Posts from the ‘Projects’ category

The Brotherhood II: Templar Stone by K. M. Ashman

Templar Stone

The Holy Land – AD 1177

After his magnificent victory over the Saracens at Montgisard, King Baldwin takes the opportunity to start building a massive fortress overlooking Jacob’s Ford, the main crossing point over the River Jordan.

Garrisoned with Templar knights and stronger than any other castle in the Outremer, the fortress is designed to be impregnable and set to dominate the lands north of the Sea of Galilee for generations.

Within a year, the magnificent castle starts to rise high above Jacob’s Ford, a terrifying statement designed to strike fear and awe into the hearts of any man. It is an unparalleled declaration of domination by the Christian king and confirmation to all his enemies that the path to Jerusalem is permanently closed.

But deep in the forests of Banias, the warring Saracen tribes have finally combined, knowing that if they allow the fortress to remain unchallenged, the Christians would dominate the Holy Land for generations. Only one man could lead them to victory and his war banners were already flying throughout the east.

Salah ad-Din, Sultan of all Syria and Egypt had returned, and he had sworn upon his life that no matter what the cost,
…the castle would fall…

Narrated by Tim Treloar.

The Wallace Case: Britain’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murder by Roger Wilkes

The Wallace Case

Who really killed Julia Wallace? The final verdict.

Ever since that terrible night in January 1931, when the body of Julia Wallace was found in her Liverpool home, her head crushed by violent blows, the identity of her killer has remained a mystery.

Her husband, William, was accused, tried, convicted and sentenced to hang for murder, but he was then acquitted in a sensational appeal court judgement. Yet the police refused to reopen their investigation.

So who did kill Julia? When Roger Wilkes started researching a dramatised radio documentary for Liverpool’s Radio City, he uncovered new evidence which suggested a disturbing story – a crucial witness ignored by the police, even a suggestion of a deliberate cover-up.

Finally, he provides compelling evidence as to the identify of the real killer.

Narrated by Richard Mitchley.

Palace of the Drowned by Christine Mangan

Palace of the Drowned

In Venice, Frances Croy is working to leave the previous year behind: another novel published to little success, a scathing review she can’t quite manage to forget, and, most of all, the real reason behind her self-imposed exile from London: the incident at the Savoy.

Sequestered within an aging palazzo, Frankie finds comfort in the emptiness of Venice in winter, in the absence of others. Desperate to rediscover the success of her first novel, the one by which all her other work has been judged, she attempts to return to the page – ignoring the strained relationship with her best friend, the increasing phone calls from her editor, demanding the final book of her contract, and the growing fear that the end of her career is imminent.

And then Gilly appears.

A young woman claiming a connection from back home, one that Frankie can’t quite seem to recall, Gilly seems determined for the two women to become fast friends. Frankie finds herself equally irritated and amused by the strange young woman before her – but there’s something about her that continues to give Frankie pause, that makes her wonder just how much of what Gilly tells her is actually the truth.

Those around Frankie are quick to dismiss her concerns, citing her recent fragile state and what took place that night at the Savoy. So too do they dismiss Frankie’s claims that someone is occupying the other half of the palazzo, which has supposedly stood empty since after the war. But Frankie has caught Gilly in numerous lies, has seen the lights across the way, has heard the footsteps too-and what’s more, knows she isn’t mad.

Set in the days before and after the 1966 flood – the worst ever experienced by the city of Venice – the trajectory of the disaster that forever altered the city mirrors Frankie’s own inner turmoil as she struggles to make sense of what is and is not the truth, ultimately culminating in a tragedy that leaves her questioning her own role and responsibility – as well as her sanity.

Narrated by Emily Pennant Rea.

Roman I: The Fall of Britannia by K. M. Ashman

The Fall of Britannia

It is too late for peace. Prepare for war.

Britannia, 43 AD. The last unconquered stronghold of the Celts. A dangerous place of men without fear, soon to face the might of an invading Roman army.

Two young friends from drastically different backgrounds, Prydain and Cassus, are posted to a training cohort under the sadistic tutorage of a battle scarred veteran, Remus. The training is brutal but eventually the trainees set sail for their first campaign… the invasion of Britannia.

The Romans find themselves in strange and unfriendly environment and, as they close in on their quarry, a long held secret will be revealed, culminating in a savage and astonishing climax that affects the very future of Britannia.

Narrated by Ciaran Saward.

Leave the Lights On by Egan Hughes

Leave The Lights On

Their new ‘smart home’ is Joe’s dream. A remote cottage where everything – from the lighting to the locks – is controlled through an app. It’s the perfect blend of old-world charm and modern convenience. What better place for them to escape after all Lauren’s trauma?

