Saturday, 29 February 2020

Bookshops - my special place. (Plus an excerpt from Book 4 of The Camelot Inheritance series.)

Mr B's Reading Emporium:

One of the most magical places in Bath, UK.


If you love books as much as I do, then a bookshop as wonderful as Mr B's is a magical place.
And the best area is, of course, the children's books space.


Recently the shop has been extended (they bought the shop next door) and within a remarkably short time, this mind-extending space was created.


When last there I spent a very happy time perusing the shelves - and while inspecting a large variety of fantasy books for 'tweens' I found this book by Hilary Mckay.
'The Time of Green Magic', is a gorgeous, believable story. Although this is essentially a children's book, I can assure you that most adults will enjoy it as well.


But back to the shop. Mr B's is tucked away in little lane behind one of Bath's main shopping streets, at - 14-15, John St, Bath BA1 2JL
There are rooms and rooms full of books in every category, but every time I'm drawn back to the children's/tweens/teens space. 
However there are some aspects of Mr B's which pander for all bibliophiles, whatever your taste, it's the perfect gift. A Mr B's Reading Spa. A knowledgeable member of the team will spend some time with you, discussing your favourite authors and genres and then come back laden with a stack of books for you to leaf through. It's a great way to discover new authors and a perfect way to spend an hour or two. Click here to find out more so that you too can receive or give the most delightful of presents.

In a later post, I will feature another indie book shop. Possibly the one in my little town which features in The Camelot Inheritance series.

In the meantime, here's an excerpt from Book 4 of the Camelot Inheritance series. In my next post I'll be revealing the cover and the title. 
Nick and Gawain are on a school trip in Cornwall while Arthur and Tamar are miles away in London. In this excerpt we're with Nick and Gawain in a Cornish museum with their teacher and fellow students.

They meandered after their group along a dimly lit passage. It began on the level but then banked steeply, winding to the right. At the front their teacher was expounding on various exhibits connected with Cornwall’s history, but Nick and Gawain remained safely at the rear.
The floor was cobbled. Hundreds of years before it had been used to transport goods to ships by hand cart. The passages were old, very old. Gawain shivered. He could feel the memories jostling.
Suddenly Nick gripped Gawain’s arm.
‘Look,’ he hissed.
‘What?’ Gawain was miles away. Things that would bypass normal people were hammering on his senses; shouts of long-dead labourers echoed in his head.
‘The wheel on the wall at the back of the glass case; it’s spinning.’
A wooden ship’s wheel was nailed to the wall behind a model of the Titanic, somehow it was rotating. To the right of the wheel, the ship’s clock ticked while a small chandelier suspended from the ceiling above the display shivered.
‘That’s weird,’ Gawain observed quietly.
He watched the wheel slow and stop as the clock’s hands stilled. Objects were waking here too.
Nick checked the passage in front and behind them. ‘How could that happen?’
Gawain rubbed his chin. ‘I don’t know, maybe …’
‘Go on. Maybe what?’
He hesitated. ‘Maybe she’s waking the memories like she did before.’
A shout echoed along the passage. ‘Nick, Gawain, hurry up!’
‘The Ice Lady?’
Gawain nodded. ‘She woke the memories at Christmas didn’t she?’ He thought of the skeletons crawling from the winter sea. ‘Maybe she can use memories buried in objects as well.’
Miss Angell’s face appeared around the bend in the passage. ‘You two are holding us up, come on!’
‘Sorry,’ Gawain mumbled, casting a quick look at the now-motionless wheel. ‘We’re coming.’
‘Remember the barrel organ at Trezion’s fair?’ Nick said sotto voce as they followed their teacher. ‘Arthur thought that had something to do with collecting people’s memories, didn’t he?’
Gawain nodded.
And there was the train at Christmas. We were in the twenty-first century one minute and the next we were on a steam train, a hundred years from now.’ A thought struck Nick slap bang between the eyes. ‘It must be about memories – or time.’
He looked around. ‘And here we are, stuck in a museum in Cornwall, while Tamar and Arthur are miles away in London.’
‘Divide and conquer.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, if you want to weaken the opposition, try to get them arguing among themselves, that way they’re easier to defeat. We may not be arguing, but we’re separated.’
‘Boy, you really know how to cheer a person up!’
‘Sorry,’ Gawain said, mentally kicking himself. He should have kept that thought under wraps.
They rounded the corner but their group had already moved on.
The light here was a little brighter, and the displays were different with mannequins set in ‘rooms’ like stage sets. One was dressed as a pirate captain, complete with a black, large-brimmed hat and a leather waistcoat and breeches.
Gawain stopped. He didn’t take in any of the props: the dagger, short sword or plastic ‘treasure’. It was the flag that had caught his attention. A white skull over crossbones, set against a black background. He read the explanation.
‘Pirate ships had more than one flag.
A red background stood for bloodshed. Black stood for death.
The pirate captain wouldn’t give orders for either to be hoisted until they were close enough to their chosen prey for it to be too late for them to escape.
The only choice for their target would have been surrender or almost certain death.’
He recalled his imprisonment on the Ice Lady’s ship. If it hadn’t been for Tamar, he would have died. But his thoughts came to a crashing halt as long, bony fingers clutched his sleeve – and they didn’t belong to Nick.




