, traced the print at the top of the page with her forefinger; ‘Mr… errm, Ben McVeigh?’

 

*

 

Abednego McVeigh hated his name. To him it was a source of humiliation; he preferred to be known simply as Ben. His father had bestowed the odd name on him in recognition of a distant ancestor – a legendary Nottinghamshire prize fighter known as “Bendigo”, a corruption of “Abednego”. His father had been a consummate devotee of pugilism. Unfortunately, most of Ben’s close friends had been quite aware of his real name. When speaking of him but certainly not to him, would refer to him as “Bendy”. The nick-name was a million miles from reality because once Ben McVeigh had mentally deliberated, his mind was set in granite and it could not be moved.

 

Cocks on sticks, hard, sticky, sweet, vibrant candy lollies shaped like cockerels, he remembered them well. Mushy peas cooked on an open brazier with lashings of mint sauce and hotdogs and burgers, their meaty derivations just that little more dubious. Goose Fair, Ben recollected; that hotchpotch confusion of stalls and roundabouts crowned by the big wheel and helter-skelter. Thoughts came flooding back as he twiddled the little bronze token in his pocket.   

The fair, held once a year in October went back around seven-hundred years or so – originally a market for selling fattened geese herded from the surrounding areas. As times changed, it had become a huge fairground site operated by travelling showmen, gypsies… and thieves.

Ben, and his pal Twinkle, had begun their merry jaunt at The Hall of Mirrors. Nothing was as it seemed. Cheeky boyish faces taking on comical shapes, hoots of laughter and glee. Their joviality had been short lived, however, replaced by the extreme opposite… terror. It was the ride on the Waltzer. Giddily spinning, bucking and tossing about as swarthy roughnecks, slapped the carriages and collected fares. It was that one ride that had kicked off Ben McVeigh’s dislike of tattoos. He had passed over a twenty pound note, but the heavily tattooed low-life failed to return any change. That was it! Ben’s loud protestations alerted the stall owner, who instantly materialised and sacked the man on the spot. The roustabout, wearing a heavily stained string vest, had arms like totem poles – covered in tattoos to such an extent that no bare skin could be seen from his “love-hate” knuckles to the “cut here” dotted line across his carotid. The large peak of his frayed baseball cap hid the upper part of his gnarled face, looking much like something belonging on a rubbish tip. The cap that is…

The worthy showman, who had sacked the man, had offered profound apologies. He returned all Ben’s money and gave him a consoling gift of a strange coin before returning swiftly to his punters. The roughneck remained unobserved in the shadows. Ben had not seen him lurking behind the cock-on-a-stick stall waiting for revenge until… 

…BENDY – WATCH OUT!!!’ His school pal Twinkle suddenly screamed at the top of his voice. 

The cry had been lost in the din and racket of the fair as his young pal grabbed his arm hauling him in the direction of the exit two hundred yards away. The thug, although having teeth black to the core, was obviously agile and only a few feet behind as the two young lads clawed, scrambled and slid through the crowded fairground; a mud bath from a recent shower of rain. 

A drum solo pounded inside Ben’s heaving chest as he ran for his life… coloured flashing lights, diesel smells from large static generators intermingling with hot dogs, burgers, fried onions and rancid hot fat… 

Smoky, rancid hot fat –Gonna be SICK…!

Must get away – run for it – faster – FASTER…!

He looked back and saw that the thug had overtaken his pal and was hell-bent on catching his prey. God that’s me! – He’s after KILLING ME…!

Ben’s head was spinning. Faster – faster – FASTER!  Each carousel played a different tune competing against its rival. Louder – louder – LOUDER…! A cacophony of jumbled melodies crashing into his head…

Mind swimming, cheeks on fire, legs turning to lead, and pain in his stomach – out of breath – stitch.

Rancid hot FAT…! 

The deafening commotion: discordant sound of hurdy-gurdy punch-card music, the inane shrieking laugh of an automaton clown – the ting of lead pellets hitting tin men – the metallic slap of them tumbling back… dead. 

Louder – louder – louder – LOUDER! 

A hand from behind spun him round… ‘HEY… you all right, son?’ 

He turned to see, to his relief, a policeman. Fortunately the roughneck had disappeared along with his tattoos, frayed cap and snarling mouth of decaying teeth, the nasty experience only returning in nightmares. Although held every year on his doorstep, he would never again go to Goose Fair as a youngster, or would he know the significance of the showman’s mysterious little bronze gift for many years later.

But that was years ago, must get over it, even my dentist’s got tatts… be the vicar next… Huh, Rev Hallett, as if…! He thought, as he gave the little coin in his pocket another twiddle.

 

 

*

 

He had been in his early twenties before returning to the event – a couple of local lads tagging along. They dared him to have-a-go in Ron Taylor’s Boxing Booth. He had floored his opponent in the first round with a left hook to the Habsburg – the stunned gypsy had not known what day to get up. They gathered him from the canvas like a jellyfish – his bloody nose a shipwrecked rudder guiding him beyond oblivion, as he was stretchered through the curtains. His working week had been put on more than temporary hold by Mr Ben McVeigh! 

After the experience with the roughneck, and with pressure from his father, Ben, had joined a local gym and taken up boxing. The intention had been to get hardened up a touch, and it had worked. The only thing that bothered him nowadays was loneliness. Loneliness caused by his relocation to Norfolk. That had all started, and finished, with his altercation with Sally Peters. Over her cuffing him to the bed… stark-naked!  To his horror, his mother had burst in on him accompanied by Sally’s mother – she seemed to have enjoyed the experience. He had managed to push that fiasco to the back of his mind, but now, Sally had taken things further – her latest vindictive stunt had pitched Ben McVeigh into utter humiliation, leaving him the laughing stock of Hogsthorpe.

