Sylvian Hamilton died on 28th February 2005. She left behind three books (a fourth was uncompleted) and a huge gap in the lives of those who knew her. Her shining intelligence, her humour and her warmth will be greatly missed by her family and friends, and by her readers.
Sylvian Hamilton has never been in the CIA, owned a racehorse, met the Aga Khan or even Prince Charles won the lottery, walked to the North Pole or climbed Mount Everest. She has however managed to stay married to the same man for forty years, raised a wonderful son and daughter and countless cats, had a farm in Wales, an antiques shop in Scotland, and for several years was a bookseller specialising in Sherlock Holmes. None of these occupations made her rich.
In her teens she wanted to be an opera singer but life got in the way. She spent five years in Canada lurching from one disaster to another and still has occasional nightmares about crossing the Atlantic in mid-December.
She wrote The Bone-Pedlar because it's the kind of book she enjoys reading but seldom finds. Technophobic, she approaches her computer with trepidation every morning but couldn't do without it. If she doesn't write something, however little, every day, she gets crotchety. If the next morning she re-reads what she wrote the day before and doesn't like it, everybody'd better duck!
She's a pagan, but not a witch no talent and considers herself greatly blessed by her gods and goddesses. She survived cancer no time for it but arthritis eventually shot her down and put paid to any ideas of visiting the pyramids, the Grand Canyon, the terracotta army, or the Great Wall of China. As for walking to the North Pole in another life, maybe.
"Countess Judith kept her husband's head in a box..."
As penance for the sin of sacrilege (The Pendragon Banner) Richard Straccan must leave his new bride, and oversee the transport of a huge bell from London to Durham. With a motley train of pilgrims and a vengeful saboteur Straccan has his hands full, but there are bigger problems waiting for him: multiple murder, treason, the kidnapping of the queen and the mystery surrounding a little orphaned boy known as the Logos.
His friend Miles Hoby has managed to escape from the bloody chaos of the Cathar Crusade in France, bringing to England the glee-maiden Roslyn and a small boy, David d’Ax; they are hotly pursued by three knights, known as the ‘Angels’, who have one purpose only to kill David.
On his journey north Straccan meets his old acquaintance, the reluctant spy Larktwist. Together they track the queen’s kidnapper to his hide-out, and make a grisly discovery. But can Straccan protect David, and find out why the Church has ordered his death?
The third in the Chronicles of the Bone-Pedlar.
First published in the UK by Headline in February 2004.
The Pendragon Banner
"There was only only one witness, and he was already dead; but that didn't matter, he could still give evidence..."
Two women survive a shipwreck carrying a precious burden; a priceless relic sewn by Guinevere for King Arthur that has been lost for seven hundred years. They must find a safe place to hide it before it falls into the wrong hands.
Former crusader turned bone-pedlar, Richard Straccan, is up to his neck in trouble. The woman he loves is in mortal danger but he cannot go to her, nor can he abandon the stranger found unconscious in the street. He has lost his memory so how can he defend himself against the charge of murder at a trial in which the only other witness is the corpse?
Then there is the King, whose demands will lead Straccan into still greater peril. Tracking down the relic seems hopeless; the trail is long cold, there is opposition at every turn and hard on his heels is the brutal Breos, whose deadly secret Straccan accidentally stumbles upon...
The second in the the Bone-Pedlar series.
First published in the UK by Orion, 2001
"In the crypt of the Abbey Church at Hallowdene the monks were boiling their Bishop..."
It is 1209 and holy relics are big business. they are bought and sold and stolen for kings, abbots and priors and no part of the Bishop of Hallowdene will go to waste. Instead he will join the long list of holy artefacts on the market: there's the girdle of the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Foreskin, the ear of Saint Marcellinus and the rib of Saint Cecilia, to name but a few...
Sir Richard Straccan, ex-crusader, makes his living dealing in these divine body-parts. Being a bone-pedlar, he leads a dangerous life retrieving stolen relics, negotiating deals and locating new artefacts. But when he is asked by the Prioress of Holystone to help solve a mystery, he takes on a job more dangerous than ever before. A dying man has been brought to the Priory carrying with him a rare and precious icon but nobody knows what it is or where the man was taking it.
Straccan soon becomes embroiled in a web of treason, espionage and evil. His young daughter is kidnapped and following her takes him and his company down a path beset with danger and risk. On their journey they meet monks, lunatics, pilgrims, whores, saints and thieves; but it is when they come up against Rainard, Lord Soulis, on the eve of the Summer Solstice, that Straccan must face his biggest challenge yet.
First published in the UK by Orion, 2000