The Sassana Stone Pentalogy
The Sheriff's Catch
1588. Abel de Santiago has deserted the army and all but avenged his murdered wife, when he is captured and sold as a galley slave. As the Spanish Armada sails for England, there can be few souls on board more reluctant than him.
After a crushing defeat to the English fleet, the Spanish ships are battered by extraordinary storms and Santiago finds himself washed ashore in Ireland, a country terrorised by English troops that the natives call Sassenachs.
But Santiago’s faint hopes of survival appear dashed when he is captured by a brutal Sheriff, who has orders from Dublin to torture and kill all Spanish castaways.
An unlikely escape has Santiago flee with a jewelled ring worth a King’s ransom. His flight leads to a desperate chase across a strange and stunning land, where danger lurks at every turn.
A Rebel North
After the narrowest of escapes from a merciless enemy, Santiago becomes the first Armada survivor to reach Dartry, the rugged kingdom of the rebel Lord Tadhg Óg MacGlannagh.
The MacGlannagh and his subjects have long resisted the English yoke, swearing open fealty to the King of Spain. Yet this loyalty is instantly tested by Santiago’s appearance, with the English Crown resolved to destroy any who would aid the Spanish castaways.
Meanwhile chilling happenings amongst the tribe reveal the presence of a secret agent. For the unseen hand of the enemy is already at work, with the Sheriff of Sligo’s eye firmly fixed upon Dartry and the secret ring that it harbours.
Santiago’s best hope of survival appears the unlikely union of haughty Spanish castaways and their daring Irish hosts. He is soon ordered on a dangerous mission to free Francisco de Cuéllar, a Spanish sea captain who could help Dartry broker a powerful alliance.
Hero of Rossclogher
The charismatic Captain de Cuéllar has hardly been rescued by the MacGlannagh tribe, when terrible tidings reach Dartry at the start of a winter that is harsh beyond memory.
Queen Elizabeth’s Viceroy has left Dublin, leading an army of two thousand strong across Ireland. As one rebel chieftain after another is crushed in his path, the English commander’s destination appears to be Santiago’s hideout in Dartry.
The tribe’s sufferings are set to greatly worsen as they repair to frosty mountains with their herds and belongings. They leave behind them nine Spaniards led by the brash Captain de Cuéllar, sworn to defend the island fort of Rossclogher.
As the Viceroy’s army gathers about the tower-house, Santiago must fight a lost cause of his own making. Vile betrayal worsens the odds faced by the defenders, who must choose between fatal surrender and a heroic last stand.
Trials in Tumult
After his recent heroics, Santiago is legally adopted by the rebel chieftain Tadhg Óg MacGlannagh. Santiago’s standing in the tribe grows ever stronger, while his secret ring causes an unforeseen rift between the Sassenachs.
For the English Viceroy has learned of the bauble’s existence, before accusing his own servants of hiding it from him. He immediately calls for a great trial to be held in Dublin, where the Sheriff of Sligo and his allies face charges of atrocities brought by their spiteful master.
The Sassenachs are also plagued by troubles to the west, where an armed revolt is led by an Irish rebel known as the Blind Abbott. The whole of Connacht is about to burst into flames, with the MacGlannaghs also spurred to violence by their ally and overlord Brian O’Rourke.
Amid the growing tumult Santiago risks losing everything, through his forbidden pursuit of the widowed Muireann Mac An Bhaird. The foster daughter of the MacGlannagh, Muireann is the key to dominance in Dartry, with her suitors resolved to destroy any rival to her hand.
Ring of Ruse
The northern rebels of Dartry have seized a prisoner from their enemies’ grasp, a crucial witness who can seal the end of the Sheriff of Sligo.
Yet a series of devastating murders leave the MacGlannaghs in disarray, with further setback caused by an unexpected ambush. Suddenly everything is no longer what it once seemed, in a struggle where one wrong step could spell torment and death.
A new order is fast closing about the northern rebels, with a last battle against the Sheriff of Sligo at hand. Before long the MacGlannagh’s army marches off to counter a Sassenach incursion, with rebels and loyalists closing in for the kill.
Amid the bloody fallout, Santiago finds himself back where he started, fleeing a sinister hand which extends far beyond Dublin and all the way from London. Before the end he must choose whether to save his own hide, or pursue a fast fading hope of personal redemption.