Lauren desperately wants Joe to be happy after all she’s put him through, so she doesn’t tell him how much she hates being so dependent on technology. How vulnerable it makes them.

Then ‘the incidents’ begin.

Joe thinks Lauren is the victim of her own fevered imagination. But Lauren can’t be sure. She doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she also knows the past rarely stays buried. And she is haunted by one question:

Is their past finally catching up with them?

Narrated by Suzannah Hampton.

Buried For Good by Alex Coombs

Buried For Good

On a remote island, everyone is a suspect…

When Private Investigator Hanlon is hired to protect famous yoga instructor Camille Anderson on her Scottish island retreat, she thinks this may be her simplest job yet.

But when an attack on Camille’s life goes wrong, it soon becomes clear that there is a murderer on the island – and Hanlon will stop at nothing to track them down.

With only a small group of guests the suspects are clear, but as the body count rises Hanlon must step up to find out who the killer is before it’s too late…

Narrated by Carolyn Bonnyman.

Available: A Memoir of Sex and Dating After a Marriage Ends by Laura Friedman Williams

Available

If you’d told 46-year old Laura Friedman Williams that in a few years she’d be having some of the best sex of her life with men who were not her husband, she’d have laughed in your face.

She was a happily married stay-at-home mother with three children and plans to grow old with her husband. Sure, their sex had become a little formulaic, and yes, their life together mostly revolved around their kids, but whose doesn’t?

Then came the shocking, utterly clichéd discovery of his affair. Five months of emotional turmoil later, Laura found herself single for the first time in 27 years and with two choices: to eke out her existence, or reinvent herself. A little encouragement from her friends and one astonishing one-night stand later, she realised that she had a sexual appetite she’d never explored, and that being a mother didn’t mean she had to ignore it. She could be independent, a good mother, and have a great sex life all at the same time… couldn’t she?

From G-spots to bald spots, dirty talk to dating fiascos, Available is the unflinchingly honest, empowering, and humorous true story of a life turned downside up.

Written and narrated by Laura Friedman Williams.

Bright Day, Dark Night by Mary Jane Staples

Bright Day, Dark Night

It is summer, 1941, and the country is still at war. In the Devon village of Ashleigh, however, evacuees from the London blitz are living in an atmosphere of rural peacefulness, although Daisy Ricketts of Bermondsey isn’t sure if she’ll ever get on with carping Mrs Mumford, the subject of whispers because of her husband’s mysterious disappearance.

David, the elder son of Tommy and Vi Adams, meets Kate Trimble, a cockney girl from Camberwell who has just arrived in Ashleigh with her aunt. Kate is imaginative and precocious, while David is happy-go-lucky , and as the war is directly affecting the lives of so many other members of the Adams family, Kate and David establish a friendship in the summer sunshine of Devon. But as their friendship develops some exciting undercurrents, an incident occurs which brings home to them the darker intrigues of wartime and provides a devastating shock to everyone.

Narrated by Annie Aldington.

The Accidental Influencer: How My Need to Get Likes Nearly Ruined My Life by Bella Younger

When Bella Younger spawned Deliciously Stella – her hilarious and daring social media alter ego – she wanted to prove once and for all that Instagram does not equal reality. Within weeks, she’d gone viral and begun her very own #influencerlife. Shoot. Post. Repeat.

In 2016, Bella gained 75,000 followers overnight, and hundreds of likes a minute. Soon she was being paid thousands of pounds to beat up a cake for the ’gram, attend ludicrously lavish influencer gifting events and was dropping emoji-bombs left, right and centre. But even as the constant rush of notifications fuelled her endorphins, life among the Instafamous began to take a toll. As Bella’s carefree presence flourished online, her health began to spiral offline, culminating in a stint at The Priory for social media addiction.

Should she have undertaken a month-long run of stand-up comedy immediately after she was discharged? Probably not, but the pressure to be ‘on’ and online was all-consuming – and she had followers to please after all…

Funny, frank and fearless, The Accidental Influencer is a relatable story of the precarious balancing act between our online and offline selves – and the truth behind the staged shots, spon-con, and the coveted but ever-elusive blue tick.

Written and narrated by Bella Younger.

The Blade Bearer by K. M. Ashman

The Blade Bearer

AD 1136. Across a barren battlefield in the shadows of Kidwelly Castle, the bodies of a defeated army lay abandoned, left to rot as a warning to all who dare rebel against the authority of the English crown.

Throughout the kingdom, the people are subjected to a renewed campaign of brutality from the victorious castellans, and any thoughts of freedom are abandoned as they struggle simply to survive each passing day.

However, deep beneath the Cathedral of Saint David, in a cold and damp cell that has been his home for many years, an old monk kneels in prayer.

He prays for strength, he prays for courage but most of all, he prays for forgiveness for the vengeance he is about to unleash.

