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While an ugly war with its neighbouring realm continues to rage, the insulated members of Ruritania’s upper class laugh and dance their way through their superficial lives. Some people, increasingly disillusioned by the pointless conflict, start to consider how the King might be persuaded - or forced - to end it.


Meanwhile, an increasing number of items of great value are going missing from those attending these high society gatherings.  At whom will the finger of suspicion point? Who can be trusted? With so many competing, yet intertwined, agendas, what will be the outcome of this looming of vultures?



A string of unexplained gruesome deaths brings fear and uncertainty to the streets of Ruritania’s capital. 

And it could not have happened at a worse time. The planned visit by the Vice Chancellor of Jermania, to commence peace talks, is thrown into jeopardy.


Will all the preparation for the negotiations come to nothing? Will the brutal war between the two nations escalate once again?

Meanwhile, the spate of thefts from wealthy homes continues. Who is responsible? And how can they be stopped?

And who is the mysterious figure who continually gains illegal access to the city apothecary?

With many conflicting and intertwining agendas, this proud and noble city faces the very real danger of becoming a nest of vipers





The darkness is spreading. A blanket of thick fog has descended on Strelsau, and the health of the King is failing. While Ruritanian citizens huddle inside to keep warm, discovering the identity of the heir to the throne has become a race against time.


Why is the sinister Lord Marek so interested in the outcome of the search? Shadowy forces are at work, seeking to change the course of history. Will any ray of light be able to pierce through this shroud of darkness?




“Dear Igor, would I be right in thinking that there is a tiny part of you which would prefer to tarry here, for just a little while longer? Hmm?”

            Igor didn’t speak, but he gulped.

            And Katarina noticed.

            She glided nearer.

            And nearer.

“Would you like that, Igor – to tarry here? To tarry here…with me?”

“Erm…well, I -”

“Just for a little while…that’s all.”

            She looked deeply into his eyes, and smiled, sweetly.

            So, so sweetly…

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“I thought I heard something! What the devil are you doing in here?”

Rudolph span round and beheld the unmistakable planetoid figure of Judge Trondheim, framed in silhouette in the still open doorway and brandishing an old sabre.

“I’ve had my fair share of unwanted visitors of late,” he growled, “And I mean to teach you a lesson you won’t forget in a hurry.”

Beneath his mask, Rudolph blanched. Even though he knew he could outrun the overweight Judge, the rotund figure all but blocked his only escape route from the room.

The sabre was clearly very sharp.

Rudolph was unarmed.

He was trapped.




The eyes of the exhausted custodian bulged wide with fear as he tried to back away, but found himself trapped in the corner.


The long knife glinted, cruelly, in the light of the flaming torch set high on the wall.


There was nowhere to run.


Lord Marek moved closer. “You odious little man,” he said, “Your involvement really won’t be necessary, and I simply cannot allow you to be rolling around like a loose cannon, blathering to all and sundry about my visit.


"It would really have been so much better if you had simply listened and followed my instructions.”


While he was still speaking, he suddenly lunged, swiftly and purposefully, towards his cowering, whimpering victim.

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