Hugh Corbett 11 - The Demon Archer

BOOK: Hugh Corbett 11 - The Demon Archer
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THE DEMON ARCHER
 
 
PAUL DOHERTY
 
 
headline
Copyright © 1999 Paul Doherty
The right of Paul Doherty to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First published as an Ebook by Headline Publishing Group in 2012
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
This Ebook produced by Jouve Digitalisation des Informations
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
eISBN : 978 0 7553 5038 4
HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP
An Hachette UK Company
338 Euston Road
London
NW1 3BH
Table of Contents
 
 
 
History has always fascinated me. I see my stories as a time machine. I want to intrigue you with a murderous mystery and a tangled plot, but I also want you to experience what it was like to slip along the shadow-thronged alleyways of medieval London; to enter a soaringly majestic cathedral but then walk out and glimpse the gruesome execution scaffolds rising high on the other side of the square. In my novels you will sit in the oaken stalls of a gothic abbey and hear the glorious psalms of plain chant even as you glimpse white, sinister gargoyle faces peering out at you from deep cowls and hoods. Or there again, you may ride out in a chariot as it thunders across the Redlands of Ancient Egypt or leave the sunlight and golden warmth of the Nile as you enter the marble coldness of a pyramid’s deadly maze. Smells and sounds, sights and spectacles will be conjured up to catch your imagination and so create times and places now long gone. You will march to Jerusalem with the first Crusaders or enter the Colosseum of Rome, where the sand sparkles like gold and the crowds bay for the blood of some gladiator. Of course, if you wish, you can always return to the lush dark greenness of medieval England and take your seat in some tavern along the ancient moon-washed road to Canterbury and listen to some ghostly tale which chills the heart . . . my books will take you there then safely bring you back!
The periods that have piqued my interest and about which I have written are many and varied. I hope you enjoy the read and would love to hear your thoughts – I always appreciate any feedback from readers. Visit my publisher’s website here:
www.headline.co.uk
and find out more. You may also visit my website:
www.paulcdoherty.com
or email me on:
[email protected]
.
Paul Doherty

About the Author

Paul Doherty is one of the most prolific, and lauded, authors of historical mysteries in the world today. His expertise in all areas of history is illustrated in the many series that he writes about, from the Mathilde of Westminster series, set at the court of Edward II, to the Amerotke series, set in Ancient Egypt. Amongst his most memorable creations are Hugh Corbett, Brother Athelstan and Roger Shallot.
Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied history at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate at Oxford for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his wife and family near Epping Forest.

Also by Paul Doherty

Mathilde of Westminster
THE CUP OF GHOSTS
THE POISON MAIDEN
THE DARKENING GLASS
Sir Roger Shallot
THE WHITE ROSE MURDERS
THE POISONED CHALICE
THE GRAIL MURDERS
A BROOD OF VIPERS
THE GALLOWS MURDERS
THE RELIC MURDERS
Templar
THE TEMPLAR
THE TEMPLAR MAGICIAN
Mahu (The Akhenaten trilogy)
AN EVIL SPIRIT OUT OF THE WEST
THE SEASON OF THE HYAENA
THE YEAR OF THE COBRA
Canterbury Tales by Night
AN ANCIENT EVIL
A TAPESTRY OF MURDERS
A TOURNAMENT OF MURDERS
GHOSTLY MURDERS
THE HANGMAN’S HYMN
A HAUNT OF MURDER
Egyptian Mysteries
THE MASK OF RA
THE HORUS KILLINGS
THE ANUBIS SLAYINGS
THE SLAYERS OF SETH
THE ASSASSINS OF ISIS
THE POISONER OF PTAH
THE SPIES OF SOBECK
Constantine the Great
DOMINA
MURDER IMPERIAL
THE SONG OF THE GLADIATOR
THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
MURDER’S IMMORTAL MASK
Hugh Corbett
SATAN IN ST MARY’S
THE CROWN IN DARKNESS
SPY IN CHANCERY
THE ANGEL OF DEATH
THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
MURDER WEARS A COWL
THE ASSASSIN IN THE GREENWOOD
THE SONG OF A DARK ANGEL
SATAN’S FIRE
THE DEVIL’S HUNT
THE DEMON ARCHER
THE TREASON OF THE GHOSTS
CORPSE CANDLE
THE MAGICIAN’S DEATH
THE WAXMAN MURDERS
NIGHTSHADE
THE MYSTERIUM
Standalone Titles
THE ROSE DEMON
THE HAUNTING
THE SOUL SLAYER
THE PLAGUE LORD
THE DEATH OF A KING
PRINCE DRAKULYA
THE LORD COUNT DRAKULYA
THE FATE OF PRINCES
DOVE AMONGST THE HAWKS
THE MASKED MAN
As Vanessa Alexander
THE LOVE KNOT
OF LOVE AND WAR
THE LOVING CUP
Kathryn Swinbrooke (as C L Grace)
SHRINE OF MURDERS
EYE OF GOD
MERCHANT OF DEATH
BOOK OF SHADOWS
SAINTLY MURDERS
MAZE OF MURDERS
FEAST OF POISONS
Nicholas Segalla (as Ann Dukthas)
A TIME FOR THE DEATH OF A KING
THE PRINCE LOST TO TIME
THE TIME OF MURDER AT MAYERLING
IN THE TIME OF THE POISONED QUEEN
Mysteries of Alexander the Great (as Anna Apostolou)
A MURDER IN MACEDON
A MURDER IN THEBES
Alexander the Great
THE HOUSE OF DEATH
THE GODLESS MAN
THE GATES OF HELL
Matthew Jankyn (as P C Doherty)
THE WHYTE HARTE
THE SERPENT AMONGST THE LILIES
Non-fiction
THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF TUTANKHAMUN
ISABELLA AND THE STRANGE DEATH OF EDWARD II
ALEXANDER THE GREAT: THE DEATH OF A GOD
THE GREAT CROWN JEWELS ROBBERY OF 1303
THE SECRET LIFE OF ELIZABETH I
THE DEATH OF THE RED KING

