Midnight's Pentagram

Book 5 in the Wyrdwolf series

Book 5 in the Wyrdwolf series
When Isolde's grandsire comes to stay, he brings along trouble in the shape of her aunt Trudi. 

Gradually Trudi drives everyone from the house, including Izzy's mate, Michael. As she tries to sort out the problems her aunt creates in her domestic life, Izzy fails to realise there is a far more sinister occupation taking place - as someone tries to take over her soul. 

Shocked to find she cannot even act as a lawspeaker, Isolde is isolated. Then her children are attacked. To find out who is doing this to her she has to find a way to free herself from a threat from a ghost. That means tracking through the Greek werewolf community to uncover old wounds which lead her back to a member of her own household and the childhood of a colleague.

With Declan in police custody and Izzy drained of energy, she and Michael race against time to prevent her death and protect their children. With or without Declan - and with the odds stacked against them - they have to face their most difficult battle yet.

The fifth book in the Wyrdwolf series draws on Islamic mythology and folklore, a ghost story, the history of modern Cyprus, ancient Greek mythology and folklore and feline psychology. Set in the borderlands of England and South Wales.

Midnight's Pentagram - on sale in Kindle or print editions, via Amazon.

  • series number: Book #5
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  • True BitsIf you want to know which of the folklore and history in the books is true

True Bits in the book

Chapter 1
In Heathen mythology, there are nine worlds.

Chapter 2
Host and guest honour (behaviour) was important in pre-Christian Heathen culture.

In Heathen mythology, Ragnarok is a series of events that signal the end of the gods.

Chapter 3
Chouchou is a French endearment meaning ‘little cabbage’. It’s used for children and lovers.

Brownie is the Scots name for a popular type of fay that crops up widely in European folklore – the house dweller that tidies the house, milks the cows and mends clothes or shoes. They are generally below normal human height.

Chapter 5
The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army.

Chapter 6
Houston, we have a problem is a popular misquote of a communication between an Apollo 13 astronaut and the NASA Mission Control Center (Houston).

Chapter 7
Greek Cypriot is the name given to people from Cyprus of Greek heritage.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974.

The double-headed axe was an important cult symbol in the Minoan culture of ancient Crete. It is associated only with goddesses in that culture. The symbol was used from the 1970s as a feminist and lesbian symbol in North America and Western Europe. The word labrys is of disputed origin.

Chapter 8
SAS officers tend to do a tour of duty in the regiment whereas other ranks may stay for years.

Chapter 9
Coat-trailing (British slang) = A disingenuous act intended to provoke a desired response.

The fehu rune is the letter ‘f’ and the first letter of Freya’s name.

Chapter 10
In Heathen mythology, Freyja's steed is a boar. The tale of her riding him is in the Poetic Edda, Hyndluljóð.

 Miami has a large community of Haitians. Haiti is known for Vodou. The Gede are the spirits of the graveyard. They are fond of flamboyant clothes, bawdy language, sex, smoking and drinking.

The 1968 film Bullitt had a car chase in San Francisco. The one in The Italian Job (1969) took place in Turin, and Paris was the location in Ronin (1998) and The Bourne Identity (2002).

Chapter 11
Deers shed their antlers in the early winter in the UK. New growth doesn’t begin until the spring.

In Heathen mythology, the goddess Freya has a cloak of falcon feathers she uses to take falcon shape. See the Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal 1.

Chapter 13
Declan’s tee-shirt slogan is a reference to the popular 1997 science-fiction film Men in Black.

Chapter 14
Izzy’s vision is drawn from Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

Firehome is my rendition of Muspelheim or Muspell, one of the Nine Worlds in Heathen mythology.

Désolé (French) = sorry.

According to Christian folklore, an incubus is a male demon who comes to women in the night for sex. Succubus is the female equivalent. There are similar creatures in other mythologies and the folklore of other cultures.

Chapter 15
William Blake wrote The Sick Rose.

All the better to eat you with is said by the wolf in the European fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.

Chapter 16
The information about thornapple and aconite is true.

Little things please little minds is a proverb.

Chapter 17
The title is an allusion to The Stepford Wives, a 1972 satirical thriller by Ira Levin in which the housewives of Stepford are replaced by submissive robots.

The tale of Black Vaughan’s bloodhound is Herefordshire folklore and was probably the source of the Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles. Black Vaughan’s heir married a Baskerville.

In Heathen mythology, a human being comprises many parts. The fetch (ON fylgja, Anglo Saxon fæcce) is one. The belief that a person sees their fetch before they die appears in later European folklore about doppelgangers.

There is a great deal of folklore in the UK of supernatural black dogs.

Chapter 20
The Vivian the Fay (La Fée Vivian) was loved by Merlin. Arthurian legend and Breton folklore ties them to Broceliande.

