The Changeling

Book 3 in the Wyrdwolf series

Book 3 in the Wyrdwolf series
Isolde had never needed to think about how time worked in Elfhame but now she was faced with a fine. And it wasn't even her fault!

Heavily pregnant herself, she is appalled to encounter a badly frightened young werewolf in the same condition - and to lose her. Despite all the barriers erected by the fay against Weres, Isolde is determined to get into Elfhame to rescue the girl. As neither Michael nor Declan are willing to help, she seeks out a representative of Seelie Court - the rulers of Elfhame - with unforeseen results.

When her own newborn cub is stolen and replaced with a changeling, Isolde and her mates have to find their missing child. And that means following the trail of a Were-human relationship which has left a trail of devastation across three generations. The key to that secret lie with time works between Elfhame and Midearth ... and with a young werewolf who cannot change shape.

The third book in the Wyrdwolf series draws on time and other motifs from fairy tales to create a page-turning thriller. Trigger warning for child abuse. Set in the borderlands of England and South Wales.

The Changeling - on sale in Kindle or print editions, via Amazon.

  • series number: Book #3
  • Where to buy: Amazon US
  • Where to buy: Amazon UK
  •    For other countries, click on the UK link and substitute your country’
    s domain for the in the url
  • True BitsIf you want to know which of the folklore and history in the books is true

True Bits in the book (folklore and history)

Chapter 1
The Queen Stone exists.

Chapter 3
Bram Stoker's Dracula is a 1992 American gothic horror film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

The 9th-century monk Bede placed Mothers’ Night on Christmas Eve. Many modern Heathens observe it the night before the winter solstice.

Chapter 4
There are many stories about people being lured into Elfhame or fairy rings or dances, and losing time. The fines Michael recites were created by me.

The Bell at Skenfrith existed in 1999.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a character from the Star Wars franchise. Michael’s comment is an echo of the famous line, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

Chapter 5
Box 500 is one of the names for the British intelligence service responsible for domestic counter-terrorism and counter-espionage intelligence. Its correct name is the Security Service though it’s commonly known as MI5.

Broceliande is the name given to Merlin’s forest in Brittany. According to the French Arthurian folklore, the fairy Vivian (Nimue) met and imprisoned Merlin there.

In England, birth registration within forty-two days was enforced in 1874. The name can be changed within the first 12 months.

Chapter 6
GP (British acronym) = general (medical) practitioner. The family doctor.

The story of Loki conceiving Sleipnir is given in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 42. Odhin gibes about Loki’s years as a milkmaid in the Poetic Edda Lokasenna 23.

Chapter 7
Katharine Briggs was a great British folklorist and president of the Folklore Society 1969-1972.

Abduction of human children by the fay is a common motif of British folklore. 

Chapter 8
In some Irish mythology, Fin Bheara is named as the high king of the daoine sidhe. That should make him the ruler of Tír na nÓg.

Chapter 9
I borrowed morning prayers from journalism. It was a phrase used by at least one national newspaper in the UK for its morning editorial meeting.

Chapter 10
Victor of Aveyron existed. The girl in the room is Genie, discovered in the US in 1970.

There is a window during which humans find it easier to learn a language. In 1999 that was assumed to be before age 7. Later research has extended that timescale.

The Channel 4 programme Feral Children was made in 2006, not 1999. It included the case of Oxana Malaya.

Chapter 11
Longleat is an English stately home and the seat of the Marquess of Bath. Since 1966 it has housed a Safari Park attraction and specialised in exotic animals.

Like domestic cats, female lynxes are known as queens and males as toms.

SAD = seasonal affective disorder.

Chapter 11
Brownies are a form of hobgoblin – tweaked by Tolkien into hobbits. ‘Hob’ is also found in folklore.

Chapter 12
Ernst Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) was a Swedish director, writer, and producer whose work focussed on the human condition.

Chapter 13
Chimerism exists in humans and other animals.

In Heathen mythology, Angrboða bore three of Loki’s children: the giant wolf Fenris, the goddess Hel and the world serpent, Jörmungandr. The Poetic Edda Lokasenna 40 mentions Loki siring a child on Tyr’s wife. However, that child was a boy and nothing is known about the wife. I made up the Isretha Halfwolf.

