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Mad Fey and Nephilim go wild in the Mendips

When I started writing Shadow’s Edge, book 2 of the White Haven Hunters, I knew I wanted to explore more of the Nephilims’ past, and I knew I wanted to set it somewhere other than Cornwall. I’d been reading a book called Underland, by Robert MacFarlane – which is excellent, and all about the world beneath our feet – and he has a section about the Mendips and the vast system of caves beneath them, and suddenly it was clear that this was where I should set Shadow’s Edge!

The Mendips

For those who are unfamiliar with the place, it’s a group of limestone hills in the south-east of England, in Somerset to the east of Bath, and is officially called an Area of Outstanding National Beauty. I quote the website: “This is one of England’s most special places – the limestone Mendip Hills with the lakes of the Chew Valley is a stunning landscape of steep slopes and undulating plateau punctuated by spectacular gorges and rocky outcrops. On the hilltops there are hundreds of ancient monuments, whilst on steeper slopes flower rich grasslands and wooded combes offer varied habitats for a wide variety of wildlife.” You can check the website out here: https://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/

PRDH26 The windy road through Cheddar Gorge !

I had visited the Mendips years ago. I remember going to Cheddar Gorge, and going in one of the caves there, but can’t remember specifics, so I researched online. Fortunately, we are blessed with a world of images and websites at our fingertips, so that helped immensely. Anyway, it was the perfect place to set Shadow’s Edge, but I still needed to bend it to my needs, so I invented the village Angel’s Rest. But, Ebbor Gorge is real, as is Wookey Hole, and I’ve decided that when I finally can return to the UK, I’m going to visit. My list is getting very big!

The Plot!

I also knew I wanted to start this book with a heist, but that was about it. I wasn’t sure what Shadow was stealing or why. This is the life of a pantster – a writer who literally writes by the seat of their pants. It’s a fun and unpredictable way to write, and I love the fact that the book unfolds as I’m writing it. It isn’t to say that I don’t have some kind of plot – I do know vaguely where I want to end up, but for the first few chapters of this book I really couldn’t work out where I was going. I ended up reworking parts of the earlier chapters when I finally did.

The very act of writing fires up new ideas, and I research as I write, and that’s when I stumbled upon Raziel and his Book of Knowledge. I was researching angels and the fallen angels, looking for names and correspondences, and their links with alchemy too, and that’s when I hit upon my idea about the tomb hiding Raziel’s book! It was a Eureka moment! At that point, everything dropped into place, as did some glimmers of the Nephilims’ past.

The Book of Knowledge is real – ish. At least according to some myths. There are long lists of angels and their roles in Christian and Jewish religion, and within Jewish mysticism, Raziel has a couple of titles: “Keeper of Secrets,” and “Angel of Mysteries”. The history I include in Shadow’s Edge is based on those teachings. Raziel was reputed to have been God’s right-hand angel who recorded all his wisdom, and the book was given to Adam and Eve. It made its way to Enoch who, it is later believed, became the angel Metatron. The book then passed to Noah who used its knowledge to build his ark. (That didn’t make it into my story – not this one anyway…). It is also believed to have been in King Solomon’s possession for a while, so it has a very rich history. I, of course, have embellished it with own my fiction!

JD Mortlake

John Dee, the annoying founder of The Orphic Guild, is a real historical figure who lived in the 16th century, and was well known as an occultist, alchemist, magician, astronomer, and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I. He was brilliant, but undoubtedly odd!

He really did have a friendship with a man called Edward Kelley who was a scryer and through whom he talked to angels. The material and books about John Dee are extensive, and I know a mere fraction about him, but I knew enough that he needed to be in my books! It seemed only fitting that a man of his brilliance would have discovered immortality, and so he is reinvented as JD Mortlake. And yes, Mortlake is where he lived when he was alive.

As my book evolved, he became an exacting and annoying character, and I have no doubt he will continue to be quite slippery as my series progresses.

My heroine and heroes!

And so we come to Shadow, Gabe and the Nephilim, and Harlan. I love them all so much! It’s been fantastic to explore and grow their personalities and relationships.

Gabe and Shadow have got a little chemistry, Niel and Gabe have big backstories, and I explored a little of Harlan and Olivia’s past too. There’s far more to learn about the Nephilim, though. They all have stories to share. And of course, I touched on Shadow’s past, and will be writing a short story about her in the Otherworld very soon…

If you haven’t read Shadow’s Edge yet, you can get your copy here:

If you need the first book, Spirit of the Fallen, you can get it here.

7 Comments

  1. Maggie says:

    Fascinating TJ absolutely enthralled with all your books. Takes away the mundane and gives a serious escapism to life, especially these couple of years.
    Thankyou

    1. TJ Green says:

      Thanks Maggie! Glad I can help in these strange times. 🙂

  2. Jill Ashley Jones says:

    John Dee was Vicar in a small riverside town called Upton on Severn ( just up the road from me in the Malvern Hills area of Worcestershire. As a Somerset girl who spent many years living in Wells a few miles from Wookey, Ebbor Gorge was a regular picnic venue for locals as well away from the tourists in Cheddar, so enjoyed relating to location. If you are looking for locations for future stories you should have a look at The Malverns, Tolkien, CS Lewis and Edward Elgar were famous residents . Have a look at a book by a local author Phil Rickman his supporting book to his Merrily Watkins series affords some fascinating insights .. book is called “ Merrily’s Border”

    1. TJ Green says:

      I sued to live close to Malvern Hills, it’s a lovely spot! Thanks for the suggestion. John Dee certainly lived an interesting and varied life!

    2. Mel English says:

      Me too. I went to the Blue Scholl so for many years ran cross country through Ebbor Gorge 🙃😊

  3. Barbara Tock says:

    Just finished Shadows Edge, amazing as always. I have always been an avid reader but your books have me hooked. I get very impatient waiting for the next one 😊😊

    1. TJ Green says:

      Thanks Barbara! 🙂

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