The timing of the qualifying races for the 2016 Rio Olympics
for Rikki’s age group is true.
In Heathen mythology, Bifrost is the rainbow bridge
between Asgard and Midearth. It will break at Ragnarok.
The accents of the Protestant and Catholic communities in
Northern Ireland is often different.
(Northern Irish idiom) = an annoying person
who gets on your nerves.
Neck or nixie is the Germanic name for an undine (water
Gloucester was badly affected by the Severn flood in
Kelpie is the Scots name given to a shape-shifting water
spirit that takes the shape of a horse to drag its victims underwater.
In Heathen mythology, Heimdall signals the start of
Ragnarok by blowing his horn, Gjallarhorn.
Sigils are a type of magic that uses symbols to achieve their
aim. They have been used in Western magic since at least the 17th
century. Modern practice derives largely from the 20th
occultist, Austin Osman Spare. Within the modern practice, sigils can be set to
use third-party attention.
Izzy’s description of Michael’s lesson is a standard modern
method of producing a sigil. Sex can be used to charge one.
Paragraph 13 of the Theft Act 1968 states “Abstracting of
electricity: A person who dishonestly uses without due authority, or
dishonestly causes to be wasted or diverted, any electricity shall on
conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding
five years.” I invented paragraph 13A.
The rain began in the UK in April 2012. There were
numerous floods through the year and the winter of 2012/13 was one of the
stormiest on record.
Wyrd is a Heathen concept related to fate.
(Northern Irish idiom) = good, trustworthy.
Wee is a common adjective in Northern Ireland and
Scotland. It means small. It’s applied to everything and anything, irrespective
In Heathen mythology, Hermoðr was sent to petition Hel
for the release of Baldr. His epic journey is described in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning
is a 1996 film based on a book by Irvine
Cheeky wee get
(Northern Irish idiom) = impudent
and unpleasant person
Florianopolis has some of the best surfing beaches in the
world. Prainha Beach is in Rio.
(French) = good.
(Turkish) = lamb
(French) = grandad.
Although Sweet Angel Ponies don’t exist, bronies do. They
are the male fan base of My Little Pony, a toy franchise owned by the US
Bandages are a sexual fetish in Japan. And probably elsewhere
The Death Star is a fictional mobile space platform and
galactic superweapon featured in the Star Wars franchise.
Loki was also known as Lopt which means something like
‘the airy one’. Skywalker is one of the names given to him by some modern
The Valley of Death is a phrase from the poem The
Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Tennyson. The Brigade rode into
cannonballs and perished.
The information about Banksy and Blek le Rat is true.
The magician is standard to most tarot packs. The image
for that and Scarlett’s Loki card come from Heathen mythology. Lemminkäinen's
mother is from the Kalevala, the Finnish national poem.
Youse (Northern Irish idiom) = you
Rag societies are student charitable organisations. They
are widespread in the United Kingdom. They usually have a week of crazy
fundraising activities each year.
The position, history and regional administration of Denny
Island and the two Holms is true.
Lynette White was murdered in 1988. South Wales Police
charged five black and mixed-race men with the murder, despite the absence of
evidence. Three of the men were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1990. Two
years later the convictions were quashed following a decision that the police
had acted improperly. What Izzy says about the trial of the police is true.
The word hell is taken from the Heathen term for the
realm of the dead. It does not occur in the languages used to write the Bible.
Someone tried to lay claim to Denny island in the early
2000s and prevent it being registered as common land.
Tom Sharpe wrote popular satirical novels in the late 20th
Downton Abbey is a British TV period drama series
(2010 to 2015).
Jenny Greenteeth is a figure in English folklore. A river
hag, similar to Peg Powler or a grindylow.
From December 2013 onwards the Somerset Levels suffered
Aughiskies (Scottish folklore) are the more vicious
version of a kelpie. They eat everything except the liver. All the water
spirits named are attested in the folklore of various countries.
Thing (Anglo Saxon) = assembly. I’ve used it for
the council of a pack.
The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of
the British Army. Their barracks are in Credenhill in Herefordshire.
In Heathen mythology, ulfhednar were similar to
berserkers except they shifted into a wolf rather than a bear.
Disir (Old Norse) = female ancestors.
Ah, bon (French) = really? (sarcasm).
The information about John Dee, Edward Kelley and the Enochian
and Theban scripts, is true.
Lysistrata is a play by Aristophanes, originally
performed in classical Athens in 411 BC. It is a comic account of a woman's
mission to end the war between Greek city-states by denying all men in Greece
Gandalf is the wizard in J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the
In Heathen mythology, Sigird could understand the
language of birds after tasting a dragon’s blood. Prose Edda, Skaldskaparmal
Chicken-on-the-head is one of the curses in the card game
Munchkin, by Steve Jackson and John Kovalic.
