A graduate of Exeter University in the early 1980s, I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, before a change of career led me to writing children’s fiction. Currently residing in Abu Dhabi, I live with my husband and our beautiful Tonkinese cat.
The Shadow of Atlantis is the first in a series of time-travel adventures, featuring 3 children and a rather special cat called Max. I’m now working on the 17th book, The Shadow of the Great Fire. The series also includes several novellas that feature Max the talking Tonkinese cat undertaking solo adventures. As I take my young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past, I’m hoping that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them too.
In 1588, a plot to invade England and overthrow Queen Elizabeth the First is about to unfold. At this crucial moment in English history, four visitors from the future arrive in Elizabethan London.
Twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot, together with their friend Charlie and their talking cat Max, embark upon their next journey into the past as they continue the search for their missing parents who are lost somewhere in the mists of time.
Finding themselves at the heart of a web of conspiracy, can the young time-travellers solve the mystery of the Tudor Rose?
When Max the talking Tonkinese tries to rescue Queen Elizabeth the First from a wild animal he makes a big mistake:
At that very moment a shriek of horror came from inside the chamber. Seconds later, Max shot out through the half-open door with an orangey-red, hairy creature clamped between his jaws, shaking it vigorously as he ran. Racing up and down the corridor, he thrashed his head from side to side, before finally spitting the lifeless object onto the ground.
‘Ha!’ he panted. ‘There, that’ll teach you. Don’t you dare move or else.’ It didn’t move, not even a faint twitch. Max was alarmed. ‘Oooh, is it dead? I didn’t mean to be quite so rough. I think I may have killed it.’ He prodded it with a paw, pushing it along the floor a few inches, and still the creature didn’t move. The cat gulped anxiously, feeling rather ashamed of himself. He’d never killed a single thing in his entire life.
Jemima’s eyes bulged like two ping-pong balls as she watched his performance in complete astonishment. Max usually ran a mile from small, furry animals. What on earth was it and where had it come from? With a sinking feeling, she hoped to goodness he hadn’t snatched the Queen’s favourite pet.
‘Oh Max, what have you done?’ She spoke in a horrified whisper, hearing angry shouts coming from inside the chamber.
The cat raised his head, surprised to see Jemima standing there, and stared back at her with a frightened look in his eyes, before glancing nervously behind him at the half-open door.
‘I don’t know. I… I… I heard a scream. It sounded as if the Queen was afraid and then I spotted this creature near her feet. I thought it was about to attack her, so I just went for it. I thought I was saving her.’
Jemima tapped the motionless creature with the toe of her shoe, flipping it over onto its back. With a puzzled frown, she knelt down to touch it.
Max stopped her hand with a large grey paw. ‘Careful, Jemima! I’m not a hundred per cent sure it’s dead – it might bite.’
Jemima fought a desperate urge to laugh out loud, as she picked up the object between her thumb and forefinger, dangling it in front of the petrified gaze of the trembling cat.
‘It was never going to bite, Max – alive or dead. It’s a wig.’ As she uttered the words, a horrified gasp escaped from between her lips. The mass of bright auburn hair could only belong to one person. Her voice dropped to barely a whisper. ‘Oh Max, this is the Queen’s wig. You’ve run off with her hair. She’s going to be livid. What shall we do?’