Saturday, 25 May 2019

Inspirational places: London and France

The Camelot Inheritance ~ Book 4

Here we are in 2019 and, drum roll … I’ve finished Book 4!
Yes really.
Well, not the illustrations, those are just beginning; but the story is written and I’ve allowed my most honest critic (Pete) to read it.
In the next few weeks it will be sent to my editor but first off I’m going to allow a few other trusted beta readers to read and criticise. Painful but necessary.
My clever cover designer, Katie Stewart in Oz, has been alerted - now all that’s needed is a decision on the title.
Perhaps the reason that I’ve been able to type the last full stop (or period) is because the past few weeks Pete and I have been in France. This wonderful country continues to be my creative haven.

Just so you know what I mean, here are a few of our favourite places:

La Roche Bernard (meaning Bernard's rock). This is our closest town. We love it.





If you know anything about French history you will have heard of the revolution in the 1790’s.  This piece commemorates it. Sadly, there’s also a monument beside the river to some folk who were in the French Resistance during WW II and didn't live to see the end of the war.

Damgan is one of our happy places, it's not historical, just beachy.

Vannes: A fabulous walled medieval town with a port We enjoy mooching around its streets and lanes and taking in the photography exhibitions.




And then there’s Nantes on the mouth of the Loire (where many a chateau can be found). We drove down there on Friday to visit Les Machines de l’Ile and to see the amazing, ENORMOUS, walking elephant. People can ride on its balconies. The trunk moves and sprays the crowds. It flaps its ears, opens and closes its eyes. And the best thing about it? It made everyone smile and laugh and feel better.




I've made a tentative beginning to the illustrations. One will head up the introductory chapter which is set in the British Museum in London - this photo is of the front of the Museum. If ever you go to London, do visit .


I’m aware that there’s loads to see and do in that city but, of all the museums, that’s the one I’d recommend (although the Science Museum is another great day out).

In this book there are scenes set in the museum, but also on the underground and Tower Bridge. Other locations have been saved for future books.

Here is an excerpt. I hope it whets your appetite for more.


