The Axe, the Elf and the Werewolf

Book 1 in the Wyrdwolf series

Book 1 in the Wyrdwolf series
When a friend is accused of sabotaging a so-called human sacrifice, werewolf Isolde promises to help him. With no understanding of the world of magicians and the fay, she finds herself caught up in the murky world of criminal magic: a place where a Were judge is likely to end up dead or part of someone's dangerous game.

Working with the sexy and reckless elf Declan and his enigmatic friend Michael, Isolde has less than 60 hours to uncover a conspiracy to destroy the Were packs - and all Weres. As she tries to discover what has led some Weres to begin to attack humans, Isolde is drawn into illegal activities that threaten her integrity as a Were judge and the lives of her colleagues. Her attempt to save her friend leads inevitably to a fight for her own life - both with her mate and her pack leader.

To protect the packs from genocide, Isolde must place her trust in what she has been taught but has never tested. She must begin to believe she can use the axe of a Wyrdwolf.

The book draws on folklore and mythology from a number of cultures. There are new takes on the nature of being Were and how Weres and the fay might integrate into mainstream human society. On the way, it takes in industrial magic, a touch of science and a dash of current technology. All set in a beautiful part of England.

The Axe, the Elf and the Werewolf - 140,000 words. On sale in Kindle or print editions, via Amazon.

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  • True BitsIf you want to know which of the folklore and history in the books is true

True Bits in the book (folklore and history)

Chapter 1
Bogles are a type of Scots and Northumbrian fay. I’ve drawn from Katharine Briggs’ description of them.
‘Lawspeaker’ was the title of the top legal office in Scandinavian countries, from around the 10th century until 13th to 14th centuries. After that, although the office remained in some countries, its duties altered. It derives from the need for this person to memorise and recite the law. In Iceland, the Lawspeaker was also an arbiter.

Chapter 2
Following the defeat of Cromwell’s Roundheads, royalty was reinstated in England in the shape of Charles II – who changed many things in the country.
A canine nose really is that sharp.

Chapter 3
In Anglo Saxon England, a thane (thegn in Anglo Saxon) was a noble below the rank of ealdorman.
Selkies are a Scots/Icelandic/Faroese/Irish type of fay, very like the Scandinavian swan maiden in that they need their skin to transform into a seal.
The Daoine Sídhe are the Irish equivalent of elves
In the pre-Christian Germanic/Scandinavian/English religion (the modern version is called Heathenry), there were nine worlds – the main ones being for gods, elves, ettins and humans.
In popular culture, silver is regarded as harmful to Weres.

Chapter 4
Mara is the Old Norse for malevolent night spirits. The Anglo Saxon ‘mare’ gives us our modern English ‘nightmare’. I’ve tweaked that to produce my version.
In the Lokasenna in the Poetic Edda, Loki taunts Tyr (the Norse equivalent of the English god Tiw) with the claim that he fathered a son on Tiw’s wife. The wife is not named and there is no mention of werewolves
I created three Heathen-type exclamations for Izzy: Ragnarok, North and down, and gods and ancestors. In the Heathen mythology, Ragnarok is the end of the world, while ‘gods and ancestors’ are focuses of reverence. In Hermod’s ride to Hel, in the Prose Edda (Gyfaginning 49) Hermod is told the road to Hel lies down and to the north.
Seelie and Unseelie is a Scots concept of splitting the fay into good and bad.
In Anglo Saxon, a moot was a place people met to arbitrate and conduct local business. It seemed reasonable that packs would want to adopt a more harmless name for their local organisations.

Chapter 6
Golems are from Jewish folklore.

Chapter 7
The representation of tribunal procedure and pre-hearing negotiations is accurate to English practice in 1999.
‘saywife’ is my modernisation of the pre-Christian Heathen role of seiðkona. It’s play on the pronunciation of the word. However, I’ve changed it from an enchanter/seeress to healer.
It is possible for solicitors to become barristers in the English legal system. However, it’s rare.

Chapter 8
I updated several features of Anglo Saxon social organisation for Izzy’s world. The original for Eldormen was ealdormen – high nobility in 9th to 11th century England.
Thing was an assembly, although meaning shifted after the 10th century. It survived in other Heathen cultures, notably Iceland, which also had an Althing – the primary governmental assembly of the state.
Witan or Witenagemot was an assembly of the ruling class in Anglo Saxon England from before the 7th century until the 11th century. Its function was to advise the king.
York was the capital of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. It became an important city in the Danelaw – a Viking kingdom that roughly lay to the north of a line drawn between London and Chester, excluding some of Northumbria, during most of 9th to 11th centuries. Norse kings sat on the throne of this kingdom in York, during the 9th and 10th centuries.