Spite, that’s what it was…! Pure bloody-minded spite! He had concluded.


 

Chapter 1

 

 

December 2006, Norfolk, England.

 

Ben had moved to Spring Cottage earlier in the summer, intent on escaping his femme-fatale, Sally Peters. The Cottage was ancient, like most other vernacular dwellings in the village of Hogsthorpe, North Norfolk. The main construction was of random rubble, a fabrication of flints and baked red clays, roughly held together with lime mortar – so roughly, that Ben thought it unlikely the builders had possessed neither plumb-line nor level. In sleepy Hogsthorpe, he thought he was well away from tattooed gum-chewers, thugs in tatty baseball caps, and… Sally Peters.

Wrong…!

Now it seemed her sordid tentacles had no bounds. She had discovered his hideaway. How, he had no idea.  

The incident had been unforgettable for the locals, particularly his new neighbours, Jonathan and Jackie Stone. They had lived next door in April Cottage for a couple of years since inheriting it from Jonathan’s grandmother. Initially, the debacle had convinced them and the locals that Ben was a sexually depraved pervert; debauched – a degenerate townie! They began to worry who actually had moved in next door.

 Ben could not even hazard a guess where Sally had obtained his new address, but obtain it she most certainly had. And the scheduling had been absolute perfection. Saturday morning, Christmas carol practice – the innocent angelic tones of the choir drifting from the church hall, “A Virgin Unspotted” just fading out, then a couple of clicks from the choirmaster’s batten summoning the chirpy upbeat of “Good King Wenceslas” to break out across the pastoral landscape. Reverend Hallett, a pleasant smile on his face, had dismounted his pedal-cycle and was graciously chatting to a lady parishioner before the twice-a-day village bus entered the scene. All was flawlessly timed. 

‘Heavens above – in my parish of all places – I can’t believe what I’m seeing! God help us, has the man no shame?’ The vicar exclaimed. He attempted to cover the parishioner’s eyes with the palm of his hand as he studied the incident with growing shock.

…And curiosity. 

For the next few months, everyone had kept their distance, sniggering and nudging behind Ben’s back. He was beginning to wish he had never come to the village at all. Sally Peters had almost won; struck a mortally vicious blow, and he knew it was her. The postcard had arrived the following week.

It was not until later, that an incident at the local pub brought Ben, and his next-door neighbour, Jonathan, together. Then after, the word had spread like wildfire that Ben was a sound chap – an okay guy with the misfortune to get involved with a city cow. Well, that might have been what was meant when whispered by the village elders through loose dentures…

 

He had been sitting alone at the bar having a pint. The pub was about half full, couples dining and mates imbibing the hops after a hard day. A couple of louts had ordered toad-in-the-hole from the slightly-built, attractive barmaid, and were getting more agitated by each passing minute as they waited for their gastronomic delight. Comments were getting more frequent, louder and more vulgar, the senseless tirade directed towards the poor defenceless girl. A silence started creeping over the place.

‘Where’s that tart? Hey you, it’s about bloody time we got our toad-in-the-hole ain’t it? We’re bloody sick of waiting. Tell that bloody cock-jockey in the kitchen to get his finger out!’

Ben had interjected: ‘Okay, okay pal, wind your neck in, it’s worth waiting for – all cooked from fresh, mate.’ He noticed the heavy tattoos on the back of the man’s hands – his hackles started rising…

Then the tirade: ‘What’s it gorra do with you yer nonce?  You wanna keep yer feckin’ nose out before I spread the fecker across yer face,’ the man snarled as he gesticulated in the air with his fist before converting it to a two-finger salute.

‘You’d better calm down a tad before I get cheffy to put a toad in your hole!’ Ben was riled. 

The clacking of knives and forks on porcelain suddenly dropped deathly quiet. All eating stopped. The barmaid was stunned into silence; Jonathan Stone looked on, backing further away towards the safety of the gent’s urinal… 

The lout exploded from his stool with such force, that it toppled backwards and clattered to the stone floor. He leaped towards Ben’s table and grabbed his coat lapels dragging his face towards him. It was less than a foot away. He belched sulphur, pushed Ben back into his seat and took a swing. It missed. Ben ducked, sprang from his seat and managed to catch the next punch in his palm; the table went over… ‘I think you’re just about to leave, tosser!’ He growled, twisting the man’s wrist behind his back and restraining him in a headlock. The lout’s colleague rose from the table preparing to engage. ‘Yer feckin…’ his words were silenced by Ben, who slammed his right heel backwards into the man’s gonads. He screamed; Ben smirked.   

Bring it on…

The yob went gorilla trying to free himself, as his mate hopped about clutching his crotch. By that time, Chef Gérard had opened the door from the kitchen and was timidly peering through, cleaver in hand. Jonathan Stone’s eyes were on stalks peering around the urinal door. Ben’s shocked audience was frozen silent as they watched him kick the door open and eject the drunkard – a persuasive shiny brogue up his jacksie. The man’s squeal when crashing down on the flagstones outside indicated considerable injury; his arm had remained twisted behind his back on landing. The lout would not return, his legs transporting him at great speed with right arm dangling like a marionette with a snapped string. The other man shot from the establishment as though the first course had been Senna-pod soup!