‘Don’t look now, but that statue blinked.’
‘What?’
‘The statue behind you,’ Tamar said. ‘The one with wings and a human face … it blinked.’
Arthur spun round. ‘The one like a lion with wings?’
She nodded. 
‘O-kay.’
Catching a statue moving wasn’t new to him. He’d come across one before - but that had been on his side. He didn’t fancy finding out whether this one was friendly. It was way too big.
He caught hold of Tamar’s arm. ‘Let’s move.’ He lowered his voice. ‘Slowly.’
‘It can’t do anything can it?’ Tamar asked. ‘I mean, how can an ancient Assyrian statue, in the British Museum in the centre of London, do anything?’
‘I don’t know and I don’t want to find out.’ Arthur edged away. A memory rumbled. ‘It could listen.’
Tamar examined the statue’s head. A sort of headdress covered its ears.
‘We weren’t saying anything worth listening to, were we?’
‘Think what we were talking about!’
She did a quick re-run of their conversation and realised that the stuff they’d been discussing was most definitely worth hearing. She risked another look. The statue was massive, probably several metres high. It towered above the tourists and groups of schoolchildren. If it did anything there would be carnage.
Arthur grabbed her hand, pulling her away as he whispered, ‘You’re the history geek. Remind me: why were these statues made?’
Tamar didn’t need to check her notes. ‘They were meant to be gatekeepers against evil spirits.’
‘Oh yes,’ he said softly. ‘Now I remember.’
Arthur flipped through his memories. It was two summers ago and he was standing outside the Granite House marvelling at a couple of glowing stone statues just before he was captured by the Crow Man and taken to meet Matearnas. One of the maddest people he’d ever met.
He cast another look over his shoulder. A Japanese tourist was taking a close-up of the statue. She was standing directly beneath it. As far as Arthur could tell, it wasn’t moving, but he wasn’t going to chance a closer look. He and Tamar were probably the reason behind the blink.
‘We could be sending out vibes. After all, you are the Time Keeper. You haven’t always been stuck in this century like the rest of us.’
‘That’s true.’ Tamar’s hand instinctively sought out the Time Keeper’s watch hidden deep in her pocket. Gentle, rhythmic ticks ran along her thumb. The fob watch had her name inscribed on it: Tamar Tamblyn, the latest in a long line of Time Keepers.
‘Come on.’ Arthur’s brown eyes were worried. ‘There’s a café on this floor. It might be safer. We can get to it to through the galleries. Don’t look at any of the statues.’
Tamar didn’t need to be told. A blinking statue is enough to worry anybody, even someone who’d met ancient knights. When inanimate objects stir it is time to retreat.  
They ambled from the human-headed lion, but the amble rapidly turned into a run.
Arthur’s brain buzzed. ‘I knew this school trip was a bad idea,’ he muttered, as they skidded past a group of excitable Italians. ‘We’re away from Cornwall and we’re separated from the rest of the Guardians.’
‘Not much we can do about that now,’ Tamar pointed out. ‘Where’s the café?’
‘Through here – come on.’
They zoomed past statues and through galleries. Chatter bounced off stone pillars and floors. Camera’s clicked. Under normal circumstances they’d love it here; but these weren’t normal circumstances.
Arthur checked the miniature sword hanging from the chain around his neck. The gold was at body temperature so there couldn’t be an immediate threat.
‘My sword’s okay,’ he said to Tamar as they spun past a clutch of schoolchildren.
Tamar put her hand to her own silver sword. ‘So’s mine - and the watch is quiet too.’
Sliding over the polished floors, they rounded another corner. The café was in front of them. It was glossy and modern with just one statue in the far corner of a man on a horse. Arthur guessed the carving was probably a couple of thousand years old. Roman probably. It didn’t look threatening.
‘Do you think Mr Vennor will mind us taking a coffee break?’ Tamar asked.
Arthur surveyed the café. ‘Doubt it. And anyway, we can hardly ask if we can take time out because a statue moved.’
‘True.’  
‘I’ll get us a couple of coffees. There’s a table over there in the corner. Why don’t you grab it?’
Tamar inspected the other customers, expecting to see one of their enemies: possibly the Crow Man and his pale companion, Hagarawall; or the Ice Lady and her silver-haired son. But the café’s clientele were reassuringly ordinary.
She relaxed. ‘Actually, can I have a hot chocolate?’
Arthur took in her expression. Her brown eyes were almost black. Whatever she’d seen had really frightened her. 
‘Course you can.’
They’d been friends since nursery. Arthur knew her almost as well as knew his own family.
He knew that she loved her ugly dog, Mug Shot. That she fought with her big sister. That she was one of the bravest people he’d ever met … and that hot chocolate was her comfort drink.
She was fishing in her bag for her purse. Arthur shook his head. ‘My turn.’
Unusually she didn’t argue, just muttered ‘thanks’ and threaded her way between tables to the corner furthest from the carved horse and rider. She slung her coat over the back of a chair and flopped down. Her heart drummed.
Pull yourself together, she told herself sternly. You’ve come across worse things than a blinking statue. You’ve seen skeletons come to life, you’ve been kidnapped by the Ice Lady… and you’ve seen a man die.
It was true. In the two years since she’d been knighted by Excalibur and been made one of Cornwall’s Guardians with Arthur, Nick and Gawain, she’d experienced a lot.
There’s been good stuff too, she reminded herself. Remember last summer when Arthur was made the new King Arthur …  and defeating the Ice Lady at Christmas!
Wiping her palms on her jeans, Tamar slid her hand into her pocket. She touched the cool silver of the top of the pocket watch’s case and ran her thumb over the emeralds set in the other side. Its ticks travelled along her fingers.   
‘Decided I’d have a hot chocolate,’ Arthur announced, plonking the tray on the table. ‘I got us a couple of doughnuts too.’
‘Yay, bring on the sugar rush.’
Arthur swept the room. Since this had started he’d learnt a new way of operating: Always know the exits; examine strangers’ faces; and sit with your back to the wall. 

