Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea also writes historical mysteries under the pen name I. M. Foster. Her series A South Shore Mystery is set in the early 1900s on Long Island. Andrea is a member of the Long Island Romance Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and Sister in Crime.
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Will and Maggie are just settling down in the twentieth century, intent on restoring the Foster’s peel tower, when Will finds himself thrust momentarily into the past. Though he’s unable to interact with it, acting as an observer rather than a participant, he’s nonetheless shaken by the experience. The vicar suggests he speak to Richie Carnaby about it, who much to Will’s surprise, has apparently been doing some time traveling of his own.
Though shocked at first, Will soon accepts Richie’s presence in the twentieth-century and is comforted to hear that the former Land Sergeants has experienced the same odd interludes himself. Unfortunately, Richie has no explanation for the events either. Even stranger, he appears unable to recall certain events from his sixteenth-century past, events he should be well aware of.
Richie’s information, it seems, has presented more questions than answers, but when a message from Dylan is discovered, urging Will and Maggie to return to the past or risk altering history, Richie’s amnesia takes on a new significance. Could his lack of memory be due to simple forgetfulness or are they the result of a tear in the fabric of time caused by Will and Maggie’s untimely departure? If that is the case, they have an even bigger problem?
When Will returned to the twentieth century, the amulet was empty. The stone had completely disintegrated, leaving Will and Maggie firmly planted in the twentieth-century. How are they to return to the sixteenth-century and repair the rent in the patchwork of time when they have no way of making the journey? Could Dylan have an answer? Or more importantly, has he left them a clue, or is their world destined to be seriously altered?
With Fire and Sword
Is their world destined to be seriously altered?
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Lowering his sword, Walt leaned back against the door, a torch burning overhead casting his face in shadows so that Dylan couldn’t make out his expression. God! Had he come this far to be skewered by Annie’s eldest brother for doing nothing but trying to save Will?
“Tell me why ye’re lurking about back here, then.”
Maybe he should just tell him the truth, or as close to it as possible. “I was helping Will and Maggie get away. They slipped out the hidden door in the barmekin wall, the one behind the chapel, and headed to the southeast, away from here and away from the Armstrongs. Don’t be angry with Will. He didn’t want to leave, but he was worried about Maggie.”
“Why would ye think I’d be angry? I wish I’d thought of it meself. If the Armstrongs get haud of her, they’re sure to drag her north, wedding or no’. That union could be ended right enough with the flick of a sword or a bit of Jedburgh justice, as well ye ken.”
Dylan just nodded, afraid he’d sound like a pubescent boy if he responded.
"But that still doesn't tell me what ye were doing hunched ower on the ground like the bogeyman was after yer hide."
Dylan hung his head. He needed to think fast, something clever. Walt was no slouch. "My stomach was in such knots after . . . I thought Ian had Will . . ."
"Aye, ye did good, lad, but dinna fash yerself. After ye're on the Borders a bit, yer wame winna trouble ye so. Speak to Ma when we're through here, eh. She'll give ye a tonic to fix ye right up."
"Ye won't be telling anyone about this, will you?
"No' unless I'm tippled." Walt slapped him on the back and opened the undercroft door. “Right then. Back to the fray, eh.”
Dylan started out, but Walt stood for a moment, rubbing the lump on his head. “What is it?” Dylan asked.
“Nowt more than wisps of a dream, I expect. Someone must have given me a good clout.” He shook his head and motioned for Dylan to head back to the yard, slamming the undercroft door behind him.
Dylan hurried back out to the barmekin yard. Wisps of a dream. Weeks had passed in the twentieth century, and he'd only just returned, back to the same battle he'd left. But had those same weeks passed here as well? Had time, in fact, rewound? And if so, were those wisps of a dream really memories that still lingered somewhere deep within Walt's consciousness? He shook his head, the concept too much for him to contemplate at the moment. Instead, he plunged back into the fray, picking up where Will had left off with Nebless Ned.
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Teri M Brown