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  • Location: Dartmoor

A Gathering of Ghosts

A Gathering of Ghosts

Why a Booktrail?

1316: On the wilds of Dartmoor stands the isolated Priory of St Mary,

  • ISBN: 978-1472235879
  • Genre: Historical, Mystery

What you need to know before your trail

1316. On the wilds of Dartmoor stands the isolated Priory of St Mary, home to the Sisters of the Knights of St John. People journey from afar in search of healing at the holy well that lies beneath its chapel.

But the locals believe Dartmoor was theirs long before Christianity came to the land. And not all who visit seek miracles. When three strangers reach the moor, fear begins to stir as the well’s waters run with blood.

What witchcraft have the young woman, the Knight of St John and the blind child brought with them?

The Sisters will need to fight for everything they hold dear as the ghosts of the Old World gather in their midst.

Travel Guide

Authors on location:

Visit Dartmoor

Sheepstor

There are a number of knocking caves or tors on Dartmoor such as Sheepstor, from which the sounds of tapping, whispering human voices, wailing, music and singing can be heard. Many have thought there were people inside and were so convinced they went in to investigate, but found the caves empty. These noises really do seem human and I discovered they are loudest a day or two after heavy rain. The streams and rivers on Dartmoor, too, often make a singing sound, so you think you can hear voices even when there is no one around for miles.

Sheepstor village

But it was while I was exploring Sheepstor village that I saw the strange, ancient carving of the head or skull which is now embedded in the wall above the church door. This became the inspiration for the pagan carving down in holy well beneath the priory in ‘A Gathering of Ghosts.’ Everyone seems to see a different image in the carving.

Wistman’s Wood

I also spent time the sinister Wistman’s wood, which is an ancient grove of twisted oak trees, where I knew wanted to set one of key dramatic scenes. I clambered over the huge mossy-covered boulders that litter the hillside there so I would know how difficult it would be for my characters to do that. One night, I was seating still as darkness fell and I watched a wren singing then vanishing into stones where before I hadn’t even seen a gap between the rocks. This was so magical it inspired one of key images towards the end of the novel.

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

A medieval tale of witches and witchcraft, legends and ghosts on the moors of Dartmoor.

First things first, the immersive reading experience is something else. The book opens with the wet weather having ruined months of harvests and the poor even poorer by now. People are suffering and dying and those in desperate need have nowhere to go for help except the churches and monasteries. One of these priories was that of St Mary’s which is fictional but which in the novel is home to the Sister of the Knights of St john. There is said to be healing waters in the well here and gradually people resort to the belief and the old religion there, hoping that this is to be their salvation in the modern world.

What happens next at the Priory is the catalyst for a series of catastrophic events.

This was a very memorable and fascinating reading experience. It was all so vivid and chilling, historical and insightful into the legends and mystires of the moors. It was also an historical feast as there is so much to chew over here – the ingredients are ripe and varied, the characters all bring something to the overall mix and the plot is like the mixing, folding, adding a sprinkle of history, spice and all things not very nice to something you really want to sink your teeth into. I’ve a feeling I’ve been on an historical episode of Bake Off – Rich in atmosphere and dripping in intrigue….A Gathering of Ghosts was an amazing read and one enjoyed best with a coffee, a candle and an ounce of bravery for when you’re on those moors, you are not alone.

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  A Gathering of Ghosts

Destination : Dartmoor  Author/Guide: Karen Maitland   Departure Time: 1316

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