Chapter 16
The Icelandic Eddas portray travelling between the worlds as physical journeys.  

Fairy cattle have red ears in medieval Irish and Welsh folklore. This extended to dogs and horses.

The yellow brick road comes from 1939 film The Wizard of Oz based on the book by Frank L Baum.

Ettin (Anglo Saxon) or Jötunn (Old Norse) are beings that are presented as anything between monsters (such as Grendel in Beowulf) to the wives and mothers of gods.

The makers of Brisingamen were dwarves. The story of how Freya obtained Brisingamen from them is related in Sörla þáttr eða Heðins saga ok Högna found in the Icelandic Flateyjarbók manuscript.

Trolls come from Scandinavian folklore. They are generally portrayed as extremely stupid. They turn to stone in sunlight.

The River Wye is the fifth-longest river in the UK. She flows through Wales into the Severn and runs close to the southern border between England and Wales.

The Severn is the longest river in the UK, flowing through Wales and west-central England to form the Bristol Channel. She divides Wales and England. Her Welsh name is Hafren. The Romans called her Sabrina.

Chapter 17
Undine is a name coined by Paracelsus in the 17th century. These days it generally refers to water nymphs, called nixies or necks in Germanic folklore.

Many shamanic healers (and others) speak of having spirit guides, which often take the shape of an animal.

In Heathen mythology, Freya had a cloak made of falcon’s feathers that enabled shapechanging. See Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal 56.

Chapter 18
Seven-league boots appear in European folklore. The boot allows the wearer to travel seven leagues with each step. A league was the distance someone could walk in an hour. In modern times the distance is fixed at three miles in the UK.

Thomas the Rhymer was based on a real man living in the borders of Scotland in the 13th century. He had a reputation as a prophet which was rumoured to have been given to him by the Queen of Elfhame. His tale is recorded in Thomas Rhymer (Child Ballad 37). Walter Scott added a white hind and hart who came to take him back to Elfhame.

Chapter 20
Frith is a Heathen cultural concept, from an Old Norse word. It’s usually translated as peace or safety.

Japan was/is one of the primary sources of a type of wooden puzzle box.

Ah, oui. Mais il y a deux – ah, pardonnez-moi (French) = Oh, yes. But there are two – oh, forgive me.

Chapter 21
A full moon coincided with the winter solstice in 1999 although the actual timing was around 7am Wednesday 22nd. The event is rare.

Pourquoi pas blanche pour la naissance? (French) = Why not white for a birth?

Bonne idée (French) = good idea!

In 1999, The Day of the Jackal was the apex of creating a false identity. There were fewer anti-fraud safeguards at that time.

Mon ami (French) = my friend. Used in a way similar to slang term bro.

Chapter 22
Ginnungagap is taken from Heathen mythology, as is Misthome (Niflheim).

The three Great Norns in Heathen mythology are Urdh, Verdhandi and Skuld. Their names can be rendered as past, present and future. They tended the World Tree and wyrd. Urdh means ‘wyrd’. More information on the Norns and the well can be found in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 15.

In Heathen mythology, births were attended by ordinary norns, who determined the fate of the newborn child. See the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 15.

I made up the tale of Isretha’s children. You can find it on my website.

The Old Norse word for fetch and a type of female guardian spirit was the same as the word for the placenta. Scandinavian folklore imbues the placenta with special abilities. It could be the newborn’s fetch (a particular sort of familiar spirit) or an ability of the child to shapeshift. If the mother used a foal’s placenta as a charm to avert pain, it would result in a male child being a werewolf. A female child would be a mara.

Thor was invoked in the Viking ceremony of child-naming.

Chapter 23
Disir (Old Norse, singular dis) are protective female ancestors.

Chapter 24
1999 was the 9th time the winter solstice coincided with a full moon since 1793. It happened again in 2010 and the next will be 2094. (Source: Farmer’s Almanac)

Wet the baby’s head (British slang) = celebrate a baby's birth with a drink, usually alcoholic.

The information about the quality of initial breast milk is true.