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Scillies, this author's inspiration.

Come with me to the Isles of Scilly - faraway Cornwall.

The view taken from our apartment.


This year has been pretty full on.
It's been a mix of building projects, mini Morgans, travel for writing - and actual writing.

Although the building project is still underway, I now have a writing room at the bottom of the garden. (How lucky am I?) So as the house is ripped apart and drills hammer I can retreat and write. With these new and rather wonderful conditions the writing is flourishing.

But this post is not focusing on writing space, the focus here is travel. After all where we went features in a most important chapter of the fourth in the Camelot Inheritance series.
Our journeying didn't take us far. It was a mere hour and a half by car and twenty minutes by tiny plane to the Isles of Scilly; a group of islands off Cornwall's toe - and one of the most magical places you could choose to visit.

The plane from Lands End airport took just six passengers, we were directly behind the pilot (he was called Sam). The view was astonishing, the start of an incredible week.

The view from the plane behind the pilot.

Within minutes of our arrival in glorious sunshine, a minibus took us a short drive to our apartment. (Everything is very close together. If you're fit you could walk to most parts of the island. Cars are owned by the locals but not needed that much.) What a wonderful outlook we had! Over the harbour and out to sea. Yve was our warm and welcoming host, leaving home-made chocolates for us. There can't be anything better than that.

Our view for the week.

During the week we explored the main island where we were staying, St Mary's, and visited a couple of others. 
We went to Tresco famed for its sub-tropical garden -
Tresco

 and St Agnes the smallest of the inhabited isles. It has a primary school with about nine pupils. Who needs home-schooling with a school like that? (When the children hit secondary school age they go to the school on the main island.)


We saw Atlantic Grey seals on the rocks - and the sort of plants normally only grown in glasshouses. 
We met many warm and friendly folk and passed dozens of stalls selling plants, books and honey with honesty boxes for people to put their money in. Trust is implicit. 
We visited a Camera Obscura made and manned by one of the most entertaining and eccentric men you could choose to meet. 

The Camera Obscura above Hugh Town. You know when it's open because the bunting is out.


We walked from coast to coast (the islands are very small), all the time becoming more and more enchanted. 

We found beautiful windows in a tiny chapel on St Agnes all linked to the sea -




   
   And sunbathed on glorious white sand beaches -


We talked to inquisitive cows -


Idled by charming cottages -


And marvelled over breath-taking sunsets -


The culmination was a week packed with memories, ready to be decanted into my book.
I'm on the final lap. editing and re-editing before it's sent away to my editor for her professional appraisal.
I'm sorry that it's taken as long as it has but no book will be wrested from my grasp until I'm satisfied as I can be.
Of course, the illustrations are yet to be drawn - but that's another story.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Unicorns and competitions


It's May - time for another competition; this one is geared towards the third in the Camelot Inheritance series, Merlin’s Vow.

