Five Wounds is an adventure. It has romance, swordfighting, danger, executions, a VERY hot blacksmith, and my heroine Nan Ellerton, a sixteen year old girl with a falcon, who I hope my readers will love as much as I do.
The historical reality that lies behind the book is harsher. Early Tudor England was a cruel, often frightening society. But it was also a society with a rich religious life, colourful (literally) and infused with magic. At the time I am writing about, old beliefs were being challenged and traditions swept away, sometimes by force.
So how did people feel about that? Did they fight it?
Well, in the north of England they did, and the rebellion that took place against Henry VIII, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, forms the setting for my novel.
The story takes place in 1536-7, when the north of England boiled over into rebellion. Nan is sixteen years old and has been sent home from the nunnery where she has been educated. Desperate to restore ‘true’ religion to England so she can avoid marriage and return to the nunnery, Nan joins the rebels.
But the rebellion fails and the Duke of Norfolk begins a brutal crackdown across the north. Now the rebels have a hard choice to make, between paying the penalty for treason, and eternal damnation. In the face of danger, betrayal and temptation, Nan’s only source of courage is a tiny splinter of wood she rescued from an abandoned abbey: a fragment of the True Cross, the most powerful relic on earth…