Ben returned to a round of applause. ‘Floor show over folks…’ He called, briskly sweeping his hands together as though dusting away dirt. He righted the furniture, turned and winked at the barmaid, ‘I hear you’ve an excellent toad-in-the-hole on this evening. I also understand the waiting time is only a couple of minutes or so, would that be correct, sweetheart?’ Ben stood there with a grin. He looked across the room. ‘Neighbour, would you like to join me – my treat?’ He called over to Jonathan, who was still positioned halfway through the door to the gents’. The inoffensive, bashful artist-come-writer, Jonathan Stone, was trapped; he could not refuse. With comforting cleaver in hand, Chef Gérard retreated to the safety of the kitchen to put the final touches to his perfect toad-in-the-hole.  

That was the time villagers started altering their opinion of Ben McVeigh, and understanding it might be prudent to keep on the right side of him. Even Chef Gérard had taken a fancy. And, to her grave misfortune, the pretty stripling of a barmaid, Jessica, was also beginning to like him; like him very much…


 

Chapter 2 

 

The chill of a cold winter evening had persuaded Jonathan to light a fire in Ben McVeigh’s multi-burner to warm the place up – a friendly gesture to a good neighbour he had now grown to know well. A handful of kindling, couple of well-seasoned split logs and good shovel of smokeless cobbles.

Lighter… He patted his pockets. Matches…? He looked along the hearth and saw that Ben had left his lighter next to the scuttle. He lit the tinder and pulled the damper out. Job done…

Ben’s profession of consulting automotive engineer had taken him over to Nottingham, to re-examine the wreckage of a car for Gascoigne, Scargill and Bond, Solicitors. He was to be expected back later in the evening. The solicitors had previously engaged him to carry out a full inspection and supply a written report regarding the damage and possible cause of the accident. It now seemed that the case was going to Crown Court and he needed to be sure of himself.

Jonathan picked up a magazine, flicked through it, and waited for the fire to take hold; racy… he thought. Hogged-up in Hogsthorpe, poor chap, he mused. He was brought suddenly to his senses when he heard the sound of a car pulling into the drive, so quickly tucked it behind the cushion where he had found it… very quickly. Spicy one that…

Jonathan poked the fire, and turned his attention to the surroundings: the main oak ceiling beam hung with an old coach horn, a brass-handled dress sword with ornate handle bearing the letters “VR” and various horse brasses. A large oil painting hung over the fireplace strangely depicting a ferocious looking bull incongruously surrounded by gentle lambs. Each side of the bull-and-lamb painting hung old cap-lock pistols and a flintlock blunderbuss. Jonathan was running his fingers against the cold barrel of the blunderbuss just as the back door opened. Ben, had returned home earlier than had been expected, he caught his neighbour standing there admiring the old gun. It had obviously caught his attention after attending to the stove, or so it had appeared.     

 ‘Hi Ben, you have a good journey, boy?’ Jonathan asked as he casually stroked the wooden stock of the gun.

‘Yeah, not much traffic – well not until I got to the Lynn by-pass anyway. Flaming snarl up with road works; blokes leaning on shovels watching others doing nothing, and a one-armed plod directing traffic round an RTA!’ He replied.

‘I was just admiring your old flintlock blunderbuss…’ He fibbed. A saucy mag that one – I wonder what happened to that other thing… He picked up the poker and proceeded to casually poke the fire.

‘Got the gun from Newark Antique Market last year,’ Ben replied. ‘Reckon it’s an East-India Company gun… possibly an anti-boarding gun. They reckon that by the mid seventeenth century it was the largest and richest private company in the world. They’d over forty five thousand staff and probably a couple of hundred or more ships including warships and private soldiers. All that to bring us curry, my friend… they made a fortune in spices before going into gold, silver, silk and stuff!’ he blabbed on to a not-much-interested Jonathan Stone – his mind was elsewhere. ‘And opium – the black spice of China…’ He sharpened his words attempting to draw his attention. Jonathan closed the stove door, placed the poker to the side and rubbed his hands.

‘China, you say… talking about China, I’ve just had a funny experience with some bone china,’ he mumbled recalling the previous Sunday. Dare I let him know what a plonker I’ve been? 

‘What’s that then, Jonno?’ Ben had picked up his unease.

Jonathan awkwardly started to describe his latest exploit at a Sunday market at Ruston Creek, just a few miles away.

Ben listened intently, ‘speak up – you’re not in the confessional, mate.’

‘Well Ben, reckon I’ve been a bit of a bloody fool really,’ Jonathan grunted, with a nervous stroke of his dark shoulder-length hair. ‘Real wazzock, truth be known.’

Ben grinned broadly, ‘already know that, Jonno, but what’s suddenly convinced you?’ He laughed and reached for a large stoppered flask containing home-brew. He loosened the cap; it fizzed gently. ‘A little drop…?’ Summat’s bothering him to be sure… 

‘…Oh, well, go on then – twist my arm,’ Jonathan replied. He settled down in an armchair. 

‘Here we go, mate,’ Ben reached to the shelf opposite the fireplace, took two pewter tankards and started to fill them. He passed him one, filled to the brim.

Jonathan continued in a matter-of-fact manner. ‘You know that old Crown Derby tea service, the one on my Welsh dresser?  Well it was all wrong; incomplete – could only ever display five cups and saucers – one of the cups got smashed back in gran’s day when Samson, her cat, knocked it off the ruddy shelf!  Forever getting into places it shouldn’t. Could never get on with the thing – forever having to knock it out of the chair when I wanted a sit down, then ended up with heat-bumps all over my ass, well that’s what I thought they were until I found they were ruddy flea-bites…’

He’s blethering, come on Jonno… what’re you trying to tell me?