Teems with colour, energy and spills’
Time Out
‘Paul Doherty has a lively sense of history . . . evocative and lyrical descriptions’
New Statesman
‘Extensive and penetrating research coupled with a strong plot and bold characterisation. Loads of adventure and a dazzling evocation of the past’
Herald Sun
, Melbourne
‘An opulent banquet to satisfy the most murderous appetite’
Northern Echo
‘As well as penning an exciting plot with vivid characters, Doherty excels at bringing the medieval period to life, with his detailed descriptions giving the reader a strong sense of place and time’
South Wales Argus
In memory of Patrick Leonard Graves of Woodford Green and for his wife Patricia and his brave children, Steven and Michelle, Joanne and Nicola.
Prologue
Ashdown Forest, or so they said, was as old as the island itself. The chroniclers, those who prided themselves on this sort of knowledge, maintained that dragons once lived there while the great giants, Gog and Magog, had set up home among its dark oak groves. These ogres had celebrated their bloody feasts, eating the flesh and grinding the bones of their victims. All manner of creatures were supposed to lurk in its marshy, tangled depths. The gossips talked of the woadman, a fearsome, shaggy-haired giant, with one red eye and hooked teeth, who prowled the trees at night looking for prey.
The outlaw, the wolfs-head known as the ‘Owlman’, ignored such rumours. True, Ashdown Forest could be a lonely, gloomy place but it teemed with life: the badger dug his sett; the foxes had their lairs; hawk and kestrel nested with crow and rook in the branches above; rabbits and hares loped across the moss-strewn glades. Deer, both the fallow and the roe, flitted like golden ghosts through the green darkness. Above all, it was owned by Lord Henry Fitzalan and the Owlman’s hate and fear were reserved for him. The Owlman took his name, not so much because of the way he dressed, in dark lincoln green, thick leather boots and tarred leathery hood, but because of his silence: the way he could flit through the trees and make his mark, irritate and vex Lord Henry whenever he so wished.
At dawn on the feast of St Matthew 1303, the Owlman had left his lair to practise great mischief against his enemy. He had reached the edge of a clearing and stared across at the lonely church of St Oswald’s-in-the-Trees. Brother Cosmas was sitting outside on a bench, a tankard in his hand. The Owlman studied him fondly from the shelter of the trees. He dare not approach this fiery Franciscan, a man who spared neither himself nor his parishioners. A preacher who could conjure up visions of hell and quote copiously from the Book of Revelations, about the three unclean spirits which sprang out of the mouth of the Great Dragon.
Behind the church loomed the charnel or ossuary house. The Owlman watched the smoke rising from this. So it was true what the forest people said, those parishioners of Brother Cosmas, that he had decided to tidy up the cemetery, digging up old bones, placing them in the charnel house while removing others to be consumed by fire. The church, despite its deserted appearance, was a busy place; it served the woodcutters, charcoal-burners, verderers, poachers, aye, even outlaws who lived in the forest depths.
The Owlman studied the front door of the church; above it the great carved Doom depicted Death surprising a king, his queen, noblemen and bishops. Underneath were the words the Owlman knew well:
As you are, so once were we,
As we are, so shall ye be.
The Owlman grinned, a salutary warning! It was a pity Lord Henry Fitzalan did not heed it. A hard manor lord, Fitzalan enforced the forest laws and demanded his due at all seasons. Lord Henry would not even ignore a crime as lowly as the theft of a farthing. The great lord didn’t come here. Like all the owners of the soil, he had his own private chapel or, when it so suited, he’d visit those high-born ladies under their prioress the Lady Madeleine, she who carried her head as if it was as precious and as sacred as the relic of St Hawisia, of which she and her priory were so proud.
BOOK: Hugh Corbett 11 - The Demon Archer
3.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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