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Exile Anthology: Helen Hollick

meet the authors and read snippets from Historical Stories of Exile


A collection of short stories by thirteen award-winning authors: Annie Whitehead, J.G. Harlond, Helen Hollick, Anna Belfrage, Elizabeth Chadwick, Loretta Livingstone, Elizabeth St.John, Alison Morton, Charlene Newcomb, Marian L Thorpe, Amy Maroney, Cathie Dunn, and Cryssa Bazos. With an introduction by Deborah Swift.

Exile: a risky defiance, a perilous journey, a family’s tragic choice – or an individual’s final gamble to live. Exile: voluntary or enforced, a falling-out between friends, a lost first love, a prejudiced betrayal – or the only way to survive persecution?

In this historical fiction anthology thirteen authors (they are not superstitious!) have written exclusive short stories on the theme of exile. Some are based on true history, others are speculative fiction. All mine the depths of human emotions – fear, hope, love, and the fortitude to survive.



by Helen Hollick

Anyone who enjoys romantic historical fiction is probably aware of R.D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone, set on the wilds of Exmoor during the late 1600s. I have set my nautical adventure Sea Witch Voyages in the early 1700s – the tales are pirate based with an overlap into fantasy and supernatural, but as I live in Devon I brought my protagonists, Captain Jesamiah Acorne and his wife, Tiola, from the Caribbean to North Devon – Barnstaple and Bideford being major trading centres for the Colonial tobacco trade until the mid-1700s when the rivers Taw and Torridge began to silt up. (If you enjoyed the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, you will enjoy Sea Witch.) Because it was fun to do so, I introduced some disreputable fictional characters into the stories, notably Sir Ailie Doone and his grandson, Ascham Doone – characters imagined as the kindred of Blackmore’s outlaw clan.

But who were the Doones? Where did they come from? How did they end up as outlaws preying on vulnerable people travelling across Exmoor? I cannot know what Mr Blackmore imagined their ‘history’ to be, but here is my version…


Sir Ensor’s hand hovered over the hilt of his sword. The thought running through his mind that it could be less trouble to simply draw it and slice its razor-sharp blade across this upstart clodpoll’s throat. The word ‘could’ made him hesitate. The result would be a bloody mess – and not just on the black and white tiled floor of the entrance hall to his grand London house.

“Sir, I would not be foolish were I you,” the upstart advised, his hand curling tighter around the hilt of his own partially drawn rapier. “The king himself has requested your presence. It would be unwise for you to resist, although quicker for me to kill you now and save us all future concern.”…

read the full story in HISTORICAL STORIES of  EXILE

You can read more about the characters in this story in the nautical adventure series Doones first appear in Voyage Four,  Ripples in the Sand.


Helen Hollick and her husband and adult daughter moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through being a ‘victim’ on BBC TV’s popular Escape to The Country show. The thirteen-acre property was the first one she was shown – and it was love at first sight. She enjoys her new rural life, and has a variety of animals on the farm, including Exmoor ponies, dogs, cats, hens, ducks and geese and her daughter’s string of show jumpers.

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am the Chosen King), novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages, where you can read more about Jesamiah Acorne, son of Charles St Croix – and the Doones.

Despite being impaired by the visual disorder of Glaucoma, she is also branching out into the quick read novella, ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with the Jan Christopher Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working for thirteen years as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of a Smuggler and she is planning on writing about the ghosts of North Devon (in particular, those who are resident in her house), and maybe something about famous horses: these might appear as published books or serialised on her blog. She also runs a news and events blog and a Facebook page for her village, and supports her daughter’s passion for horses and showjumping.

“Helen Hollick has it all! She tells a great story, gets her history right, and writes consistently readable books” Bernard Cornwell


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The Time : The Golden Age of Piracy – 1716.

The Place : The Pirate Round – from the South African Coast to the Caribbean.

Escaping the bullying of his elder half-brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves – his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa.

He is to meet Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant girl, or so he assumes – until she rescues him from a vicious attack, and almost certain death, by pirate hunters. And then he discovers what she really is; a healer, a midwife – and a white witch.

Tiola and Jesamiah become lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten, a Cape Town Dutchman, also wants Tiola as his wife and Jesamiah’s jealous brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past, a stolen ship and the insult of being cuckolded in his own home.

When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship – the Sea Witch – is put in Jesamiah’s path he must make a choice between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both, but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.

In trouble, imprisoned in the darkness and stench that is the lowest part of his brother’s ship, can Tiola, with her gift of Craft and the aid of his loyal crew, save him?

Using all her skills Tiola must conjure up a wind to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural being, Tethys, the Spirit of the Sea, an elemental who will stop at nothing to claim Jesamiah Acorne’s soul and bones as a trophy for herself.

1 Comment

  1. Helen Hollick says:

    thank you Amy!

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