Jonathan subconsciously scratched his rear. 

‘Bloody cottage, ended up infested…’

‘Not using that stuff you put on the back of their necks that’s your trouble… gets rid of worms and all.’ Ben made a point of staring at Jonathan’s backside where he had scratched it.

‘Watch it Ben,’ he chortled.

‘Jonno – get on with it – fess up – what’ve you gone and done?’

‘Getting back to China, Jackie spotted a cup and saucer on the market; really good nick – exact pattern, and I thought we’d struck lucky. The trader offered a reasonable deal, and really chuffed, I brought it home. But, when we got back, I found we’d been turned over. Nothin’ of much value mind you, just gran’s old China. Reckon it must’ve been earlier that morning. I’d left a window open a bit – just to clear the condensation and air the place – the dresser’s just opposite the window as you know.’ 

‘…Down to solo tea parties then, mate, eh!’

‘Look you here, boy, things seemed to sort themselves out – well in a fashion, anyways. This ale’s a bit strong, Ben…’ Christ…more like barley friggin wine...

Ben kept topping Jonathan’s tankard up. He did not like the idea of burglars in Hogsthorpe – he thought he had left that well behind in Nottingham. ‘You say that things were sorted “in a fashion”… what do you mean by that?’

‘Yeah, eventually sorted in a way that benefits me, Ben, well I reckon so, anyway,’ Jonathan muttered. 

‘How’s that…?’ He doesn’t seem so sure…

‘Well it went like this. Goes to the Ruston Creek market again early last Sunday whilst Jackie did breakfast, and there was another Derby cup and saucer on the same stall. Dealer told me she’d three more besides if I wanted ’em, making four in all.’

‘So you managed to make the set up to five again then, Jonno. No better off – still one short, then.’

‘Yes and no! That’s when the whole ruddy thing started to stink a bit. Well, rather a lot really. I began to realise we’d more than likely bought our own cup and saucer the week before. What’s more, a small mark in the bottom of one of the cups confirmed it. You see, whoever the burglar was, must’ve pinched the friggin gear and whipped it straight round to the market, getting rid before anyone wised up the stuff was nicked!’

‘God’s strewth, what did you do about that then? I hope you grassed her up.’

‘I didn’t have the heart.’

‘What are yer like, Jonno – you big softy…’ 

‘No harm done anyway,’ he replied. ‘In the end I got all my money and the stuff back, and more besides. The trader said she’d bought it in good faith half an hour earlier from a young woman. One she described as being spotty and wearing a baseball cap.’

‘Could’ve guessed – a bloody baseball cap, tatts and chewing gum, I’ll bet. But what do you mean by “more besides”?’ 

‘Well it was like this – the stall holder was in tears; dead upset – begged and pleaded with me not to report it. She promised to give me a fancy dagger – a nice old antique jobby I’d been looking at; said it was compensation.’ 

‘And?’ questioned Ben. 

‘Well I took her up on it, but then started to wonder if the dagger was nicked as well!’ 

Ben made a tutting noise. ‘You walked right into that one… get it back to her sharpish; handle first if you know what I mean. If you don’t, you could feel the sharp-end of the law and get done for receiving, Jonno… qui facit per alium facit per se!’ 

‘…Per what?  What’s all that crap about, Ben?’

‘A principle in law, m’duck; it means that somebody who acts through others acts through himself and in the case of a thief, is just as guilty – or more so. Just think about it, if there wasn’t anybody receiving nicked goods then the thief wouldn’t have a bloody job!’ Ben shook his head and threw an unsettling glance at Jonathan.

‘So you reckon I’d best get it back to her then?’

‘…As I said, sharpish, my friend…’            

‘Well, seeing its Sunday tomorrow, I’d better pop down the market, have a word – see what’s going off, boy. Fancy tagging along, Ben? I could do with a bit of moral support and all that; perhaps nip for a pint or so after if you feel like it.’

‘It’d be a bit of a change I suppose, get me out of the cottage wouldn’t it now,’ Ben replied, uncertain what he was letting himself in for.

‘Reckon it’d be best nipping over in my Land Rover, it’ll save shunting motors about first thing in the morning – just park your motor so I can get mine out in the morning, boy,’ Jonathan continued in his soft Norfolk drawl.

‘Yeah, sensible… they’ve forecast rain – the field could be a quagmire.’ Ben thought it was indeed a good idea to go in Jonathan’s four-by-four. His own ride was a rebuilt Austin Healey 3,000 – a brawny thoroughbred packing plenty of grunt, but very low slung.  

With that, Jonathan, drained his tankard and made his apologies for leaving. ‘Must skidaggle, Jackie’ll wonder where I’ve got to, and if we’re booting tomorrow…’

‘Okay mate, nine o’ clock sharp then, cheers for now…’

‘Oh, and by the way, you’re getting a bit short on smokeless cobbles,’ Jonathan advised as he was going through the door.

‘Tar, Jonno, I’ll order some first thing Monday – good night, and see you first thing tomorrow.’

He stumbled round to April Cottage, hazarding trailing brambles, to find the rickety interconnecting gate. The heavy curtains to Spring Cottage prevented any illumination to the back yard, and apart from masses of silvery pinpricks above, it was as black as the inside of a sweep’s wallet. Ben was just thinking how early it had got dark since putting the clocks back earlier in the month, when he heard muffled cursing, followed by breaking twigs. He laughed and realised what had happened. The words, ‘blessed cat’ were the clue.

