by Bill Haworth
The Dark Castle Lords
ISBN: 978-1-921347-15-3 (Electronic)
In the dim and distant past – magic, sorcery, witchcraft and superstition vied with religion in an attempt to explain the mysteries of the age. Those privy to the workings of such matters kept their knowledge a closely guarded secret, for it could mean the difference between life and death. Places intended for the indulgence of such matters were selected for their relative isolation; quite often a fortress or a castle such as the one that still stands today overlooking a bleak moor. Always appearing a dark, brooding, forbidding place; forever, it seemed, cloaked in a grey mist. Built upon a small tor (hill) it had a commanding view of the grim vista below and beyond. It dominated the scene for miles, like a malign blot on the landscape and could be seen from at least three leagues away, if the weather ever cleared.
It was rumoured to have a curse upon it. People avoided it like a plague. Local villagers kept shy of it. Travellers gave it wide berth as they passed. No animals grazed or foraged nearby and no birds flew over it. Folklore has it that this sentinel was a place of evil, a fortress of malevolence best left alone to crumble to dust and take its black secrets with it.
No one had lived there for centuries. It was believed the spawn of dark powers did reside within its walls. Bad luck and worse befell anyone foolish enough to have dealings there. Plunderers of its stones came to grief. They who would chance ransacking its rooms either died or went mad. Although barren and deserted for ages, on moonless nights it was reported that strange lights had been seen emanating from within. No one in his right mind dared to investigate. The castle’s eerie fables were too awe filling, too frightening and too powerful to ignore.
One rain-soaked and Godless night, a luckless old beggar had taken shelter there from a storm. He was found the morning after rambling on the moors – mad delirious. He never regained his sanity and died in an asylum. To the end of his days, he ranted about the castle’s occupant; the spirit of its one time lord, an evil man who dabbled in sorcery and abominations.
For his past sins, the lord had been cursed to roam the castle for eternity until able to make atonement. Only then would the powers that condemned him release him from his earth-bound purgatory. Without human intervention, the spirit of the old lord was unable to atone for his sins in life - therefore his tormented soul still haunted the castle.
Bill Haworth's first attempt is a fine piece of fiction. Robert and Faye travel to the 'Castle On The Moor' to renovate it, only to find it already occupied. This is where the story gets interesting as we find out what happened. Can Peter and Faye help resolve what is wrong with the castle? Thank You Mr. Haworth for sending We Really Dig Romance Novels this book to review.
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