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“This is a great new take on Arthurian story telling.”

King Arthur is destined to return and Tom is destined to wake him.

When the Lady of the Lake summons Tom to the Other, she tells him he has to wake King Arthur from his long sleep on Avalon.

Tom starts a journey that will change his life forever.

Audiobook also available.

Tom finds a world where magic still exists, and mythical creatures walk among fey. He also finds that the legends he thought were myth are very real.

And so are ancient enemies.

 If he’s to survive, he must learn to fight, and find courage he never knew he had.

He’s about to become part of a legend.

If you love magic, mystery, and Arthurian legend, you’ll love Tom’s Inheritance.

Buy now for your next fantasy adventure.

Excerpt –

1  The Visitors

A flicker of movement in the wood caught Tom’s attention. Normally he would take no notice; people often walked in the wood. But this time something was different. The dark shapes flitting around the trees seemed to be hiding, and for the briefest of seconds he saw a tall figure stepping back between the trees before it vanished.

He stood in his grandfather’s kitchen, looking through the broad window that framed the garden, down to the wood beyond. What if this strange activity in the wood was to do with Granddad?

More than a year ago, when Tom was fourteen, his grandfather, Jack, had mysteriously disappeared. He’d walked out of his house one evening and never came back. There was no sign of a struggle, only a note left for the family, explaining that he was going on trip with a new friend and that he would send a “sign” that he was all right.

Impatient after months of waiting, Tom grabbed his jacket and headed into the garden. He jogged down the path, through the gate and across the stream, cursing under his breath as he plunged into an icy pool. He thrust onwards, pushing aside the overhanging branches of a yew before pausing to look around.

The wood was still and silent. Tom edged forward, peering behind tree trunks and up into the bare branches high overhead. A prickle of unease travelled up his spine and he spun around, convinced he was being watched. Frustrated, he yelled, “Who’s there? I know someone’s there. I saw you!”

The wood remained silent, frozen in watchfulness, and he stepped back nervously, a branch cracking loudly beneath his feet like a gunshot.

Swallowing his fear he shouted again. “I know you can hear me! Come out!”

His prickle of unease grew stronger, and feeling suddenly alone and defenceless, he became sharply aware of the biting cold and his freezing feet. Time to go. Unwilling to turn his back on whatever was out there, he walked slowly backwards, scanning left and right until he reached the stream.

Someone or something was out there; he knew it, but there was nothing more he could do. Reluctantly, he returned to the cottage.

The heating was turned up high, but the kitchen still felt cold. Tom sank into the comfortable overstuffed armchair next to the big stone fireplace and pulled off his boots and socks, placing them on the hearth. He lit the fire, and as the flames caught and raced along the wood, he stood warming himself, absentmindedly running his hands through his dark blond hair. Although the prickle along his spine had gone, the after-effects remained and he felt strangely unsettled, as if his privacy had been invaded.

Tom glanced around the kitchen, reassuring himself with its solid familiarity. A few months ago, he and his father had moved into the cottage, which had stood empty since Granddad’s disappearance. A terrible fight between his parents had prompted the move. Dad had walked out, saying he was going to “look after” the cottage. Tom had come with him, while his little sister had stayed with Mum. But the house felt different without Granddad in it, and Tom missed him. Dad was distracted and working long hours, and every now and again there were more arguments between his parents over the phone.

Tom’s gaze drifted to one end of the mantelpiece, to a blue stripy bowl filled with old keys, nails and screws. Beneath it was Granddad’s last letter. He picked it up and read it again, musing that he had never known Granddad go on a trip – he’d always been here at the cottage, tending his garden and smoking his pipe. But Dad said he used to travel a lot when he was younger. Maybe he’d got bored and wanted a change.

As he stood reading and warming his feet, he heard the front door open and a voice called out, “Hiya, it’s me. Where are you?”

“I’m in the kitchen.”

The door pushed open and a small slim girl came in, strawberry blond hair swinging behind her. It was his fourteen-year-old cousin, Rebecca, also known as Beansprout on account of her lean and lanky frame. “What you up to?”

“Not much, just looking at Granddad’s letter again. What you up to?”

She rolled her eyes. “Mum’s driving me mad, fussing about food and stuff for Christmas. I’m heading to the shop to pick up some extras and thought I’d drop in.” She noticed his wet boots. “Where have you been?”

He paused, wondering how much to say, then grinned. “Hunting!”

She frowned, “Hunting what?”

“Watchers in the woods.”

“Have you gone mad? What are you on about?” She moved to the window and looked out. “There’s no-one there.”

He joined her, still carrying his granddad’s letter. “But there was. Someone was over there, watching this house.”

She noticed the letter in Tom’s hand. “Why are you reading Granddad’s letter again? Do you know where he’s gone?”

