House of Angels by Brian John, Greencroft Books 2002.
ISBN 978-0-905559 81 0. A5 paperback, 432 pp, £7.99.
Published 1st November 2002. Reprinted 2004, 2009.
Total copies sold (all editions): 9,000.
The ruin of Carningli Lodge, which provided the inspiration for the location of Plas Ingli in the novels
Part adventure, part romance, part tragedy, this has been described by reviewers as a splendidly imagined tale and a compulsive read.
Martha Morgan, the beautiful young mistress of the Plas Ingli estate, is warned that trouble is brewing for her family. She tries to carry on with her life - but then she receives the most terrible news that any young wife can imagine. Despair threatens to overwhelm Martha, but she has many responsibilities and must live up to expectations.
Little by little, with help from her family and from some of the more colourful local characters, she sets out to prove that she is more than a match for the scoundrels who have committed an appalling crime. The villains seek the gold hidden somewhere on the estate, and they have plans for Martha too. But she has a mind of her own, and she is very angry......
From a technical point of view, this is the novel that gives Brian the greatest satisfaction, since there are five different storylines woven tightly together. During the writing, great concentration was needed to make sure that there were no loose ends at the end...... and just enough openings for character and story development in later novels.
A Night of Delirium
The full story of Martha Morgan's life came to Brian during a night of delirium on Gran Canaria in 1999, after he had picked up a nasty virus on the flight from London. The full narrative, complete with characters, places, twists and turns in the plots, and even detailed conversations came into his head and stayed there until it was all written down. He still feels, to this day, that the story was a gift, but he has no idea where it came from!
At first, he thought that there would be one tale to tell, but when he had finished work on On Angel Mountain Martha was still a teenager, and there was a large part of her life still inside his head and waiting to get out. The first book was an instant success, and by popular demand Brian kept on writing, thinking that maybe there would be a trilogy. But after Dark Angel there was still plenty to say, and so he kept going. At the latest count, there are eight volumes describing Martha's adventures and misadventures -- and exploring various facets of her character as she gets older and more eccentric.
Brian says that it has been a great joy to work with a long story where there was no storyline to invent. That was there from the beginning, inside his head. All he had to do, as an author, was to devise the most effective means of creating a satisfying reading experience for those who put down good money for their copies of the books. From the look of the reviews, and the size of the fanmail box, he seems to have succeeded in that.