The Queen Stone exists and looks as described.
I invented '
Staggers', based on one or two similar restaurants in Herefordshire.
Sheep badgers exist in the Forest of Dean. It's a privilege rather than a right, and can be traced back 500 years.
Idesanight is an Anglo Saxon rendition of Bede's '
Mothers' Night'. Bede (a 9th century monk) placed it as occurring on Christmas Eve,
though modern Heathens tend to observe it the night before the winter solstice.
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 exists and is faithfully described.
'Box 500' and variations of that are names 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.
The information about limited companies and Companies House is based on existing UK practice and law.
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.
The story of Loki conceiving Sleipnir is given in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 42. Loki as a milkmaid is a gibe made by
Odhin in the Prose Edda Lokasenna 23.
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 UK folklore.
In some Irish mythology, Fin Bheara is named as the high king of the Daoine Sidhe. That should make him the ruler of Tir Na Nog
(Tír na nÓg).
I borrowed 'morning prayers' from journalism. It was a phrase used by at least one national newspaper in the UK for its morning editorial
There is a 'window' during which humans find it easier to learn a language. When this book was originally written, it was assumed to be
before age 7. Research published in 2018 extended that to age 17.
The Channel 4 programme called Feral Children that included the case of Oxana Malaya was made in 2006, not 1999.
Longleat is an English stately home and the seat of the Marquesses of Bath. Since 1966 it has housed a Safari Park attraction and so
specialised in exotic animals.
Brownies are a form of hobgoblin – tweaked by Tolkien into hobbit. 'Hob' is also found in folklore.
Loki's claim of siring a child on Tyr's wife can be found in the Poetic Edda Lokasenna 40. However, the child was a boy and
nothing is known about the wife. I made up the wyrdwolf origin myth.
Chimerism exists in humans and other animals.
The 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.
Trolls come from Scandinavian folklore. They are generally portrayed as extremely stupid. In folklore they turn to stone in sunlight.
'Ettin' is a reconstructed older form of Anglo Saxon Eoten, meaning giant or monster e.g. Grendel in Beowulf. Ettin would be the English
form of the Old Norse Jötunn, though the Jötunn in the Eddas were not necessarily either monsters or giants. They were a race of beings who
intermarried with the gods.
The makers of Brisingamen were dwarves. The story of how Freya obtained Brisingamen from them is related in Sorla þattr eða Heðins saga
ok Hogna from the extended version Olafs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta found in the Icelandic Flateyjarbok manuscript.
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.
Undine is a name coined by Paraselsus in the 17th century. These days it generally refers to water nymphs, called nixies or necks in
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 and the Romans called her Sabrina.
Many shamanic healers (and others) speak of having spirit guides, which often take the shape of an animal.
Freya was known for having a cloak made of falcon's feathers that enabled shape-changing.
Thomas the Rhymer was a real man living in the borders between England and 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 the white hind and hart coming from Elfhame to take him back there, which he claimed came from folklore.
Seven league boots appear in European folklore as a great way for the poor to travel rapidly.
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.
Translation : Ah, oui. Mais il y a deux – ah, pardonnez-moi = Oh, yes. But there are two – oh, forgive me.
Although December 1999 saw the rare event of a full moon and the solstice occurring at the same time, the actual timing
of Yule was
, not the previous evening.
The full moon also occurred on 22nd,
Translation : Pourquoi pas blanche pour la naissance? = Why not white for a birth?
Bonne idée – good idea!
In 1999, The Day of the Jackal still seemed to be the apex of creating a false identity. There were fewer financial safeguards at that time.
I made up the tale of Isretha's children. You can find it at
The Old Norse word for fetch and a type of female guardian spirit was the same as the word for placenta. Scandinavian folklore imbues
the placenta with special abilities. It could be the newborn's fetch (a particular sort of familiar spirit) or token 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 (?later)
addition is that a female child would be a mara.
Ginnungagap is taken from Heathen mythology, as is Niflheim (Misthome is the English translation).
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. No ages are assigned to them. Urdh means 'wyrd' and she bears the same name as the holy well under the
World Tree. More information on the Norns and the well can be found in the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning 15.
Births were thought to be attended by ordinary norns, who determined the fate of the newborn child.
It is rare for the winter solstice to coincide with a full moon. 1999 was the 9th time it occurred since 1793. It happened again in
2010 and the next will be 2094. (Source: Farmer's Almanac)
The tagging procedure for babies was introduced in the NHS from 2002. I cheated by putting it in 1999.
In 1994, the abduction of newborn Abbie Humphries from a Nottingham hospital made worldwide news.
Despite Valerie's assumptions, Muslim drivers did not suspend CDs from their rear view mirrors. These were plain round discs with a
verse from the Koran on them.
Valerie's explanation of the grammar of jinn/jinni/jinniyah is true.
The Heathen gods comprise two tribes: the Aesir and the Vanir. Both included ettins, through marriage or adoption.
Valerie's real clothes are a genuine form of medieval dress for a woman in Turkey.
'Bey' is a Turkish form of address that denotes respect. 'Bayan' is the feminine.
An aamar or al amar is a type of jinn. Amar are more likely to live in houses with humans than other, more hostile, forms of jinn.
Ordnance Survey map OL14 is of the Wye Valley. 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 faithfully described. The ferry exists, as does Biblins youth camp and the limestone
caves. One is called King Arthur's Cave.
The information about the King'
s Shropshire Light Infantry is true.
The internet as we know it today didn'
t exist in 1999. Websites were static and most business still conducted via snailmail,
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.
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.
Clearwell Caves exist. They have been mined for iron ore for over 4000 years.
Dendrochronology exists. Michael's information about tree rings is true.
Michael's information about identical and fraternal twins of different sexes is true.
Fred and Rose West were serial killers operating from Gloucester in England, from 1967 to 1987. West claimed to have buried
several bodies in Herefordshire.
Immature female pigs are called gilts. So are a certain type of financial product that is regarded as reliable.
Vandna's information about investments is real.
The King's Shropshire Light Infantry was based in Shrewsbury.
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.
The tale of how Tyr lost his hand is told in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 34. The allusion to Loki bedding Tyr's wife is in the
Poetic Edda Lokasenna 40, though she bore a son. Neither the wife nor the son is named.
The house described is Hill House, a B&B on Howle Hill, close to Ross On Wye. It also appears as the
main location in the 9th book of the series: Blood Magic
The influenza (Spanish Flu) pandemic of 1918-1920 killed hundreds of thousands in the UK.