On arriving home earlier, Ben, had observed Sir Wilfred strutting around the gardens swanking his huge racoon-like tail to any local feline interested in combat or bawling contest. He quietly lifted the latch and allowed the animal in, opened a tin of tuna, which was most gratefully received, and poured a single-malt nightcap. Ben stood warming in front of the wood-burning stove, deep in contemplation. A fancy ancient dagger, on a ramshackle market… what’s that all about, I wonder…? Best he gets rid.

 

Chapter 3

 

 

 

 Elliott Judd was a strange character, both in looks and actions. He was a loner, preferring to keep his own counsel. Anyway, he did not need anyone else and considered he never really did. He was born in Norwich in the late eighties, after his mother fled from North Halsham, three months pregnant, not daring to tell. Without lease or rent book, she had squatted in a disused office above a dry cleaning and laundrette business and was only known by her first name, May. No one knew her surname. May would help out in the laundrette on a casual basis, cash-in-hand, when the Iranian proprietor had to go out on his very frequent “business trips”. He had considered her a good front, having a local accent and being good at keeping herself to herself. That was until the natural course of events resulted in a patron of the laundrette ringing the emergency services for assistance when May went into labour. She had collapsed on the floor, and being on her own, had instructed the ambulance crew to lock the shop and post the keys through the letter box, thinking she was lucky that the one remaining customer of the day had just finished his laundry.

May had been trapped in her lonely tenure less flat, hoping that one day she would return to North Halsham, to her kith and kin, apparently the same young girl who had left to do her own thing. She would have the child adopted into a good Christian family, she thought, and in the meantime keep in touch with her lover and her own family by weekly letters, which after a while dwindled to monthly, eventually petering out as depression set in. 

Looking out of her bedsit window, she would see and hear the banter of revellers entering the Cross Keys pub across the road; hear them being merry and making fun. Others would just hang around outside the main door, indulging their ciggy addiction, glass in hand saving their drink from being nicked or spiked in their absence. She would observe the movement of young lovers walking arm-in-arm, older folk drawn by habit, men with pool cues and then eventually she would see the lights go out, as the publican closed and locked up. She would observe all this whilst subconsciously rubbing the small silver trinket on the chain around her neck. It was ornate, embellished with swirling circular designs and had been given to her by her lover, who had promised to replace it with a ring. But of course, by now, his letters were just a memory.   

Next door to the Cross Keys stood a stone built pseudo-gothic styled building which had originally been a bank. This had been taken over by a company called May, Judd & Matheson, Solicitors and Commissioners for Oaths. Clients entering those premises usually had a completely different look on their faces to those of the pub: timid expectation, sorrowful distress, or plain indifference, and when leaving: anger, condemnation, or disgust. May had often wondered if this had been due to their actual circumstance, or whether the fee had been disproportionate to the outcome. She thought possibly there had been no outcome at all, apart from a hefty bill. Nevertheless it had comforted her a little, thinking that her Christian name, and by God she was a Christian, was there on the opposite side of the road emblazoned in gold copperplate script. It directly faced her window, “May”, it declared! “…May, Judd & Matheson!” This gave her strength and fortitude, a sign from God. May, you are not going to have an abortion, it would be murder!    

 On May’s admission to hospital, and her wish to preserve anonymity, she gave her name as May Judd, considering it a sign from the Almighty. She passed away shortly after a complicated delivery exacerbated by the total lack of pre-natal care, medical history and undiagnosed preeclampsia. The only thing of value she had left behind for her new-born was the small silver trinket – a gift from the child’s father who by now was history. The surgeon overseeing the birth, and saving Judd’s life (but losing his mother’s) was called Doctor Jane Elliott. So the staff called the child Elliott, this being duly registered as Judd’s first name. Like all names, the bearer has no choice in the matter and is reliant on those who go before to bestow upon them something sensible.

It could have been worse, Judd had thought, when told of his origins. It could have been Jane… ha, ha, Jane… what a fucking thought! But who the fuck am I really…? I must be somebody. Fact is… nobody, can be nobody…

 

Elliott Judd was fostered to a family named Pratt, and he certainly did not want to be known as that. He would remain Judd. The Pratt’s were a large family, made up of adopted and fostered youngsters all older than him. Mrs Pratt was the wrong side of forty when she had accepted Elliott, for what was supposed to be a short term arrangement, until he could be adopted. She had taken him in at fourteen days of age, but he was soon conveniently forgotten by the authorities. He became a mere name in a miss-mash forest of paperwork, and eventually, a fading ghost number drifting somewhere in the digital ether. 

Frances Pratt loved children but could not have any of her own. She therefore pandered to her feelings by filling her house to the gunnels with little souls, whether well-behaved or otherwise. She found it impossible to turn any homeless youngster away. However, the overcrowded conditions meant little time could be individually afforded to each child. Elliott, in his early teens, had likened Mrs Pratt’s situation to a case he had seen on the television, where the RSPCA and police had raided some old biddie’s house overrun with dogs. Although there had been genuine love, and good principled intentions, the place had ended up a shithole and the animals starving.

Mr Pratt had more important things to do, and conveniently kept out of the way being “very busy”. He was absolutely not a father figure, but a completely different bottle of crabs. Many folk have a huge territorial range – some the whole globe: London, Paris, New York. Not so Henry Pratt, not even Bognor or Blackpool. After losing his driving license for the second time, his range had shrunk to about three hundred yards or so – to the Duke’s Head and back, walking or staggering depending on the direction. He thought himself a cool dude, but had not worn specs when looking in the mirror: Crumpled heavy-metal T-shirt augmented by silver medallions on long chains around his neck. Unkempt hair and straggly beard; a real he-man he thought – well it was cheaper than buying razorblades, all the more money to spend on ale. And, anyway, water happens to be exceedingly wet and uncomfortable. Altogether, his appearance was similar to something that had crawled from a Glastonbury hedge-bottom a couple of weeks after the event.

