When a new witch threat rises, only Hunter Astley can stop them…
In the face of dark magic and evil witches, a secret witch-hunting society works tirelessly to keep them at bay. The Malleus Maleficarum Council have strict rules and practises for eradicating magic.
Due to their work, witches have been almost forgotten, relegated to myth; but the rumours are starting to emerge of a new power that will throw the world into chaos.
As the only 7th generation witch-hunter, Hunter Astley is the best the MMC has to offer. With the help of his colleagues, it’s a race to track down this new threat and stop them… in any way he can.
Part one of the Witch-Hunter trilogy.
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The world has been thrown into darkness by the Shadow Witch’s revolution. The witch-hunters are scattered, but still strong. The race is now on to gather allies and win the war.
New enemies will arise; loyalties will be pushed to the limit. And an important question will be answered: can a witch-hunter that practices magic ever be trusted, or will he be persecuted?
It is said that ‘love conquers all’, but this twisted love must stay secret, locked away with the past.
Hunter Astley has always known that he is different: being a witch-hunter that can use magic has sealed his fate. He must destroy the Shadow Witch once and for all, with the help of some unlikely allies.
We delve even deeper into the world of the Malleus Maleficarum; into myth, rumour and history that refuses to stay in the past.
Kelly Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life – books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
Her first book, The Shadow Rises, was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.
What inspired you to write about this book?
This story started with the villain.
I was learning about Wicca at the time, and I wondered what would happen if a witch broke all of their rules. In fact, what would happen if the witches were a different breed, with their own set of rules?
Their champion would be the most powerful witch in history, whose magic was beyond all rules, and they would come to free the Witchkind from persecution.
From there, I was able to create the ‘hero’. The person that would stop the Big Bad.
I looked into the history of witches, the witch craze, the witch-hunters and their bible, the Malleus Maleficarum. (When I say ‘looked into’, I was at university at the time, so I was in full-research-mode)
From there I created the Malleus Maleficarum Council (MMC), who after the disaster of the witch craze, knew that the general public couldn’t be trusted with hunting witches. So, they formed a society that worked in secret to keep people safe from real witches.
Fast forward to the modern-day, and you have the best the MMC has to offer. Hunter is from the highly-regarded witch-hunting Astley family, with all the benefits that come from seven generations of fighting witches.
Why did you choose to write about witches?
There’s a long-running joke that all the women in my family are witches.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, started by my dad, who said his Scottish mother-in-law was a wicked witch who would turn us into toads if we didn’t behave.
As kids, we loved this story, and fully embraced the joke, buying my Nanna cauldrons, brooms and all sorts of witchy-paraphernalia every Christmas and birthday.
Without meaning to, I picked up a lot of witchy information over the years and it was natural that witches and magic would feature heavily in my books.
Unfortunately, my Nanna passed away before I started writing; but I think she would have really enjoyed these stories of evil and/or kooky witches.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Out of our three main characters, I probably spent the least amount of effort coming up with Hunter’s name. I honestly had no idea what I wanted to call our lead man, so I put the temporary title of ‘Hunter’ in whilst I wrote the story. In the end, it kinda stuck, because Hunter was arrogant enough to carry it off.
His real name is George Astley VII, which does provide a few moments of humor throughout the series.
With Sophie Murphy, our leading lady, I purposefully wanted a name that did not suit her. Throughout the series, she proves herself to be strong and cold-hearted, but loyal to Hunter. So, I gave her a very normal name; something that sounds soft and feminine – the complete opposite of our Sophie.
I wanted a name that didn’t hint at what fate has in store for her.
James Bennett is the best friend, and often a source of humour. He’s a Yorkshire lad (my home county), as I swore that every book I wrote would contain Yorkshire characters or settings, as none of the books I read growing up had them in and I felt very underrepresented.
I named him Bennett because the Bennetts are like an extended family to me. They own the local riding school in Yorkshire (where I practically lived), they inspired my love for horses, and my love of teaching. They also gave a very shy and socially awkward me, the confidence to go after my dreams of a career with horses and writing.
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