True Bits in the book
Chouchou is a French endearment meaning ‘little cabbage’. It’s used for children and lovers.
In 2010, BlackBerries were still the leading make of phones with email.
The ferry to Brittany was limited during the winter in 2010.
Greek Cypriot is the name given to people from Cyprus of Greek heritage.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974.
Although the double axe was an important cultic symbol in the Minoan culture of ancient Crete, it’s doubtful
it was called a labrys. That word was from the Lydian cultures of Asia Minor.
The double-headed axe was used from the 1970s as a feminist and lesbian symbol in North America and Western Europe.
The fehu rune is our letter ‘f’: the first letter of Freya’s name.
In Heathen mythology, Hildesvini (‘battle swine’) is Freyja's boar. The tale of her riding him is in the Poetic Edda,
In 2010, 4% of Miami’s population was Haitian.
In January 2010 a severe earthquake devastated Haiti.
Haiti is known for Vodou. The gods of Vodou are known as Loa and fall into several different families. One of those families is the Gede
(Ghede, Guédé), gods of the graveyard. Baron Samedi prominent among the Gede. He’s well known for flamboyant clothes and bawdy language.
Pleasure is his signature, especially sex, smoking and drinking.
Movie car chases have been located in those cities.
‘Firehome’ is my rendition of Muspelheim or Muspell, one of the Nine Worlds in Heathen mythology.
Incubi and succubi were a preoccupation of Christian demonology from the 4th century until early modern times.
An incubus is a male demon who comes to women in the night for sex. A succubus is the female equivalent. There are similar creatures in other mythologies and the folklore of other cultures.
William Blake wrote The Sick Rose.
The information about thornapple and aconite is true.
Orphic and Finnish myth have the world created from the contents of an egg.
The tale of Black Vaughan’s bloodhound is real folklore and probably was the source of the Sherlock Holmes story. Black Vaughan’s heir
did marry a girl from the local Baskerville family.
The Heathen view of the composition of a human being is complex. There are many parts. The fetch (ON
fylgja, Anglo Saxon fæcce) is one.
There is a great deal of folklore in the UK of supernatural black dogs.
Korrigan are Breton fay. They are something between gnomes and small dwarves.
Breizh is Breton for Brittany, which is the Celtic part of France. Broceliande is in Brittany. Bretons have a strong sense of Celtic identity that makes then different from the rest of France.
The E50 is a main east-west European route between France and Russia.
Bibi is an affectionate term for one’s paternal grandmother, used in south Iran.
In Islam, Hadith (Sahih Bukhari 4:533) states “Cover your utensils and tie your water skins, and close your doors and
keep your children close to you at night, as the Jinns spread out at such time and snatch things away.”
‘Bismillah’ is the first word of the Quran. Hadith (Tirmidhi 606) commands a Muslim to say Bismillah before entering the toilet,
as protection from the jinn.
Simon refers to surat (chapter) 23 (surat l-mu'minun) of the Quran, verse 97.
Habbaba is a Saudi word for one’s paternal grandmother.
In Heathen mythology, Ran is goddess of the sea. Those who die at sea go to her hall in the afterlife.
What Declan says about the original Kallisto and the Kallikantzaroi comes from ancient Greek myth and more recent Greek folklore.
‘Black ops’ is a military term for the use of propaganda in warfare.
Ancient Athens held a festival to Dionysios every winter.
It’s possible the Heathen festival of Yule was followed for twelve days in England. The 9th century
Laws of King Alfred number 43 gave freeman the right to take twelve days at Yule.
In 2010, Turkey was still officially a secular state.
What Declan says about the recent human history of Cyprus is true.
Declan’s quotes are real.
The SAS generally address senior ranks as ‘boss’.
In Heathen mythology and nomenclature, Loki Laufeyjarson is unique in that his surname is a matronymic, not a patronymic. Laufey is his mother. He is named this way several times in the Prose Edda.
In Heathen mythology, Hel is both a goddess and the rule of a kingdom that bears her name. Hel is Loki’s daughter, one of three children he sired on the ettin Angrboda. The wolf Fenris is another of those children.
See Prose Edda Gylfaginning 34.
Before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Famagusta was the main tourist city. Varosha was the modern tourist area there. Its Greek
inhabitants fled during the invasion and it has remained fenced off, as a ghost town. Entry is forbidden to the public. This is still the situation in 2018.
The history of Karmi, and of Cyrpus, is true.
The case Dirk refers to is Apostolides v Orams. It was a landmark legal case decided in the European Court of Justice on 28 April 2009. The ruling was that British courts were able to enforce the judicial decisions made in Cyprus, upholding the property rights of Cypriots forced out during the invasion. It was finally decided in the Court of Appeal in England which decided in favour of Meletios Apostolides on 19 January 2010. Cherie Blair represented the British buyers of the property.
The difference between canid and felid physical senses is true, as is the feline psychology of being attracted by movement.
