Twin Stars

Volume 1 of

The Gannet Quartet

One evening in very early autumn, as they came down to the estuary to wash away the day’s sun and sweat, Bhòid saw, dark against the sunset, a flock of gannets diving for fish. Hundreds of birds spearing out of the air faster than the eye could follow, the water spurting from the gilded waves as they plunged beneath the surface.
     He watched Sulaire stand on the shore, a contained energy quivering through her whole body, her eyes lit with the glow of late sun on water. She raised her arms like an ascending bird, ducked and dived, leaped across the sand—a mirror dance to the wild sky-dance of the birds.
     He stood transfixed.
     Then the sun dipped behind the distant hills and the moment was over.
     Something in Sulaire was changed, something in her eyes, the way she held herself, balanced somewhere between awe and joy, and Bhòid saw that she and her totem had found each other. 

The Gannet Quartet is set in Scotland in the Mesolithic Period (Middle Stone-Age). The four volumes follow the lives of Bhòid and his twin sister Sulaire, young thrall members of the Beaver Clan, who survive a harsh environment and separation from each other to become the first settlers of Eilean—the Island of Bute, or Eilean Bhòid in Gaelic.  

Volume I, Twin Stars

Bhòid and Sulaire live in a very hierarchical culture. Born as thralls, it seems impossible for either of them to fulfil their talents. Longing to become a Hunter, a leader amongst his clan, Bhòid contends with Athru, the bullying son of the Headman. From an early age, Sulaire shows herself to be a gifted Healer, but the Custom of the Bear Tribe and the jealousy of the Wise Woman Ead are against her. Together and separately, the twins face many challenges — from the winter Wolf-Guard to Sulaire’s near death from a wasting fever. When Bhòid injures Athru and has to flee for his life, the twins must cling onto hope that one day they will find each other again. 

Publication – August 2023

Volume II, Water-stone

(Forthcoming)

Sulaire weighs the cost of pursuing both her love for Ruad and her healing powers. Meanwhile, Bhòid must take on the heavy responsibility of leading the Gannet Clan when they are threatened by the larger Aurochs Clan.

 

Publication – 2024

Volume III, Fetch of Wind

Volume IV, Flight of the Gannets

As Sulaire’s headstrong daughter Iolaire, the Eagle,  grows up, she chafes against the restrictions that the Custom places on women. How can Bhòid teach her that her gifts of courage, athletic skill and a sense of strategy are not enough? Can she learn the self-discipline that might help the Gannets to face the growing threat fro the Aurochs Clan?

(In progress)

Eilean Bhòid–The Isle of Bute

When I was a young child, my father commanded a submarine-rescue ship based at the naval station in Rothesay, the ancient historical capital of Eilean Bhòid, The Isle of Bute. I spent my early school years in a room overlooking the Clyde, watching the ferries and naval vessels coming and going. Although I have lived most of my adult life in Australia. Bute has retained its place in my heart, and a visit in 2018 provided the impetus for The Gannet Quartet.

Life in the Stone Age

Although there has been a lot of research into Mesolithic climate, vegetation, animals and technology, archaeological evidence remains patchy. As these people lived in thatched houses rather than in caves, their artefacts have not survived as well as those of the earlier Paleolithic cave-dwellers. Little is known of what they thought and believed, so the story of Bhòid’s Clan is an imaginative reconstruction rather than a historical account.