Narrated by Richard Mitchley.

Vampire: The Curse of Sekhmet by K. M. Ashman

Vampire: The Curse of Sekhmet

When Egyptologists open the lost tomb of a long dead king, they are astounded to find another body entombed alongside him. But this is no ordinary mummy. Not only is it dressed in the manner of a commoner, it also contains a few blood cells that only seem dormant.

Becky Ryan, a museum researcher, receives a macabre message from her father, just before he is found dead and follows the clues to uncover what is either a massive hoax, or the greatest ever discovery in the history of mankind.

What she uncovers is beyond her wildest dreams…..and darkest nightmares

Narrated by Suzannah Hampton and Piers Hampton. 

Churchill’s People by Mary Jane Staples

Churchill's People

In 1941, the United Kingdom was in desperate straits, standing alone with its troops against the colossal war machine of Nazi Germany. There was always Prime Minister Winston Churchill, however, who growled his defiance to Hitler and induced in his people a determination to endure.

The Adams family shared that determination and their own kind of optimism. Emma went happily into her marriage with Jonathan, while Boots’s son Tim, in between his hazardous exploits as a Commando, helped his fiancee Felicity in her courageous fight against blindness, the result of a terrible injury in the bombing. Rosie Adams was due to marry Matthew Chapman from Dorset, but Chinese Lady was unsure about it. He seemed a fine enough man, but what with a lame leg that prevented him from doing his bit for his country, and the uncertainty of his garage business, she felt that he was hardly the ideal choice for such an eligible young woman as Rosie. As for Boots and his new wife Polly, they came up with some very unexpected news for the family…

Narrated by Annie Aldington.

Medieval Sagas IV: Ring of Steel by K. M. Ashman

Ring of Steel

AD 1294 Caernarfon has fallen to Madog and the Welsh uprising spreads like a wildfire. The four main warlords of Wales join forces to wreak havoc amongst the English settlers and rampage across the country in a frenzy of aggression born of a lifetime of servitude.One by one, Edward’s castles fall before the Welsh onslaught but though there seems to be little reaction from the king, across the border he musters his armies and plans the re-taking of his famed Ring of Steel.

In the south, Garyn languishes deep in a filthy castle dungeon, a beaten man at the hands of a corrupt knight and with only days left to live, it seems his fate is sealed and the famed Macsen Sword is destined for the hands of an English king.

Narrated by Richard Mitchley.

The Brotherhood I: Templar Steel by K. M. Ashman

Templar Steel

AD 1177 The threat of war sweeps across the Holy Land and the kingdom of Jerusalem is at imminent risk of invasion from the massed armies of Saladin. Reports of Saracen patrols devastating towns and villages cause panic throughout the Outremer, and Baldwin, the teenage king beset with leprosy, tries desperately to counter the threat. But nobody knows where the enemy forces are and the Christian forces are stretched thinly.

With the king’s army campaigning in the north and the feared Templar knights defending the border far to the south, only one man has even the slightest chance of finding out Saladin’s true intentions, a Templar Sergeant named Thomas Cronin. With time running out and the odds stacked heavily against him, Cronin needs to find the Saracen army and relay the information back to the leper king in time to prevent the fall of Jerusalem, and indeed, the Holy Land itself!

Narrated by Tim Treloar.

The Charleston Scandal by Pamela Hart

The Charleston Scandal

London, 1920s: Kit Linton, a privileged young Australian aiming to become a star, arrives in the city to find the Jazz Age in full swing. Cast in a West End play opposite another young hopeful, Canadian Zeke Gardiner, she dances blithely into the heady lifestyle of English high society and the London theatre set, from Noel Coward to Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele.

When Kit is photographed dancing the Charleston alongside the Prince of Wales, she finds herself at the centre of a major scandal, sending the Palace into damage control and Kit to her aristocratic English relatives – and into the arms of the hedonistic Lord Henry Carleton. Amid the excesses of the Roaring Twenties, both Zeke and Kit are faced with temptations – and make choices that will alter the course of their lives forever.

Narrated by Lucy Scott.

The Savage Instinct by M. M. Deluca

The Savage Instinct

England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never–ever–return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton–England’s first female serial killer–accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor–and perhaps accomplice–in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.

Narrated by Tamsin Kennard.

Savage Eden by K. M. Ashman

Savage Eden

A time between Ice Ages.

Golau, a Cro-Magnon hunter gatherer, is pulled from a freezing lake and nursed back to health by a group of wandering Neanderthal. Miles away, his clan’s peaceful existence is torn apart by an attack from an unknown predatory species and many are taken beyond the ice wall as prey.

Golau and some of the remaining men set out in pursuit and are joined by a pod of Neanderthal, seeking answers of their own.