Tom sighed. “No, I’ve told you before. I have no idea.”

“So why are you looking at his letter again?”

“Because I think that whoever’s watching, knows something about Granddad.”

“That seems a bit of a leap Tom!” she said, looking doubtful. “Did you find anyone?”

“No.” He gazed out of the window, desperately hoping he’d see something again. “But I swear someone was there, watching me. I could feel it.”

Suddenly excited she said, “Let’s go again. Two of us may have more luck.”

Tom shook his head. “What’s the point? What would we say? ‘Have you kidnapped my granddad?’ They’d laugh at us.”

“But if we find them, we can follow them and see where they go.”

“Now who’s being mad? We’d be spotted!”

She grabbed the letter off him, “Maybe they’re here to leave the sign!”

Beansprout’s excitement was catching and he grinned. “Maybe. We might solve the mystery!”

Beansprout leaned against the counter and looked around the kitchen. “It’s weird, isn’t it? Why would he just leave and not tell us where he was going?”

“OK,” he said, “it’s too late today, but we’ll go out there again tomorrow and have another look. We’ll go a bit further, maybe up to the folly, see if we can see anything. If you want to come?”

“Of course I want to come. Anything to get out of Christmas prep,” she said with a huff. “I’ll bring food too. What time?”

“About nine?” Tom thought the earlier they went, the more time they’d have. Dad would be at work, so no one would worry about where they were.

“Great, I’ll be here. Anyway I better get on. Need anything?”

“Nah, I’m good,” he said, with a shrug. “See you tomorrow. And don’t be late.”

2  A Sign

The next morning was bright and clear, and Tom woke early, jolting out of an unsatisfactory night’s sleep. Ever since Granddad had disappeared he’d been having strange dreams about a woman with long white hair. She whispered his name to him. “Tom,” she called, “it is time.” But she never said anything else, and when he tried to answer she would fade away and the dream would evaporate.

Sometimes other images would come. He would see water, and the glint of something shining deep down beneath the shifting waves where he couldn’t see it clearly. Sometimes he saw a bright blaze of firelight, and heard a low murmured chanting that became louder and louder until it roared in his ears before receding like a tide. And sometimes when he woke up, it felt like someone had punched him on the birthmark at the top of his arm.

Shrugging off the dreams which he had long since decided to ignore, he lay in bed, looking forward to the day that stretched before him, wondering what it might hold. He had no idea what he might find, or even what to look for, but it would be good to have company. He’d already packed his backpack with spare socks, a jumper and bottles of water, and the sandwiches he’d made the night before were in the fridge.

He jumped out of bed and went to look at an old map on the bedroom wall. It showed the surrounding land as it had been over a hundred years ago. The cottages along the stream, including Granddad’s, were marked, but the fields and farmland behind them were now covered in houses. The large woods across the narrow stream remained unchanged and were still surrounded by fields, and just visible at the top edge of the map was the small village of Downtree, also virtually unchanged since the map had been made.

Marked on the map, in the centre of the wood, was the strange, tumbledown stone tower that he and Beansprout would walk to today. Mishap Folly had been built more than a hundred years ago by the owner of the manor house. It was so-called because of the series of unfortunate events that had overtaken the owner: the manor had been damaged by fire, crops had failed, and the owner’s son had died after been thrown from a horse. Then the owner himself had disappeared and was never seen again.

The tower had stood empty over the years, beginning to crumble as the woods encroached on all sides.

Tom estimated it would take an hour or so to walk there. It was probably unlikely that Granddad had passed that way, but it had always annoyed Tom that so far, no one had checked it out.

He dragged on his jeans, pulled on a T-shirt and jumper, and ran down the stairs. After putting some bread in the toaster he opened the back door and took a deep breath as the cold crisp air came flooding in. As he stepped outside he noticed an odd-shaped package on the doorstep. How had that got there?

He grabbed the parcel as if it might suddenly disappear, and turned back into the kitchen to examine it. The outer wrapping was a lightweight piece of bark, and as he lifted the edges a gauzy material shimmered beneath it. He unfolded it to find his grandfather’s watch and a note. Tom gasped. Who had brought this?

Behind him the toaster popped loudly and in shock he dropped everything onto the table. Cross with himself for being so jumpy, he frowned at the toaster as he pulled the note from under the watch. It was Granddad’s writing.

Sorry for the delay, but I’ve been very busy!

I’ve sent you my watch as it doesn’t really work here, but I wanted you to know that I’m all right.

I probably won’t be coming home so I hope someone’s looking after the house and garden.

I miss you all, but I know you’ll be fine.

Don’t try to find me!