Bien sûr (French) = of course!
Black-eyed children are an urban legend of paranormal
creatures that resemble children between the ages of six and sixteen, with pale
skin and black eyes.
Farsi is the Persian language. What Declan says about
Arabic is true.
Netjeru (ancient Egyptian) = gods.
Orlog is a concept from Heathen mythology related to
wyrd. It is primordial law.
Puss in Boots is a European literary fairy tale probably
best known from the 17th-century version written by Charles
Perrault. He appears as a character in the 2004 film Shrek 2. Donkey
appears in the Shrek films as the ogre’s sidekick.
‘A gift for a gift’ is a modern Heathen maxim.
Myrrh was used by the ancient Egyptians for embalming
The Wagon was the name given by ancient Heathens to the
constellation we call the Plough. I made up Urdh’s belt.
The ram-horned snake is from Celtic mythology. It was
often associated with Cernunnos.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the akhu (the
dead who had passed the tests of the underworld) joined the gods as stars. See
the Unas Pyramid Texts spell 245.
The Snow White reference is to the 1937 Walt Disney film.
Red magic – in ancient Egypt, the colour red signified
the Outland and things from it.
Hoist with his own petard is a phrase from William
Shakespeare's play Hamlet. It means a bomb-maker who has been blown up
by his own device.
In Heathen mythology, Ginnungagap is the primal void
between Misthome (Niflheim) and Firehome (Muspelheim).
The general information about Houses of Life is true.
Setnakht emerged from civil war at the end of the 19th
Dynasty to found the 20th Dynasty. His reign was extremely short. He
was the father of Rameses III. The information about the decline of the
kingdoms is true.
Ma’at is an ancient Egyptian goddess. She represents
balance, which was a central concept of Kemetic culture.
The Magic Book of Princess Ahura was written
around 1100BCE. It is one of a cycle of tales about Setne Khaemweset. Setne was
a real person: the fourth son of Ramesses II (13th century BCE). In
the first cycle, he finds a book of powerful magical spells: the Book of
The Egyptologist mentioned by Teazle was Margaret Murray,
better known for her later work The God of the Witches, which was a
significant early influence on Wicca. She was the unofficial assistant to the
famous Egyptologist Flinders Petrie and helped excavate the sacred city of Abydos.
The temple of Seti I at Abydos contains inscriptions dubbed the ‘Helicopter
hieroglyphs’ as they supposedly depict a helicopter and a tank.
During the 19th and 20th dynasties,
Sepermeru was a centre for the 19th Nome. It was one of the chief cult centres
of Set, whose temple there was excavated and identified in the 1980s.
The information from Teazle, Sam and Raphael about the
Setne documents, the Fayum/Fayyum, the canal, Sepermeru, nomes, and the Oxyrhynchus
documents is true.
Big boys' games, big boys' rules is an SAS maxim
about their use of lethal force.
The information about the resolutions of CCTV used for
child protection in 2013 is true.
Kitsune are magical foxes in Japanese mythology. They are
Declan’s comment about shares is a quote from common
Bête noire (French) = black beast. The bane of
Keep your friends close but your enemies closer is
often attributed to various historical sources. It’s a quote from The
Occam’s Razor – the principle that the more assumptions a
theory requires, the less likely it is to be true.
Je m’appelle Isolde Ambrose (French) = my name is
The linoleum quote is from Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
a popular TV series written by Joss Wheldon. It was spoken by the character Xander.
‘I’m Spartacus’ comes from the 1960 film Spartacus,
directed by Stanley Kubrick. The phrase is used by other Roman slaves to
protect the main character.
Veles is a god from Slavic mythology. Otso appears in The
n’est-ce pas (French) = a tag question
Enemy of the State is a 1998 American
action-thriller film directed by Tony Scott. Its theme is the ability to obtain
information about an individual.
Perita (Latin) = skilled, proficient, adept.
The information about ANPR is true.
The author referred to is Tony Geraghty. The book was The
I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched were
popular American TV shows in the 1960s. One was about a jinniyah and the other
about a witch.
What is said about the jinn and mirrors is true.
Although 80% of a badger’s diet is earthworms, they will eat
small mammals including rabbits.
The legality issues of homosexual relationships in the UK
are authentic. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 lowered the age
of consent for gay sexual relationships from 21 to 18 in the UK in 1994.
Equality of age of consent was finally achieved in 2001. The Civil Partnership Act
2004 permitted single-sex couples to register their relationships legally.
Same-sex marriage was finally enabled in England and Wales from March 2014 and
Scotland from December 2014. At the time of publication of this book (Nov
2015), same-sex marriage was not permitted in Northern Ireland.