Henry Pratt considered his luck had changed for the better when his mother passed over leaving him a small cottage which he immediately converted to cash. No doing-it-up to achieve full potential; just instant liquidation. This allowed him the wherewithal to buy each member of the Pratt household a present at Christmas. Elliott was a young lad of nine years, so he deemed a colouring book and crayons would be a kind and fitting gesture. All for a princely sum of £1.95; crap quality for that sort of money, he thought. He bought his dear wife Frances, a hair drier from a pub yard sale, commanding her to sharpen herself up a bit. The remainder of his windfall was gratefully digested and splashed up the Adamant glazed pot urinal of the Duke’s Head.

He was a good ten years older than his wife and did not love children but loved himself, along with copious amounts of ale; ‘enough to float the Titanic,’ the local landlord had remarked when out of earshot. Henry Pratt, found that the monetary benefits of fostering and adoption, allowed him to indulge his passion quite admirably, as his windfall rapidly shrank. From his favourite stool at the bar, he would give his piss-soaked judgments to anyone who would listen, or continually scowl at the occupant who had the rare opportunity to find the seat vacant. His demise came at the early age of fifty eight, when his place at the bar was taken by a younger candidate for the after-hours lock in. Henry Pratt had been confident that the Landlord loved and admired him because he had always laughed at his jokes, listened to his wisdom, and… taken his money.

Mrs Frances Pratt decided she had better attend the funeral. Then, after the despatch of Mr Henry Pratt from this world, and with the waifs and strays off-hand apart from Elliott, Mrs Frances Pratt, or Nan, as she was affectionately known to her adopted brood, moved to the east coast of North Norfolk. Elliott Judd tagged along.

 

Elliott Judd definitely was strange. He had tried his chance at about everything from garage hand to window cleaning, but nothing really suited apart from bar work. A nice warm and dry inside job; excellent. Inside job in more ways than one… ha! He thought. He found he could slip the odd tip into his pocket, and drink his many mistakes. The only down side was, he did not hold onto the job long at any one particular pub, and nowadays pubs were closing and making way for wine bars and restaurants by the minute. Wine bars? Elliott didn’t know the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon and a cabinet maker’s shellac – but what he did know was the need for spare cash, so he decided that his future endeavours would be aimed precisely at… anything to keep the wolves from the door!

Judd was thick-set, round faced, and strangely devoid of any hair. Even his eyebrows and lashes framing his steel grey eyes were missing. Judd could not understand why this was; whether it was due to a hormonal disorder or some sort of alopecia he had not a clue. He believed his doctor to be positively hostile. The only time he had consulted him with regard to his condition, began with: ‘do you smoke – how many? Do you drink – how much? You’re a little over-weight – you’re possibly at risk of diabetes – what’s your diet like?  Does anything like this run in the family?’

What family? What fucking family? Him and every fucker else are okay. Family this – family that – family home, dog-and-cat! Why does my head keep buzzing with that filthy fuckin’ name…? BASTARD!

Who am I…? What am I…?

Judd’s mind ran berserk. In his view, it was the quack who was the bastard, and any minute now, he was going to ask if his dog had mange. Judd firmly made up his mind to give up on medical advice, resolving to wear baseball caps, ones with exceptionally large peaks, pulling them well down over the upper part of his face. A cap comforted him, not only keeping his naked head warm, but snug in the fact that no one could see his facethe face of the misfit underneath.  

Regrettably, the baseball cap did nothing to hide a most hideous scar on his upper lip, which, owing to his misfortunate condition, could not be veiled by a moustache. The scar, together with the missing tooth, was the consequence of him losing balance when the lavatory chain he was pulling came apart. He had been rat-arsed drunk, relying too much on the rusty chain for support, when it parted company with the cistern lever. It resulted in his front teeth and upper lip smacking heavily on the encrusted porcelain of a public house toilet bowl. He may have fared better had he closed the lid before pulling the chain, like his Nan had continually demanded, or indeed if he had used the stand-up urinal for a piss like anyone else, but Elliott Judd was a very private individual. Very private indeed… 

I don’t like the fuckers looking at me – what does Nan know anyway? She’s a prat – ha, ha, with a capitol P!

Elliott Judd’s pudgy, snow-white and hairless forearms bore fuzzy blue-black tattoos of the self-inflicted kind. There was nothing of the Picasso about them. Most landlords demanded he covered up with long-sleeved shirts when at work, and made him wear a first-aid plaster on the back of his right hand to hide a particularly offensive, crude doodle. There had been no need for this with his new dodge. Fingerless gloves were just the thing for a temporary market tallyman…


 

 

 

THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR

 

 

Who were they?

They were “The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon” more commonly known as “The Knights Templar”.

This religious order of Monkish Knights was set up by Hugh de Payens with permission from King Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, to protect pilgrims travelling through Outremer (the Crusader states) to the temple mount in Jerusalem. This had been the location of King Solomon’s Temple, considered to be “The Holy of Holies” by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. The Knightly Order started in the early 12th century around 1120AD and initially consisted of eight Knights who had sworn an oath to fight to the death to protect Christians on pilgrimage. Whilst billeted at the mount, it is believed they conducted excavations and recovered treasures from the site of the old temple including the Holy Grail, the Menorah seven-branch candelabra of solid gold and the Ark of the Covenant. It is a fact they were brilliant miners, stone-masons and craftsmen, not only teaching the members of their fraternity techniques of combat, but also skills of trade and commerce.