Michael’s French transport options are accurate for 2010. The tunnel is under the English Channel.

Simon is exaggerating. The oldest English title is Earl of Arundel, which dates back to the 12th century. There have only been thirty-six earls.

Lewis Carroll wrote Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. The White Queen says “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”

Bibi is an affectionate term for one’s paternal grandmother, used in south Iran.

In Islamic and pre-Islamic folklore, the jinn can possess people and often take the form of a black animal.

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.” Sunan Abi Dawud 6 (Kitab Al-Taharah) states “These privies are frequented by the jinns and devils. So when anyone amongst you goes there, he should say: ‘I seek refuge in Allah from male and female devils.’”

Bismillah is the first word of the Quran. Hadith (Tirmidhi 606) commands a Muslim to say Bismillah before entering the toilet for protection from the jinn.

Simon refers to surat (chapter) 23 (sūrat l-mu'minūn) of the Quran, verse 97.

Chapter 21
In Heathen mythology, Ran is the 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.

The word lycanthropy comes from the Greek words for wolf (lukos) and man (anthros). The name of the mythological King Lykaon may derive from lukos.

Black Ops is a military term for the use of propaganda in warfare.

Ancient Athens held a festival to Dionysos every winter.

The Heathen festival of Yule may have been observed for twelve days in England. The 9th century Laws of King Alfred number 43 gave freemen the right to take twelve days at Yule.

In 2010, Turkey was officially a secular state.

What Declan says about the recent history of Cyprus is true.

Revenge was important in ancient Athens and possibly other Greek city-states.

Chapter 22
Declan’s quotes are always real.

Caveat emptor (Latin) = buyer beware, which means the responsibility for checking the purchase is suitable and sound lies with the buyer.

Chapter 23
The SAS generally address senior ranks as ‘boss’.

Chapter 25

Slainte mhaith (Irish Gaelic) = good health. One of the standard responses is slainte mhor (great health).

In Heathen mythology, Loki Laufeyjarson is unique for having a matronymic surname rather than a patronymic. Laufey is his mother. He is named this way several times in the Prose Edda.

Islay and Speyside are types of Scotch malt whisky.

Chapter 29
In Heathen mythology, Hel is both a goddess and the ruler of a kingdom that bears her name. She is Loki’s daughter. The wolf Fenrir is her brother. See Prose Edda Gylfaginning 34.

Chapter 30
Famagusta was the main tourist city in Cyprus before the Turkish invasion in 1974. Varosha was the modern tourist area. It was fenced off and entry was forbidden to the public. It was still a ghost town in 2018.

What Dirk says about the history of Karmi and Cyprus is true.

Apostolides v Orams is a landmark legal case decided in the European Court of Justice April 2009. It enabled British courts to enforce Cypriot judicial decisions upholding the property rights of Cypriots forced out during the invasion. The Court of Appeal in England decided in favour of Apostolides in January 2010. Cherie Blair (wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair) represented the British buyers of the property.

District 6 in Cape Town was razed from 1966 to 1980 and is left unbuilt as a memorial to the destruction.

Chapter 32
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.

Chapter 33
The Welsh is authentic. In the Welsh pedigree books, Thomas is described as lord of Hergest, Blethvaugh, Nash and Llaneinion.

The information about Thomas Vaughan and his family (here and later) is true. He and his wife are buried in St Mary’s Church in Kington. The folklore about the ghost Black Vaughan comes from The Folklore of Herefordshire by E M Leather.

Chapter 34
The Marches are English counties which border Wales and adjoining areas of Wales.

Siôn Hir (Welsh) = John the Tall

The story about Elen Gethin shooting her cousin is true. She married Thomas Vaughan and had a family. There are indications it was an affectionate marriage.

In 2010 the Departmental Gendarmerie was known as the Whites. A chef d'escadron (known as commandant in the urban police) is roughly equivalent to a superintendent in the UK police force.  

An arrondissement is a French administrative area, usually a subdivision of a commune (in a city) or a department (roughly equivalent to a UK county). The Departmental Gendarmerie is organised by arrondissement. In Brittany, the HQ is in Rennes.

Chapter 36
Westhope Common exists as described although there is no chair for Odhin. The Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons are in south Wales.

Chapter 37
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.

Chapter 39
The quote is from Rudyard Kipling’s poem The Ladies, which ends: For the Colonel's Lady an' Judy O'Grady/ Are sisters under their skins!

Chapter 40
The temperature of a body is one of the leading factors in determining the estimated time of death. The commonest formula is that a body loses 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit per hour.

Chapter 42
In Heathen mythology, Odhin has one eye and wears a broad-brimmed hat.

Prat (British slang) = someone who acts stupidly. An idiot.