Chapter 9
A fetch (ON fylgja/Anglo Saxon fæcce) is an ancient Heathen concept. It’s a part of the person but also stands outside of them. They generally took the shape of an animal.
Geas (plural geasa) is from Irish and Welsh folklore. It’s a taboo or an obligation or prohibition magically imposed on a person.

Chapter 11
Ulfhedin/ulfhednar (plural/singular). Heathen folklore. Old Norse word for berserkers who changed into wolves, rather than bears.
Disir (Old Norse) are female ancestors. They have nothing to do with Wish Hounds in folklore.
Wish Hounds are a variant of the common folklore motif of black dogs, from Devon & Cornwall.

Chapter 12
A normal lynx can leap two metres straight upwards.
The Wild Hunt appears in folklore in England, Scandinavia and Germany, with various leaders, including Herne the Hunter, Frau Holda and Odhin.

Chapter 13
Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his runaway bestseller (and very unreliable) Historia Regum Britanniae gives Merlin’s name as Merlinus Ambrosius.
There is a place Ellwood in the Forest of Dean. The word probably comes from a couple of Anglo Saxon words meaning either ‘old wood’ or ‘elder wood’.
Fennel is one of the herbs in the well-known 10th century Anglo Saxon “Nine Herbs Charm”.

Chapter 14
The history of the forest is true.
Myrddin Emrys is the Welsh equivalent of Merlinus Ambrosius. What Sam says about it is real. Including the reason why Geoffrey of Monmouth changed the name to Merlin.
Broceliande is Merlin’s forest in Brittany. On the map it’s called le forêt de Paimpont but everyone in and around Brittany knows it as Broceliande.

Chapter 15
‘Landwight’ is a modern Heathen term for nature spirits tied to the land. ‘Wight’ is a rendition of an Anglo Saxon word for ‘creature’ that modern Heathens tend to use only to refer to the fay.
The tale about Loki can be found in the Prose Edda, Skáldskaparmál 35. Wyrd is a Heathen concept related to fate.

Chapter 16
Orlog is a Heathen concept, related to wyrd. It can be expressed as the sum total of everything that has made someone the person they are.

Chapter 17
At the time this book was written, Hereford Police Station was actually in Gaol Street, Hereford.

Chapter 18
The Chase Hotel in Ross on Wye exists.

Chapter 19
Back in 1999, DVD players were regional specific. It took another few years for all-region players to be made.

Chapter 20
Loki sired Fenris, who bit off Tyr’s hand in response to betrayal. The whole story can be found in the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning 34.
Sessrumnir is recorded as the name of Freya’s hall in the Prose Edda.

Chapter 21
Finbheara is variously described as king of the Connacht fairies, king of the Daoine Sidhe or King of the Dead. He and his wife lived in Cnoc Meadha (also spelled Knockmagha, Knockma, or Knock Ma), a hill west of Tuam, County Galway, in Ireland. He had a reputation for kidnapping human women.

Chapter 22
Brownie is the Scots name for popular type of fay that crops up widely in European folklore – the house dweller that tidies the house, milks the cows and mends clothes or shoes. Hobbits are from this group. They are generally below normal human height.

Chapter 24
Aconbury – like other places mentioned in the book – exists.
Modern Herefordshire is roughly the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Magonsætan.
A variety of Heathen myths are mentioned in the description of the chair. Hel is the name of a kingdom and also its ruler: the goddess Hel, a daughter of Loki. Ettins, or jotun, are powerful beings who are either fighting the gods in Asgard or marrying them. Muspelheim (Firehome is a direct translation) is one of the Nine Worlds. Norns are older than the gods and tend the world tree, Yggdrasil.

Chapter 25
Anglo Saxon England and Scandinavia removed the protection of the law from someone for particular offences. Without protection, they could be killed with impunity. In Scandinavia, there were two different types of outlawry, one temporary and the other permanent.

Chapter 27
Brisingamen is a famous piece of jewellery that Freya wears.

Chapter 29
‘halefast and frithgiven’ is my mashup of Anglo Saxon and modern English. ‘hale’ means whole or healthy, fast is joined together (as in fastened) and frith conveys peace and security.
The Midgarth serpent was another child of Loki’s – a massive serpent that spanned the earth.

Chapter 31
What is now Herefordshire and part of Worcestershire was the Anglo Saxon sub-kingdom of Magonset and Hwicce. As place names corrupt over time, I’ve rendered this as Manston and Wich by 21st century.

Chapter 32
I didn’t make up plastic guns. Any guns mentioned by Declan actually existed in 1999.