If you’ve read the book you’ll know (spoiler alert) that a unicorn makes an appearance. So, it seemed only right that the prize should include a unicorn, albeit a toy one.
The prize includes a signed and dedicated copy of ‘Merlin’s Vow’ (the third in the Camelot Inheritance series), the unicorn, and a ‘unicorns are real’ mug.





Interestingly and topically (with the imminent wedding of Meghan to Prince Harry), when Pete and I visited London to research the fourth in the Camelot Inheritance series, we were staying close to Kensington Palace.


 One evening we took a stroll and happened upon the palace. Having written Merlin’s Vow, I was particularly intrigued by the decoration on the gate. I later discovered that the unicorn represents Scotland, whereas the heraldic lion represents England.
In Merlin's Vow wrought iron gates are one of the ways into Oakwood Manor, Merlin's house - and they're decorated too.


It seems that unicorns crop up in the most unexpected places - and palaces.

But I've deviated. 

The competition is open to anyone in Europe, Scandinavia, the USA, Canada and Britain.
(My apologies that I can’t open it further afield but posting can be complicated.)

To enter, put these details in the contact box on the sidebar of the blog. (No one else will be able to see it.) Your email address – it won’t be given to anyone else. 
Your name, of course. 
And if you’ve read any of The Camelot Inheritance books, I’d love to hear who is your favourite character. If you haven’t read any, let me know the title of a book you rate highly.

The winner will be picked electronically in mid-July. The decision will be final.

While in London researching, I found this statue in the royal park of Kensington Gardens close to the palace. It’s a statue of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. 


And this is where you can find it, if you're visiting London.




And for all fans of Doctor Who, this well-known mode of time travel is outside the entrance to Earl’s Court underground station. If you want to visit it yourself, here’s where it is:


London’s streets may not be paved with gold, but it appears that they are littered with fantasy!

Speaking of fantasy, I thought I'd include another taster of the fourth in the Camelot Inheritance series. It's a only a small excerpt, but hopefully not a spoiler.

I hope you enjoy it.

In a narrow alley, a couple of hundred of metres from the harbour, the air wobbled.
There was a muted woomph followed by an exclamation.
Fortunately for the time-travelling Watcher, he’d landed in a secluded spot. Gradually his molecules settled until he was all in one piece: cloak, shoes and bag all together.
Viatoris glanced up and down the high-walled lane and took in the stunted shadows and blue sky.
Examining the granite stone walls he muttered, ‘Cornwall again.’
A velvet bee hummed.
‘At least it’s summer,’ he muttered. ‘The weather was foul at Christmas: snow, wind . . . storms.’
The Watcher, keeping an eye on the lane’s entrance, swung his bag off his shoulder and hurriedly pulled out a selection of clothes suited to twenty-first century Cornwall. He had prepared carefully. This time he had both boots as well as the rest of his outfit. 
On the other side of the wall a blackbird chattered. 
High overhead, a plane droned.
Viatoris swept off his cloak and pulled on a shapeless fisherman’s jumper. He slipped off his fine Italian shoes, swapped them for a pair of sturdy boots, and pushed a navy-blue cap on his head.
Cramming his fifteenth century clothes into the bag he stood up. He was ready. Most of the time he wouldn’t be seen, but the Watchers’ training stressed the need to be prepared.
He tilted his head. ‘Mid-summer, I reckon.’
Words rang in his head. The Writer, his overseer, was checking he’d arrived.


Friday, 30 March 2018

Reviews

A sensitive topic!


I assume that most folk reading this blog are people who may have come across my books, or folk interested in the county of Cornwall or its Arthurian link. 

Rubin Eynon:Gallos
The beautiful sculpture of  King Arthur at Tintagel in Cornwall

So I usually write about something to do with one of these topics. 