During the quest, the two species are forced to forget their differences and work together despite some uncomfortable truths being revealed.

Back in the Clan, those left behind are forced to change their ways very quickly if they are going to survive the oncoming winter and a young feisty girl with strange ideas leads them down a path completely alien to what they have always done before.

Beyond the ice wall, the horrifying truth about the third species is finally uncovered and answers revealed that affect both hunter and Neanderthal alike resulting in a bloody confrontation, the outcome of which has the potential to affect the very future of humanity.

Narrated by Steve Newman.

Fire Over London by Mary Jane Staples

Fire Over London

The war is only into its second year, but already it has claimed one victim from the Adams family. Emily, Boots’s cherished wife, has died in an air-raid,and the whole family mourns her. But for Polly Simms the prospect of a new life dawns, while the members of the younger generation who are in uniform, and doing their bit for King and Country, have their own problems to contend with. Tim has been posted to Scotland, to train as a Commando, and has met the lovely young officer Felicity; Eloise, now a sergeant in the ATS, is enjoying her new job as driver to the formidable Major Lucas. And has Rosie, now commissioned, lost her heart at last?

The Blitz all but destroys the factory in Shoreditch, but Sammy and Tommy Adams manage to find some alternative accommodation. And love is in the air – for young and old alike – as the Adams family refuse to let Hitler get the better of them.

Narrated by Annie Aldington.

The Family at War by Mary Jane Staples

The Family at War

It was 1940, and many of the younger members of the Adams family were caught up in the war in France. Boots, now a Major and on the staff of General Sir Henry Simms, was one of the thousands of British troops trying to escape in the armada of little boats from Dunkirk. His son Tim and nephew Bobby were also struggling to reach the coast and safety, while Eloise was with the ATS awaiting the homecoming soldiers at Portsmouth with a comforting cup of tea and a ticket home. Boots and Tim both made it safely back, but of Bobby there was no sign, and the family all feared the worst.

In a farm some miles from Dunkirk, however, Bobby was alive but injured, and trapped by the advancing Germans. The farmer and his wife offered him refuge but Helene, the farmer’s independent-minded daughter, was scathing about the retreating British army and gave the brave, joking young sergeant a hard time. Working in the fields, dodging the German soldiers, Bobby was desperately looking for a way to escape and Helene, despite her hostility, found herself increasingly anxious to help the Englishman to get back home. Their adventures were to thrill the Adams family when they came to hear about it.

Narrated by Annie Aldington.

Medieval Sagas III: Sword of Liberty by K.M.Ashman

Sword of Liberty

In 1274, Edward the First ruled England having inherited the crown from his father, Henry the Third. Across the border to the west, the smaller country of Wales was ruled by Prince Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, a direct descendant of Llewellyn the Great.

Tensions were strained between the two countries and minor conflicts were commonplace between the lesser nobles but when Edward found out about Llewellyn’s proposed marriage to Eleanor du Montfort, the daughter of his deceased father’s greatest enemy, he was incensed and in 1275 arranged for her ship to be intercepted as she traveled from France to be with the Welsh Prince. Eleanor was imprisoned causing the relationship between Edward and Llewellyn to deteriorate even further and in 1276, war broke out between the two countries.

In 1277, Edward led a huge army into Wales and captured the Welsh harvest on the island of Ynys Mon, forcing the Welsh Prince to surrender before any major battle was fought. Later that year, the two men signed the treaty of Aberconwy where Llewellyn surrendered control of most of the country in return for keeping the lands of Gwynedd and the title, Prince of Wales. Edward was satisfied and released Eleanor from prison to fulfill her marriage vows to Llewellyn and for the next few years, an uneasy peace existed between the two monarchs.

Despite the treaty, the people of Wales were still unhappy being ruled by an English monarch and especially the construction of English castles at Flint, Rhuddlan, Builth Wells and Aberystwth. Subsequently an undercurrent of resistance steadily grew until finally in 1282, a full scale rebellion against Edward’s rule forced the English King to invade Wales once more, only this time with full scale conquest as a goal.

Despite some initial setbacks, Edward’s army was ultimately victorious and after several battles throughout Wales, Prince Llewellyn was killed at the battle of Orewen Bridge.Edward finally realised the threat the Welsh posed and embarked on an unprecedented building programme across the country, including the enormous castles at Caernarfon, Conway and Harlech, not just as bastions of military strength but also as a signal to the Welsh about the futility of opposing his might.

These castles formed the backbone of his defenses in Wales, an unassailable system of fortresses, each designed to mutually support each other against any threat from the Welsh.

They were a symbol of his might, a system of invincible fortifications and in effect an impregnable ring of steel unassailable by any living man…or so he thought.

Narrated by Richard Mitchley.