Books From The Pantry: Diviner’s Nemesis II – Retribution by Maggie Shaw

Congratulations on your new novel, Diviner’s Nemesis II – Retribution. Can you tell us about it? Have you an extract that you could share with us?

Diviner’s Nemesis II – Retribution is a sequel to Diviner’s Nemesis I – Avenger but can be read as a stand-alone book, too. Both books are set in 1970s London against a backdrop of occultism and the paranormal. In Diviner’s Nemesis II – Retribution demonic forces are amassing against the protagonist Liz Graham to remove her as head of the psychic society P.S.I. Her husband Alec’s plot to destroy her predecessor Jonathan Keast, leaves her defenceless against Keast’s schemes to depose her. Can Liz destroy the evil powers at work before they destroy her?

A short extract from the book: part of section 3.5:

Outside, the night was cold and damp and still. The heavy fog deadened the lamplight and the sound of their footsteps, and enveloped the sloping fellside around them in a foreshortening grey curtain of silence. Liz confidently led the way along the streaming path beside the fell wall, at one with the elements. Though she felt disturbed by the aura of death overshadowing the crag, the messages from the rocks reassured her that should anything threaten her in that eerie walk, men would spring up from the very stones in her defence.

Keast followed her cautiously, using her as a shield against Alec’s men who he knew would be waiting among the rocks ready to kill him as mercilessly as he had killed two of them earlier. The eerie trek brought to his mind another bleak night when he had followed a woman who had shown him the way to a darker destination. All the women he had loved had had the power to elevate and destroy; but he could not understand even now why they had used such powers so capriciously. He stopped on the path and spoke to chase them back into the past where they belonged.

‘Liz, how can you live with this solitude?’

‘I’m a Celt: I am one with these surroundings. There is no solitude here,’ she said. She turned back to look at him and laughed as scornfully as he had so often laughed at her.

‘You thought this night was yours, Jon, didn’t you; but even you are frightened now. All Hallows Eve is far older than the syncretic Christianity which adopted it and spawned your bastard faith. This night is Oidhche Shamhna, Samhain, when the gates of Hades, Ynys Wair, are open to receive the dying sun. Tonight the spirits rove the earth again to torment those who once tormented them. For the next six winter months nature will sleep with the spirits in the underworld; but if you join them now, you will not return with them in the spring.’

She turned and walked on down the path, leaving her unexpected threat hanging in the air. He hurried after her, knowing not to retaliate against her bizarre tirade because she could easily extinguish the storm lantern and disappear into the night, leaving him to the fate she had threatened to bring down upon him.

A video of Maggie reading another extract, part of Section 1.6.

When did you first discover your love for writing?

I have always written stories, ever since my childhood – it’s just a part of me. I wrote my first story soon after I was able to write. It was about a working horse that broke his milk-cart traces and escaped to the mountains to live with the wild horses in a hillside cave.

You are also a musician. Do you write your own songs?

Yes, I also write songs, and again, I have been writing songs since my childhood. The first song I can remember composing was a sea shanty about a storm. My stories are a good source of inspiration for the songs I write. I am in the process of recording some of them for my new website which is due to go live in the next month or so. It was also good to be able to perform songs like ‘Merry-go-round’ in the ArtSwarm video magazine series.

Who inspires you?

Inspiration comes from the everyday things around me – a chance remark in a conversation, anger at an injustice, compassion for those struggling with life. My Christian faith, recovery discipline and my own back story are all fertile sources of material for stories and songs. People who have influenced me include the Inklings writers Charles Williams, J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis, and from my childhood, Alan Garner who lives in nearby Congleton. Landscapes that have inspired me include London, Scotland and the Lakeland valley where my family farmed for several generations, Ennerdale.

Have you any other projects on the horizon?

My next project, which I hope to complete this autumn, is to publish my novella Eregendal which I wrote when I was 21. This is a fairy tale-like fantasy about a heroic quest that goes wrong, in the genre of Visionary Fiction. The name of the leading character, Eregendal, is now also the name of my indie publishing house.

Maggie’s website

Leave a Reply