This time I’m going to touch on a particularly sensitive area. Reviews. 
Bear with me - you'll understand why this is especially important to me in a moment.

Anyone who makes or creates anything which can be reviewed knows the power of a few words. These words can make or break a product; they can build or demoralise.
A good review is the best thing that any maker or creator can ask for. To know that someone liked what you made, or in my case, wrote, is a like a bubble of joy.

When I was teaching I was only too aware of how easily a child could be discouraged. I knew the importance of constant encouragement to foster their growth and self-confidence. There was nothing better than heaping praise on a kid and seeing the glow plastered on their face.

Whatever our age or stage in life, I think we all need encouragement. Even those who appear confident on the outside are probably harbouring secret doubts about themselves or their work. 
Consequently, a few months ago I was seriously discouraged when someone posted a very negative review of ‘The Golden Sword’ in the U.S.. Granted it was probably somebody young who doesn’t understand the power of his negativity (both on me and on other potential readers), but it still stung and it’s still there as the latest review.

So I’m going to do something I’ve never done; I’m going to ask a favour of you.

If you have read one or other of my books, and enjoyed them, would you be prepared to take a couple of minutes to post a review on Amazon? I would especially welcome some in the USA and the UK; although wherever they are posted in the world, my day would be well and truly made.

Thank you :) .

Meanwhile the latest in The Camelot’s Inheritance series is cooking nicely. That’s why there have been very few blog posts of late. I would estimate that I have maybe three chapters left to write - although the editing and illustrating will be a lengthy process at the end of all the scribbling.

Oh, and I nearly forgot! I was all set to run a competition this month but I’m waiting for some of the prizes to arrive, so keep watching this blog or my Facebook page for news. I’m hoping to have it up and running in April.

In the meantime, here are a few photos that I've taken of my beloved Cornwall from winter through to the promise of spring. 

The mysterious standing stones
on Bodmin Moor - ten minutes from our front door.

An abandoned engine house
above the mine workings on the moor.

Just beautiful.

The south coast close to the setting for
The Golden Sword

Looe - known as Pendrym in The Camelot Inheritance series.
The snow was melting so we were able to negotiate the lanes. 

Another gorgeous spot - just off from
Kingsand on the Rame Peninsula.
And soon - spring!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Book news and kindle deals.


Before I write much more, you ought to know that Amazon are running a deal (they approached me – I’m not paying for it) with the kindle of ‘The Golden Sword’ over the next couple of weeks. It will cost 99p in the UK and $1.40 in the US.


And the US: 

As for me on this glorious afternoon, I’m sitting in my lounge (sitting room), looking out at the bare trees and drizzle. The tops of the moors are shrouded in cloud. It’s not great weather. It’s what we call in Cornwall, mizzly (drizzle and mist). Even the cats aren’t impressed!


One of the great things about this weather though is that if it’s too miserable outside, it’s better to stay in and write - cocooned in my very own storyteller chair.


So that’s what I’ve been doing and the book - number four in the Camelot Inheritance series - is forging along. It will still be a while until it’s out there but it’s coming ever closer.
I’m going to put an excerpt on the end of this post, so you can get a flavour.

However, I also wanted to flag up the next competition I’ll be running soon on here and on Facebook. It will feature a unicorn and Merlin’s Vow. The two go very well together!
In the meantime, those of you in the UK and other cold spots, keep an eye out for spring …

This one was taken recently on the coast close to us.
For those of you who've read any of my books, it's close to Pendrym. 

and keep reading. And should be interested in my latest reads, pop over to Goodreads. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7020563.Rosie_Morgan