There is a dance of the clockwork doll in the ballet Coppelia.
The Vaughans were a powerful family on both sides of a shifting border in the Welsh Marches of the 15th century. Thomas Vaughan bought Hergest Court,
of which only a fraction is left. One of the two tales of his death is that he died at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross during the Wars of the Roses,
in his late sixties. He and his wife are buried in Kington church. The tomb has been re-located within the church several times. The folklore about his ghost comes from
The Folklore of Herefordshire by E M Leather.
In the Welsh pedigree books, Thomas is described as lord of Hergest, Blethvaugh, Nash and Llaneinion.
The history of the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar is true.
The story about Elen Gethin is real. She married Thomas Vaughan and had a family. There are indications it was an affectionate marriage.
What’s written about the organisation of the French Police in 2010 is true. The Departmental Gendarmerie are known as “the Whites”. I made up the Gendarmerie Nationale Magique/White Magic.
A chef d'escadron is roughly equivalent to a police superintendent in the UK police force. However, the gendarmerie are a quasi-military force.
Onions is a scurrilous French epithet.
An arrondissement is a French administrative area, usually a subdivision of a commune (in a city) or a department (very roughly equivalent to a UK county). The Departmental Gendarmerie are organised by arrondisment. In Brittany, the HQ is in Rennes.
Black Vaughan’s ghost took the shape of a bull to terrorise Kington.
The information about Black Vaughan while alive is true.
Westhope Common exists as described, though there is no chair for Odhin.
Jahannum is the Islamic version of Christian hell.
Ifrit are held to be the most powerful jinn.
The meaning of Halim is true.
Umai (also Umay) is the chief goddess in Tengriism (the old religion of Turkey). Umai is her Turkish name. She is a protector of women and children.
The story about Lykaon is from Greek mythology. However, he and his sons were transformed for the rest of their lives. Various sources relate that since Lykaon, a man was changed into a wolf at the sacrifice to Zeus Lykaios and stayed that way for nine years. See Pausanias,
Description of Greece 8. 2. 1 - 6
I’ve twisted the story about his daughter, Kallisto. There are various versions, but the most well-known is that Zeus seduced her and Artemis turned her into a bear. She had a son named Arkos. I created her second son, KalliLykos. The name is a mix of the first part of his dam’s name and ‘lykos’ meaning wolf. ‘Kakolykos’ means ‘bad wolf’.
Hergest Court was a centre of Welsh culture in the time of Thomas and Elen Vaughan. Thomas was offered a captured library by his brother. The library included the manuscript now know as the Red Book of Hergist. It is the basis for the Mabinogion, the greatest single book of Welsh mythology.
The Pentagram was an identity symbol and philosophical foundation for the Pythagoreans.
The Seal of Solomon is the signet ring attributed to King Solomon in medieval Jewish tradition and in Islamic and Western occultism. It was often depicted in either a pentagram or hexagram (‘Star of David’) shape. This ring gave Solomon the power to command jinn, or to speak with animals. I invented the Lesser Seal.
Oyer and terminer is an Anglo-French legal term which means "to hear and to determine" i.e. the judge could ask witnesses to testify before a jury. It was one of the commissions by which a judge of assize sat. Thomas Vaughan is recorded as holding a commission of oyer and terminer in 1467, in North Wales.
A cantref was a medieval Welsh land division. Each cantref had its own court.
Elen Gethin erected an alabaster tomb for her husband and herself, in Kington church. It is still there.
Euripedes’ Bacchae is an ancient Greek play about Dionysos.
The Carry On series consists of 31 classic British comedy motion pictures (1958–92). Fenella Fielding appreaed in one in 1966 with a famous scene in which she asked if she could smoke.
Ghazi means raider in Arabic. Katir means a person of significance, dangerous or disruptive.
Medieval guilds could impose punishments on those who violated guild rules.
The practice of taking snuff didn’t became popular in England until the 17th century, at least a century after Thomas Vaughan died. Snuff boxes didn;’t appear untilt he end of the century.
In Heathen mythology, Loki fought his fellow god Heimdall in the form of a seal (Prose Edda
The falconry terms are true.
In Greek mythology, Euio was a cry used in Dionysiac revels. Maenads were the female followers of Dionysos. They wore crowns of vine leaves. Dionysos was usually accompanied by leopards and satyrs, as described. The Dionysiac rite culminated in the maenads tearing apart a living animal and eating it. In the story of Pentheus, the sacrificial animal was a bull, which was sacred to Dionysos.
Jamais pas means ‘never’ in French.
France conquered Algeria in the 19th century. Despite independence in 1962, Algeria remains the second largest French speaking country in the world.
Tréhorenteuc lies in the heart of Broceliande. The tale of the priest is true.
Bretons identify strongly as a Celtic country, which differes from the rest of France.
Bien sûr is French for ‘of course’.
Cyprus is Aphrodite’s island.