Spellbinding: Pilkington breathes life, wit, and heart-pounding drama into Shakespeare’s famous memento mori, Hamlet’s Yorick.’ Steven Veerapen, author of the Simon Danforth Mysteries


12th century.

In the castle of Kronborg, during the reign of the mighty King Rorik, an unwanted child is born to a lowly servant, Gitte, and an unknown father. But the boy Erik, later known as Yorick, will climb to a position of power that will prove his undoing.

Unruly but quick-witted, Yorick rises from humble stable-boy to joining the King’s players, acting at great feasts before the highest in the realm.

On the death of the kindly Makan who has helped to raise him, Yorick becomes the King’s jester. Now a hard-drinking rake, reckless of the dangers that swirl about him, he finds himself privy to secrets – and under the thumb of the King’s spoiled and wilful daughter, Gurutha.

When the Princess is forced to take a husband she does not want, the dour sea-rover Horwendil, she secretly cuckolds him with his brother, Feng – and Yorick is their go-between.

On Rorik’s death, when Gurutha becomes Queen, she takes the name Gertrude – her husband taking the name Hamlet. And when she bears a son, young Hamlet, Yorick becomes the Prince’s playfellow, sporting happily with the boy he adores.

Yorick reaches heights he never imagined – which is the beginning of his downfall.

But as he nears the end, the final betrayal is yet to come…

John Pilkington was born in Preston, into one of the oldest Lancashire families. He writes historical fiction as well as drama which has been adapted for radio, theatre and tv. He is the author of the Thomas the Falconer Mystery series and the Justice Belstrang Mystery series.

Praise for John Pilkington:
‘John Pilkiongton’s Yorick is a brilliantly conceived, utterly gripping tale. It rings with authenticity, pulls you into Yorick’s strange Danish world and holds you there, breathless, wondering what will happen next to this beguiling narrator who is so much more than Hamlet’s jester. Fantastic! I loved every word.’ Peter Tonkin, author of Shadow of the Axe

‘Brilliantly conceived and written with a dark humour. Pilkington does for Yorick what Nye did for Falstaff and pulls it off with aplomb. The best book I have read all year.’ Jemahl Evans, author of the Sir Blandford Candy Adventure series

‘A window into a world and man.’Richard Foreman, author of the Dick Turpin series

‘Away from the corruption of London and no longer a Justice, but that doesn’t stop Belstrang uncovering dark deeds in this Jacobean thriller. A joy from mysterious beginnings to a satisfying conclusion by a master storyteller.’ Paul Walker, author of The Queen’s Spy

‘In The Witching Pool, John Pilkington once again puts us in the amiable company of retired Jacobean Justice, Robert Belstrang, familiar from his earlier historical thriller Legacy. In this adventure, Belstrang forsakes the mean streets of London in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot, for the rural byways of Worcestershire nearer home. But instead of treason, he finds himself confronted with murder, witchcraft, unmentionable crimes and a quest for legendary gold. Breath-takingly tense and gripping. Simply impossible to put down.’ Peter Tonkin, author of the Tom Musgrave series

‘A wonderfully humane, and all-too human, central character.’ Roger Morris, author of Fortune’s Hand

‘The story moves at a great pace… it made a welcome change to discover Elizabethan England through the eyes of a lesser mortal.’ The Historical Novels Review


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