Authors: Siobhan Burke
Stellar Phoenix Books
Copyright ©2011 Siobhan Burke. All rights
reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in part or whole, in any form
or by any means, without permission from the publisher. This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously.
Stellar Phoenix Books
Printed and bound by CreateSpace in the USA
Front cover design by Jonathan Cresswell-Jones
“What are kings, when regiment is gone,
But perfect shadows in a sunshine day?”
1950 — 2011
It is with joy as well as
sadness that I sit here writing this introduction to
because the novel that Siobhan labored over with so much care has finally been
published and sadness that such a talent was cut short with so many projects
She was a life-long student of
English history, and a member of the Richard III society. She thoroughly
researched the period, and the historical persons portrayed in this novel,
though she made no attempt to have the characters converse in purely
Elizabethan English, or, in the words of Josephine Tey, have the characters
, as she felt that, for all but a small number of
modern readers, that distracts rather than attracts. She has, however,
endeavored to avoid anachronistic modern slang, as she felt that just as
Although this was her first
novel, she has had short stories published including two in
, one of which involved the main character of this novel some two
hundred years after the events therein and was reprinted by ROC in
of Dreams of Decadence
edited by Angela Kessler. Another story, A Bad Day
in Sherwood was awarded first place in a national competition. She was working
on, and had half completed, a sequel to Perfect Shadows, as well as outlines
for a number of other novels concerning the major characters.
Her characters took on a life of
their own and like wayward children, they sometimes went off in directions that
surprised her. She had to cajole them into behaving when she
acquiescing to their demands. Oftentimes she
followed their lead with amazing results.
I do hope that you, the reader,
enjoy the completed work as much as Siobhan did writing it.
I want to thank her publisher,
Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, without whose help this book might be forever
languishing as a manuscript in some forgotten slush pile.
South Portland, Maine — March 2012
Table of Contents
Or An Undead Man In Deptford
“Kit! You, Kit! Come here, I want you!” Tommy, Sir Thomas
Walsingham, called as I crossed the great hall in search of coals for my
brazier; my ink had frozen again. He motioned me to follow him, and I trailed
him to his office. To my dismay Ingram Frizer stood leaning over his shoulder,
pointing out something on the papers spread on the table before them. Tommy
looked up as I entered, and motioned me to join them.
“I have work for you!” Tom exclaimed, waving a handful of paper
“A commission?” I asked eagerly. “I am well begun on
. In fact I was working on it just now, remembering how we swam in
the moat last summer....” I faltered, stopped more by the smirk on Frizer’s
face than by the annoyance on Tom’s. Tom was more than half drunk, I observed,
though it lacked an hour to noon. Frizer drifted over to settle upon the chest
under the casement window as Tommy started to gabble at me.
“No, no, nothing so slow or uncertain as
. What we
thought was this.” His voice dropped to just above a whisper as the words
tumbled out faster and faster.
“Slowly, Tommy,” I said gently. “I cannot make out more than a
word in three. You’ve found another way to reline our purses, I take it?” He
took a deep breath, and began again.