The Swan-Bone Flute
The Swan-Bone Flute is an upcoming historical novel. It weaves together themes: women’s empowerment, care for nature and our beautiful earth; and uses storytelling to explore the ancient roots of our oppression.
In Wellstowe, an Anglo-Saxon settlement where forest meets fen, trouble is brewing. Ursel, the headman’s strong-willed niece, defies her uncle to save a pregnant red deer hind from the hunt. She understands, but can’t explain, that all lives are woven together. If they devastate the wild, the people will perish too – and women will bear the brunt. He sees a disobedient girl who threatens his ambition, and beats her with the blunt end of his spear.
Into this storm strolls Hilda, the travelling storyteller – playing her swan-bone flute. She has a plan to wake up the women before thane and headman steal their rights. Her humour and passion inspire Meg, who yearns to become a storyteller too – but how can she, a slave-girl, dare to stand up before them all? She’s shaken when the Thane targets her with his vengeful lust.
Hilda’s tales reveal an ancient world where women rule in Peony Valley: until fighters trample it and only the wise woman holds power to resist. Hilda despairs of the Wellstowe women when they turn on each other instead of standing up against oppression. Her stories begin to transform each of them. If she can help them work together, they may have a chance to bring back their traditions of respect for women, community and mother earth.
Headman’s wife Oswynne must decide whether to risk losing everything to support Elder Edith against the Thane. Seren the healer can raise magic mist – but will it stop the Thane taking over their Moot?
The Swan-Bone Flute is in process of finalisation. It is the first book of a trilogy: look out for The Antler Mask and The Dolphin-Rib Harp!