Chapter 43
The story about Lykaon is from Greek mythology. However, he and his sons were transformed for the rest of their lives. The nine years penalty was imposed on any man changed into a wolf at the sacrifice to Zeus Lykaios. See Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 2. 1 – 6

I’ve twisted the story about his daughter, Kallisto. The bits from Greek mythology are that she was seduced by Zeus, transformed into a bear, bore a son named Arkas and was hunted as a beast. I created her second son, Kallilykos. The name is a mix of Kalli + lukos (wolf). Kakolykos means bad wolf.

Chapter 46
Hergest Court was a centre of Welsh culture in the time of Thomas and Elen Vaughan. Thomas is responsible for the preservation of the Red Book of Hergest. It is the basis for The Mabinogi, the greatest single book of Welsh mythology.

Chapter 47
The Pentagram was an identity symbol and philosophical foundation for the Pythagoreans. The classical elements are assigned to the points. These refer to the concepts in ancient Greece of earth, water, air, fire, and aether (or spirit in some modern occult practices).

infra dig (Latin) = beneath one’s dignity.

‘This is a wand’ is a play on the quote “That's not a knife… THAT's a knife” from the 1986 movie Crocodile Dundee

The Seal of Solomon is the signet ring attributed to King Solomon in medieval Jewish tradition and in Islamic and Western occultism. It usually depicted as a hexagram (star of David) although sometimes in pentagram form. The ring gave Solomon the power to command jinn. There is no Lesser Seal.

Chapter 48
In the medieval feudal system, the demesne was all the land which was retained by a lord of the manor for his personal use.

Ap/Ab (Welsh) = son of.

Withal (archaic English) = in addition.

Oyer and terminer (British legal term) = a royal commission empowering a judge to hear and determine criminal cases. Thomas Vaughan had the power in 1467, in North Wales.

A cantref was a medieval Welsh land division. Each cantref had a court.

Threescore (archaic English) = three twenties (sixty).

King’s forest = Forest of Dean, which was a personal hunting ground of kings.

Hafren (Welsh) = River Severn and Gŵy (Welsh) = River Wye.

Fletching is the fin-shaped aerodynamic stabilization device attached to arrows, traditionally made from feathers.

Elen Gethin erected an alabaster tomb for her husband and herself in St Mary’s Church in Kington. It is still there.

Petit jury (British legal term) = trial jury.

Assizes were periodic courts held around England and Wales until 1972. Their main work was to try criminal cases.

Chapter 49
In Greek mythology, Cyprus is Aphrodite’s birthplace.

Constantinople (modern Istanbul) was sacked by the Muslim Ottomans in 1453, fifteen years before Vaughan’s death. Saracen was a term for Muslim Arabs during the Crusades. It was later extended to cover all Muslims.

Villein = serf or someone tied to a particular farm.

Euripedes’ Bacchae is an ancient Greek play about Dionysos.

Fenella Fielding appeared in Carry On Screaming! in 1966 with a famous scene in which she asked if she could smoke.

Chapter 50
Ghazi (Arabic) = raider. Katir (Arabic) = a dangerous person of significance.

In European folklore, a will-o'-the-wisp, will-o'-wisp is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travellers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. Also known as jack-o'-lantern

Chapter 52
Medieval guilds could impose punishments on those who violated guild rules.

Goodwife was a polite form of address for women in England from around 1325 to the 18th century.

The practice of taking snuff didn’t become popular in England until at least a century after Thomas Vaughan died. Snuff boxes appeared later than that.

In Heathen mythology, Loki took the form of a seal in a fight. (Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal 16).

The falconry terms are true.

Chapter 53
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. The Dionysiac rite culminated in the maenads tearing apart a living animal and eating it.

Good hunting! comes from The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

Bulls were sacrificed to Dionysos. He is linked with bull imagery.

Chapter 54
n’est-ce pas vrai? (French) = isn’t it true?

Non, ma cherie. Jamais pas (French) = no, darling. Never.

Chapter 55
Sobranie cocktail cigarettes are multi-coloured.

Alfar (Icelandic) = elves.

ménage à trois (French) = a domestic arrangement in which three people have joint romantic and/or sexual relations.

Chapter 56
Je ne pense pas…(French) = I don’t think…

Chimerism exists.

Ayah (Hindi) = nanny. The term comes from the British Empire when British families hired local women as a female servant or maid.

Chapter 57
European folklore contains many tales of the fay taking human children.

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.

Broceliandais (French) = the inhabitants of Broceliande.

Bretons have a separate history, language and national anthem.

Bien sûr (French) = of course.

Chapter 58
Breizh (Breton) = Brittany.

Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point (French) = The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing. Written by Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century French mathematician.

Chapter 60
Swinging is sexual activity in which those attending a swingers event have sex with each other without regard to existing partnerships.

In British/Irish Celtic mythology, fairy animals have red ears.