A bindrune is formed from a combination of other runes on
a single vertical stroke. Prior to modern times, they included only two or
The Book of Thoth is a fable. In ancient Egyptian mythology,
the god Djehuty (Thoth) is a great magician and the inventor of writing.
Flex-foot blades are used by runners. Carbon fibre blades
are superior. The normal route for children to obtain sports-quality blades is
true. LimbPower exists.
The Severn Bore exists. The information about it is true.
Minsterworth near Gloucester is one of the best viewing points. The Qiantang
River in China has the largest bore in the world.
Undergraduates excluded, what Declan says about
Discordianism is true. The ingredients for a Discordian spell are an adaptation
of the Paper Clip Sacrifice from Erisian Ritual Magic II.
The pub The Severn Bore exists.
The Severn Estuary has the third largest tidal range in
the world. The river is tidal as far as Gloucester.
Izzy’s thoughts about keeping a fire going are attested
in folklore in many cultures. The tools she uses were the common ones prior to
matches. Fireplaces replaced hearths that were usually in the centre of the
house. Firedogs (andirons) are devices made of metal which support the
Cluedo (Clue in the US) is a popular board game about
solving a murder.
The Angel of the North is a sculpture designed by Antony
Gormley. It stands 20 metres tall, with wings measuring 54 metres across.
The TARDIS is the transport of Doctor Who, the protagonist
of a BBC TV series. It is stuck in the shape of a British police box.
The age of consent is 14 in several European countries,
including Germany. For changes in the age of consent for homosexual sex in the
UK, see the note to Chapter 38.
TOR and Hushmail existed when this book was written. TOR conceals
a user's location and computer usage from anyone conducting network
surveillance or traffic analysis. Hushmail can convey authenticated, encrypted email.
The finfolk are from the folklore of the Orkney Islands,
situated in northeast Scotland. What is said is authentic folklore.
The information about the Sweet Angel Pony franchise is
largely taken from My Little Pony.
The information about CBIR engines is true.
The Lisa Simpson interpretation of the 2012 Olympics logo
happened. I have not used the authentic logo as it is subject to copyright.
The logo was created by the brand consultancy firm Wolff
Olins. It was unveiled in 2007.
In Heathen mythology, the fetch (Old Norse fylgja)
is part of a person.
Dr John Dee (court magician to Elizabeth I) used a round
scrying mirror made of obsidian.
Gullveig is a mysterious witch in Heathen mythology who
was burnt to death three times by the Aesir family of gods. The event may have led
to a war between the gods. Gullveig may be Freya. The only mention of the story
is in the Poetic Edda Voluspa 21-22.
In Heathen mythology, Vanadis is one of Freya’s titles.
It means something like ‘protective female spirit of the Vanir’. Laufeyjarson is
Loki’s matronymic (surname).
The name ‘Budweiser’ is used in the USA by ABInBev and in
Europe by the Czech companies Budweiser Budvar and Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu.
Mr Tumnus and the lamppost come from The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis.
Emrys (Welsh for Ambrosius) is a name given to Merlin. Ellwood
is an Anglo Saxon surname deriving from a place in the Forest of Dean. It means
old wood or elder wood.
Cantrefs were medieval Welsh administrative areas.
In Heathen mythology, fetches, the idesa (Old Norse:
disir) and hamingjar (the word I have rendered as luckwives) are female
protective spirits. There also ordinary norns in addition to the three Great
Norns. According to the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 15, they were descended
from gods, elves or dwarves. All norns shaped lives.
In Heathen mythology, Ratatosk is a squirrel who runs up
and down the world tree Yggdrasil.
Beating the Bounds is an ancient English ritual that
seems to have its roots in ancient Heathen practices of land taking. Wassailing
apple orchards on Twelfth Night is an old custom in southern England.
A Dalek is a creature from BBC’s Doctor Who TV
series. A Zorg ZF-1 is from the 1997 film The Fifth Element. Wolverine
is a character in Marvel Comics.
A form of toga dyed solid purple was used to clothe
images of the gods in the Roman religion.
Domine Mars (Latin) = Lord Mars
Parcae (Latin) = the Fates. Morta chose the manner and
time of death.
Roman citizens could appeal to a tribune about the
decisions of a magistrate. The tribune was obliged to determine the legality of
the action before a magistrate could proceed.
The original version of Gone with the Wind was
released in the UK in 1940.
In Heathen mythology, the three Norns mend the damage
done to the world tree, Yggdrasil.
The flooding in Somerset continued during January and
February 2014. Two councils declared a major incident. The army was called in
The information about the effects of the storms in early
2014 is true.
SBS = Special Boat Squad – the Royal Navy’s special
The information about the Fastnet race is true.
In December 2014, Moonrise was about an hour before