The tagging procedure for babies was introduced in the NHS from 2002. It may have been available in private hospitals before then.

Chapter 26
Farmers use the skins of dead lambs to encourage ewes to adopt orphans.

Chapter 27
Shut the stable door after the horse has bolted (British idiom) = taking action after the event.

Many Muslim drivers suspend discs inscribed with verses from the Quran from their rearview mirrors. They look like CDs.  

Valerie’s explanation of the grammar of jinn/jinni/jinniyah is true.

Get on my wick (British idiom) = be annoyed by something

Chapter 28
Valerie’s jinn clothes are a genuine form of medieval dress for a woman in Turkey. Bey (lord) is a Turkish masculine form of address that denotes respect. Bayan (lady) is the feminine.

Islamic hadith (Abu Buhaqi and Al-Tabarani) hold that an amir or amar is a type of jinn which resides with humans. The other two types are considered wicked.

Izzy’s views on guest and host honour reflect those found in Heathen mythology, especially the Eddas.

Chapter 29
Ayah (British English) = a loan word from the former British Empire for a maidservant, nursemaid, or governess.

Only one (of three) types of jinn can fly according to Islamic Hadith. Folklore gives them the ability to travel instantaneously or more slowly. Their association with magic carpets may be modern.

The few bridges over the lower reaches of the Severn are as described.

The Valleys in South Wales were an area of heavy coal mining during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The King's Shropshire Light Infantry existed as an independent regiment from 1881 until 1968.  The 1st Battalion fought at Anzio.

The geography of that part of the Wye gorge is real. The ferry exists, as does Biblins youth camp and the limestone caves. One is called King Arthur’s Cave.

The NHS = the UK’s National Health Service.

Chapter 30
The information about the King's Shropshire Light Infantry is true.

Chapter 31
Wights (Anglo Saxon) = creature. The word is used by modern Heathens for the fay. Landwights are fay with an attachment to a particular piece of land.

In Islamic hadith, the jinn are thought to steal forbidden knowledge from angels and relate it to fortune-tellers. See Sahih al-Bukhari 71: 657.

Chapter 32
The internet as we know it today didn’t exist in 1999. Websites were static and most business still conducted via snail mail, phone or in person. A bank holiday stalled everything.

The 1944 Education Act was a milestone in UK education. However, it didn’t mention Weres.

Chapter 33
The battle for Anzio took place in the first half of 1944. 

Sam’s information about the UK ages of service at the start of WWII is true.

The UK declared war on Germany on 3rd September 1939.

Chapter 34
Clearwell Caves exist. They have been mined for iron ore for over 4000 years.

Chapter 35
Dendrochronology exists. Michael’s information about tree rings is true.

Chapter 36
Bell-bottoms came into fashion in 1967.

Chapter 37
The information about identical and fraternal twins of different sexes is true.

The deaths of so many young men in the First World War meant that many young women never married.

Chapter 38
Fred and Rose West were serial killers in Gloucester in England between 1967 and 1987. West claimed to have buried several bodies in Herefordshire.

Immature female pigs are called gilts. So are a certain type of financial product.

Chapter 39
Multimap was the main online maps service in 1999. It was merged into Bing maps in 2010.

Chapter 41
The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry was based in Shrewsbury.

Chapter 42
The tale of Loki borrowing Freya’s falcon cloak to shapeshift is told in the Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal 56.

A raptor’s eyesight is that good.

Chapter 46
The tale of how Tyr lost his hand is told in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 34.

Chapter 47
In Heathen mythology, Hel is the name of Loki’s daughter and also of her kingdom. The evil dead and those who die of disease or old age come to her. See the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 3 and 34.

Chapter 49
The influenza (Spanish Flu) pandemic of 1918-1920 killed hundreds of thousands in the UK. It infected a quarter of the world’s population and may have resulted in more than 50 million deaths.

Chapter 51
Women in England, Wales and Scotland received the vote on the same terms as men (over the age of 21) in 1928. It wasn’t lowered to 18 until 1970.

Chapter 53
Hill House is a B&B on Howle Hill, close to Ross On Wye. It also appears as the main location in the 9th book of the Wyrdwolf series: Blood Magic.