 

They became rich…

They were considered to be working for Christ and thus were allowed to carry large amounts of money over vast distances free of taxation. They attracted membership from the nobility who gave up their wealth to the Order when joining the growing brotherhood. At a cost, pilgrims and travellers could deposit money in one location, carry a coded promissory note and cash it in at their destination. As a consequence, the order became the richest organisation in the world and in effect the world’s first bankers. Their wealth however, had not gone unnoticed.

 

Friday the 13th, unlucky for some… Lost Treasure & Murder!

King Philip IV of France, known as Philip the Fair borrowed heavily from them and on Friday the 13th of October 1307, had the Knights simultaneously arrested on false charges of heresy, spitting on the cross and sodomy. He was after negating his debt. When greedy Phil went to seize the Templar’s treasure it had gone, money relics and all! The Templar Fleet had departed from La Rochelle the previous evening, believed to be headed by the flagship Templo Del Halcón – a Spanish vessel under the command of Sir Gerard de Villiers. It is said the ships did not fly the normal Templar ensign of black and white chequers, or a cross on their sails as was the usual custom. They feared being recognised, so instead, raised the skull-and-crossbones to identify each other.

 

The curse…

Although it has been recently stated that the Vatican had exonerated the Brotherhood [Vatican Secret Archives – “Processus Contra Templario” – 4th Oct 2007] King Philip continued to keep the senior members incarcerated at Chateau de Gisors until 1314 when he burned them at the stake. He was obviously torturing them for the whereabouts of both their assets and the Templars who had escaped. Sir Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master issued a curse whilst burning to death. He said that King Philip and Pope Clement V would answer to God in heaven before a year and a day was out. And they most certainly did!

 

Disbanded, or were they…?

The “Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon” was formally disbanded by Papal Bull in 1312. They were banned throughout Christendom and their lands taken and given to the Knights Hospitaller. One place they were NOT outlawed however – was Scotland…

 

Necessity for secrecy…

It was necessary for the Knights Templar to use secret codes for security. This allowed promissory notes issued by them to be authenticated, just like cheques and credit-cards are today, for after all, they were bankers. Meetings were also conducted in secret due to the sensitive nature of dealing in money and their engagements in military action. Apart from that, the Knights were not secretive about their membership of the organisation, but were proud “peacocks” to the point of indicating the fact by wearing a huge red cross emblazoned on their mantle. Friday the 13th of October 1307 changed all that. The organisation became an underground movement, many disappearing to Scotland where the order was not banned. In other parts of Europe the Order was very secretive and became the foundation of Freemasonry. Meetings were mostly conducted in secret with no written minutes, the participants relying solely on memorising ritual, secret passwords and handshakes. These rituals are known as the “Scottish Rites” and have been practiced through to the present day.

 

Nowadays, masons meet in secret to organise charitable work – it is a global none-profit organisation and has collected millions for good causes.

 

THE THIRD CRUSADE & the Lionheart’s Adversary…

 

Saladin…

We know him as Sultan Saladin; his full name was Sala Ad-din Yusuf Ibn Ayyb. He was the leader of the Islamic forces that had seized Jerusalem in 1187 to the dismay of Pope Gregory VIII. The Pope then ordered the 3rd Crusade which began in 1189. The militaries of King Richard Coeur de Lion of England, King Philip II of France, together with Emperor Barbarossa of Germany, joined forces with the Knights Templar and the Pope’s forces to form a large Christian army. In 1190, Barbarossa, an old man of around seventy years, drowned whilst trying to cross a river in Asia Minor. He was on his way to the Crusade and his troops, seeing this as a bad omen, lost motivation and returned home. Duke Leopold V also took his army, but was ridiculed due to his high consumption of alcohol and left Outremer (Holy Lands) in 1191. It appears the Lionheart was the main instigator. 

King Philip of France also returned home taking most of his men, but the Lionheart fought on, and so creating quite an impression on Saladin after taking Acre and Jaffa. The unbearable heat and arduous conditions took their toll. King Richard and the majority of his forces became weak too and ill to fight. Almost at the point of taking Jerusalem they abandoned the final push appealing to Saladin for water. Saladin could not refuse as his religion swore him to help the needy. Richard and Saladin made a truce, with Christians again being allowed safe passage of pilgrimage to Jerusalem on the proviso they were unarmed.  

 

King Richard’s Captor

The Kidnapper, Duke Leopold of Austria…

Robert de Sablé, at the time, the Grand Master of the Templars, assisted Richard Coeur de Lion to travel incognito back to England disguised as a Knights Templar but unfortunately Richard was captured by who was now his arch enemy Duke Leopold V of Austria. Richard and his men had previously goaded the Duke and referred to him as “the sponge”. This was a reference to his portly shape and ability to soak-up wine; he was continually drunk! Richard was eventually released after payment of a massive ransom, something like 150,000 marks. It virtually bankrupted England; the populace being severely taxed to collect what was a colossal sum at the time. Richard the Lionheart eventually arrived back home in 1194 leaving dear Leopold to his grog!

 

Threat of Excommunication…

The Pope threatened to excommunicate Duke Leopold for imprisoning Richard, a Crusader whom in effect had been working for the Catholic Church to recover the Holy Lands. For absolution, Leopold promised to give the money back, but England has never received a penny from Austria to this day!

