Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers : Tales from the Forest and Beyond Paperback / softback
Paperback / softback
Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers is a tapestry of intertwined tales. We meet rogues, ne'er-do-wells and shapeshifters. Pickapple, the loveable trickster at the crossroads, Mullops, who falls prey to him on a number of occasions, Elmskin, the lovelorn, who is searching for Rimmony, the love of his life, who has just dropped everything and gone off in search of Flax Wing, a potentially mythic being who she thinks she saw once bathing in a clearing by the river and who she believes has spoken to her.
Mandrake Petals and Scattered Feathers intertwines the stories of these characters and many others into a complex but moreish whole that draws the reader in and won't let go. Extracts:* The Keeper of Secrets lived in the hollow of an old tree.
There he would sit and listen to the mutterings of a raddled old rook, a fox with three legs, a stub-footed pigeon and a one-eyed frog. And the hedgers, bodgers and ditchers would come and the charcoal-burners too. And the girlen who tended the geese and the old'uns and the potswills and those that had forgotten they ever had secrets at all.
They would come to the tree and Old Snick, for that was his name, he would listen.
But truth to tell, he did not keep these secrets well, for he would whisper them to the wind and the leaves as they fell and the babble of the nearby stream. * The lane became a tunnel of green, with brambles writhing either side.
It had always been there, though Elmskin had never come this way before.
He knew about it, of course. He'd heard the girlen talking and they always seemed to know. And the old'uns would mutter and whisper in corners.
But he'd never seen it, didn't know where it might take him.
He took a breath and ducked his head to make his way through when a wizened nut-brown figure swung down from the bough above.
He stood half as tall as Elmskin, yet firmly blocked his path. * Elmskin and Gloathren hurried away, glancing round to see Tormentil sitting where they had found her, her face turned up towards the sky.
It was growing dark now as they blundered on through a maze of twisted trees.
Their boots were sodden with the brackish water which oozed between the roots.
Elmskin's teeth were chattering as they plunged on through the mire.
Then they broke out through the bushes, nearly stumbling into the water as they found themselves at the edge of the river.
A grey goose clattered its outstretched wings and swooped into the air.