And now, from the beginning of Chapter One -

Tamar nudged Arthur. ‘Don’t look now … but that statue blinked.’
‘What?’
‘The statue behind you, the one with wings and a human face, it blinked.’
Despite her instruction, Arthur spun round. ‘The one that looks like a lion with wings?’
She nodded. 
‘O-kay.’
Catching a statue moving wasn’t new to him. He’d come across one before - but that had been on his side. He didn’t fancy finding out whether this one was friendly. It was way too big.
He caught hold of Tamar’s arm, ‘Let’s move.’ He lowered his voice. ‘Slowly.’
‘It can’t do anything … can it?’ Tamar asked. ‘I mean how can an ancient Assyrian statue, in the British Museum in the centre of London, do anything?’
‘I don’t know and I don’t want to find out.’ Arthur said, edging away. A memory rumbled. ‘It could listen.’
Tamar examined the statue’s head. A sort of headdress covered any ears it might have.
‘We weren’t saying anything worth listening to, were we?’
‘Just think what we were talking about!’
She did a quick re-run of their conversation and realised that the stuff they’d been discussing had definitely been worth hearing. She risked another look: the statue was massive, probably several metres high. It towered above the tourists and groups of schoolchildren. If it did do anything there could be carnage.
Arthur grabbed her hand, pulling her away as he whispered, ‘You’re the history geek. Remind me: why were these statues made?’
Tamar didn’t need to check her notes. ‘They were meant to be gatekeepers against evil spirits.’
‘Oh yes,’ he said softly. ‘Now I remember.’
Arthur flipped through his memories and one slid to the front of his mind: of him outside the Granite House on the moors, and the stone knights on the gateposts glowing - just before he’d been captured by the Crow Man.
He cast another look over his shoulder. A Japanese tourist was taking a close-up photo of the statue, standing under it and angling his camera upwards so that the photo would demonstrate the statue’s dimensions. As far as Arthur could tell it wasn’t moving, but he wasn’t going to chance a closer look; he and Tamar were probably the reason behind the blink.
‘We need to get away. We could be sending out vibes. After all, you are the Time Keeper. You haven’t always been stuck in this century like the rest of us, have you?’
‘That’s true.’ Tamar’s hand instinctively sought out the Time Keeper’s watch hidden deep in her pocket. Gentle, rhythmic ticks ran along her thumb. The fob watch had her name inscribed on it: Tamar Tamblyn, the latest in a long line of Time Keepers.
‘Come on.’ Arthur’s brown eyes were worried. ‘There’s a new café on this floor. It might be safer. We can get to it to through these galleries … and don’t look at any of the statues.’
Tamar didn’t need to be told. A blinking statue was enough to worry anybody; even someone who’d met ancient knights.
They attempted a nonchalant amble along the gallery, away from the human-headed lion, but the amble quickly turned into a brisk walk and then their legs took over and the walk turned into a run.
The first gallery was packed with carved friezes of helmeted men on horses. Insanely, Arthur’s brain buzzed with facts: the carvings had come from Greece and were over two thousand years old. ‘I don’t need to know this now!’ he thought as they hurtled past.  
Arthur knew without a shadow of a doubt that if Tamar said that she’d seen a statue blink - it had blinked. He also realised that when inanimate objects begin stirring it’s usually time to make a retreat.
‘I knew this school trip was a bad idea,’ he muttered, as they skidded past a group of excitable Italians. ‘We’re away from Cornwall, and we’re separated from the rest of the Guardians.’
‘Not much we can do about that now,’ Tamar pointed out. ‘Boy, this place is a maze, where’s the café?’
‘Through here – come on.’
They ran past more statues and galleries of antique objects. Lively chatter bounced off the stone pillars and floors, and cameras clicked, storing memories. Under normal circumstances, they’d love it here; but these weren’t normal circumstances.
Arthur checked the miniature sword hanging from the chain around his neck. The gold was at body temperature, which generally meant there wasn’t an immediate threat.
‘My sword’s okay,’ he informed Tamar as they spun past a clutch of schoolchildren.
Instinctively she put her hand to her own silver sword. ‘So’s mine - and the pocket watch is quiet too.’
Sliding over the polished floors, they rounded another corner and there was the café in front of them; glossy and modern with just one statue in the far corner of a man on a horse. From what he’d learned so far, Arthur guessed that it was about a couple of thousand years old; Roman probably. But at least this one didn’t look threatening. . .