Love, Granddad xxx

Tom felt hugely relieved to know Granddad was fine. And then he felt really cross. What did he mean, “Don’t try to find me”? How ridiculous. Where on Earth was he?

The letter was written on thick parchment-like paper. He wondered if there was some sort of secret message in it, but after reading the note several times, was sure there wasn’t.

He kicked the table in frustration and buttered his now cold toast. Beansprout had better be on time. Whoever had delivered the note might still be around, and Tom intended to find them.

Beansprout was as mystified as Tom. She propped her bulging backpack against the table and examined the package while Tom finished his breakfast.

“Who brings a watch wrapped in bark, Tom? That’s just odd. Perhaps he’s run out of money and is living off the land, like Robinson Crusoe?”

“And his Man Friday has brought us a present? I doubt it. Besides, he said he doesn’t need his watch where he is, so he must be somewhere else!”

“Where else? That doesn’t make sense either.”

None of this makes sense Beansprout!”

Beansprout glared at him, but changed the subject. “So are we going to leave your dad a message?”

“What did you tell your mum?”

“Just that we’re going out for the day and I’d see her this evening.”

“Cool, I’ll do the same.”

He scribbled a note and left it on the kitchen table, then put the contents of the package in his backpack.

The wood was a tangled mass of bare tree limbs, its floor carpeted in dead leaves. Branches sprang at them, catching their hair and scratching their faces. They slipped and slid on the damp ground, stubbing their toes against roots that lay hidden under layers of slimy leaves.

Spooked by the stillness around them, which seemed to mock their attempts at conversation, they fell silent; the only sound was their ragged breathing and the occasional crack of a twig.

It wasn’t until he spotted the roof of the folly through the trees that Tom broke the silence. “I can see it, we’re nearly there!”

They emerged into a clearing. The round tower loomed above them, its stone walls cracked and crumbling, its roof jagged. The ground was littered with broken stones. Moss had spread like patchwork, and ivy snaked up the walls until there was barely an inch of grey stone to see.

“Wow!” said Beansprout, “I didn’t know it was so big!”

“You check the inside and I’ll look round the back,” Tom said. “Be careful!” he added as he tripped over a snaking branch of ivy.

“Yeah, yeah,” he heard her mutter as she made her way to the entrance. “I’m not a child!”

Tom reached the far side of the tower. He peered around him at the trees, the tower, and the debris on the floor, and all at once felt stupid. What was he thinking? That he could find Granddad, or the person who had brought the package? He huffed, and thumped back against the wall before sliding to the floor, his backpack squashed behind him.

Without a whisper of noise, a tall figure emerged from the wood and walked towards him, stopping a few feet away. It was a young man, just a few years older than Tom, with long dark hair and pale skin. There was something different about him that Tom couldn’t quite put his finger on. He wore a loose pale-grey shirt and black cotton trousers tucked into leather boots. A long, thick, grey cloak hung from his shoulders, almost reaching the ground. But what was unnerving was the sword at his side, and the longbow and arrows visible over his shoulder.

For a while they assessed each other, before the man dropped to the ground and sat cross-legged.

“Greetings,” he said. “My name is Woodsmoke.” His voice was soft and low with a strange accent.

Surprised, Tom said, “Hi.”

“And you are?”

After debating whether telling this stranger anything was a good idea, he said, “Tom.”

Woodsmoke nodded, as if that was the answer he’d been expecting. “I know your grandfather,” he said.

Tom’s head shot forward, his mouth open wide. “How? Have you seen him recently? Is he all right?”

Woodsmoke laughed, so gently it sounded like rain on the roof. “So many questions, Tom. You remind me of him. He’s fine. He doesn’t want you to worry about him. That’s why I brought his watch for you.”

“It was you? And you were in the wood yesterday! But where is he? I want to see him. So much has happened since he left, he could help – I know he could.”

“He’s too far away to help, Tom. As he said in his letter, he won’t be coming back. Whatever it is, you’ll have to manage. You aren’t alone, are you?” Woodsmoke looked concerned, as if he’d misunderstood.

“No, I live with my dad. But …” He shrugged.

Woodsmoke sighed. “I don’t know if he could help, Tom.”

“Well, I want to see him anyway!”

“I’m sorry, that’s not possible. I shouldn’t be speaking to you, I should have just gone.” Woodsmoke looked cross with himself. “I must go now, I have a long way to travel, and you must go home too. Stop worrying, your grandfather is fine.” He rose swiftly to his feet, but as he turned to go, a woman came running around the side of the tower.

“Woodsmoke, quickly – the girl has gone into the tunnel.”

“You said you’d sealed it!”

By now Tom was on his feet and looking at both of them. “What girl? Do you mean Beansprout?” But Woodsmoke and the woman were already running back round the tower.