 

 

Ode to the Templars

  

Take up the sword with Coeur de Lion,

Rosy robe and axe of iron;

There’s Holy work that must be done –

So blow the horn, beat the drum,

And rout the foe from God’s Kingdom.

 

Those noble knights with every breath –

On oath do battle to the death,

In hostile lands so strange and far,

Ye ever valiant Knights Templar;

Ye Knights Templar chevalier.

 

Take up the sword with Coeur de Lion!

Rosy robe and axe of iron;

There’s Holy work that must be done –

So blow the horn, beat the drum,

And take us to Jerusalem! 

 Martin R Jackson 2017

"Believe Me!" The  Lost Treasure of the Templars... What it's all about...

When Ben McVeigh moves to Norfolk to escape the high maintenance memory of Sally Peters he has little idea that the silence of the place will soon be broken in a most unexpected way.

He is contacted by the legal department of a large multinational energy company, “Genélan” with a request to recover a badly damaged Mercedes from an old barn in a village about ten miles or so away from his home. Ben is tasked with examining the car and supplying an engineer’s report with secrecy being the order of the day.

 

But soon the mystery of the crashed Merc will include the discovery of an old chart and a silver box and the way will be open for Ben McVeigh to embark on an investigation involving sunken islands, the Knights Templar, missing treasure and foreign agents, not to mention the discovery of a new soulmate.  

"Believe Me!" The Lost Treasure of the Templars...

"Soyez Firm": my family (Foljambe) motto...

Ben McVeigh embarks on a dangerous mission to find the Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar. He finds an ancient chart in a crashed Mercedes and is pursued by the "Satan's Soldiers" biker gang, not to mention a dangerous Russian agent.

 

1. Friday 13th of October 1307, the treasure disappears.

2. Around 1350 an island off the east coast of England is inundated by the sea and artefacts, including the remains of a Knight are quickly removed to safety.

3. A monk wrote that "the island provoked the vengeance of God upon itself" - The island of Ravenser Odd, off the east coast of England, was known for piracy!

4. The Templars flew the skull-and-crossbones to recognise each other!

5. Did the Fitz Marmaduke family leave clues to the whereabouts of the treasure? It did NOT end up buried on Oak Island...

 

A must-read for devotees of allegory, symbols, and mystique... 

 

     Extracts from Prologue... 

"Before finally deciding to move to Norfolk he had been in a steady relationship. She almost became a fixture, his fiancée, but as things worked out, a most embarrassing incident finally put paid to that; embarrassing in one respect, but in reality most fortunate for Ben. It had been a lucky escape from a life hanging on the frail tenterhooks of infidelity. "

 

"He would fantasise about Sally, and the times when they had laid together consumed by animal impulse – the nitty-gritty requirement of existence itself.

The essential but uncontrollable urge of the beastie!"

 

Chapter 14...

“‘So tell me, how can a failsafe-system be rigged?’

‘Err well – it was to do with the hydraulics. Definitely tampered with,’ Ben said removing a hand from his pocket and nervously scratching the crown of his head.

‘Can you be sure of that, Ben?’ Jonathan’s puzzled look was turning to one of shock.

‘Definitely…’

 

Plunging his hand back in his trouser pocket he grasped his lucky coin again. ‘In its designed state, yes of course it’s failsafe. But I’ve looked at the photos closely – over and over again, and I keep coming to the same conclusion, Jonno. Remember? I took pictures of the contents of the glovebox and that old silver box stuffed behind the dash…”

 

 

Believe Me! The Lost Treasure of the Templars. 

Published by:

Austin Macauley Publishers, 25, Canada Square, Canary Wharf, LONDON.

Copyright: Martin R Jackson

ISBN 9781786931450 (paperback)

ISBN 9781786931467 (hardback)

ISBN 9781786931474 (ebook)

 

Copywrite: Martin R Jackson 2017.

Contract offer for film/television available.

"The Blade" Ben McVeigh & the Templar Poignard...

Fast moving murder mystery 347 pages

Ben McVeigh moves to Norfolk to escape the greedy tentacles of femme-fatale Sally Peters. At first, his neighbours thought him to be some sort of degenerate townie of low morals... Sally had found his new address!  

 

Ben and his neighbour Jonno become fugitives from the law, chased by Inspector Stefan Robert Thornhill, known as "Bostik Bobby" - He knows he can make the charges stick no matter what, but why does he have to?

 

1. Did the dagger found on a car boot sale change the course of history? 

2. What did the blade have to do with Saladin?

3.  Why were they being chased by the Mukhabarat, a Middle-Eastern military secret service?

4. Who murdered the beautiful girl found in Ben McVeigh's coal bunker?

 

 

 

Extract Chapter 26...

"‘Secondly: Quis ut Deus which translates to, “Who is like God”. This inscription is adjacent to the black eye; the left eye; sinister, – represented by the black diamond! This Latin phrase is depicted on Archangel Michael’s battle shield. Archangel Michael, the leader of the angels who defeated the dragon; yes the devil himself – and his fallen angels! The devil is often depicted as a serpent…’"

The narrative involves car and boat chases, Templar rituals and Crusader history. A "must-read" for devotees of allegory, symbols, and mystique... 

 

"The Blade" Ben McVeigh & the Templar Poignard.

First published by Lulu bookpublishing, USA. Now available from Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

Copyright: Martin R Jackson 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4834-7393-2 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-7392-5 (e)

 

"The Watcher" ... in the process of being written - copyright MRJ