Galata by Ben Gribbin published today

Galata by Ben Gribbin is out today in eBook.

Seven days. Seven deaths. Seven brides for seven rivers…

Galata by Ben Gribbin; Cover: Photos by Andrea Piacquadio; Background by Lise-Noor Lemmens
Cover: Photos by Andrea Piacquadio; Background by Lise-Noor Lemmens

It is New Year’s Day. The city of Galata, with its ancient river-streets, is slowly sinking into the sea. But for one week its citizens want to forget this, and celebrate the city’s thousand-year anniversary.

For Joseph, a jaded ex-detective, the day brings a glimmer of hope. Last night he met and kissed Celice, a free-spirited artist. Tonight he is meeting her again. But Celice never turns up.

Then her body is pulled out of the canal.

There are papers on her; charred at the edges, with mysterious writing on them. As Joseph teams up with his former police colleague J.D, they discover this may be just the first in a series of eerily similar crimes that took place on exactly the same week, 100 years ago.

Is history about to repeat itself? And can they stop it happening again?

Many politicians misleadingly use ‘witch hunt’ as a dismissive label when being held accountable for their own lies, corruption and misdeeds.

Whereas, actual witch hunts in the UK are conducted by HM Office of the Witchfinder General, a secretive arm of law-enforcement concerned with enforcing ‘magus laws’, and ‘Protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645’.

DARTFORD, KENT – 30 June 2023 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thoughtful speculative fiction from talented authors, including many debut authors. One of our more established authors is Simon Kewin. Perhaps best known for science fiction novels, Simon is, nonetheless, an accomplished author of fantasy stories that often include witches. His Witchfinder series of books is predicated on the premise that the role of Witchfinder General in Britain was instigated by parliament, and indeed has survived to the present day in the form of HM Office of the Witchfinder General. The OWG is now a shadowy arm of law-enforcement concerned with enforcing the ‘magus laws’, and trying to ensure that the general public are not aware of the evil forces that are at large. Their mission statement is ‘Protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645’. But the main protagonist, Danesh, an officer of the OWG, questions their approach and attitude towards all magic users not just those who are a danger to the public. Indeed, he objects to the Office’s motto ‘Maleficos non patieris vivere’, which while literally translating as ‘You shall not suffer an evildoer to live’ is widely interpreted to mean ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’, thanks to the misogynistic translation in the King James Bible. The ambiguity of Danesh’s evolving position is a compelling sub-plot in the Witchfinder series of books. The OWG’s treatment of magus law-breakers today is rather more nuanced than in the 15th century, and Simon Kewin’s witty writing style makes the books both thrilling and engaging.

The third novel in the series, Head Full of Dark, is a book close to the author’s heart, revealing, as it does, certain autobiographical details about him – including his own connection to the Office of the Witchfinder General. While names have been changed to protect the innocent, it remains to be seen how the Office will respond to one of their own breaking ranks in this way. He very much hopes that he will be able to produce further (redacted) reports on the battles waged against malign magic use and supernatural incursion – and that he does not, for example, get consigned to Oblivion never to be heard from again…

In reality, of course, the actual role of Witchfinder General was one that Matthew Hopkins invented and assumed for himself in 1645 during the English Civil War, pretending to have been commissioned by Parliament, and using many techniques from King James’ own book Daemonologie to discover witches. Like many entrepreneurs, cult leaders and fascists since, Hopkins made a fortune from the gruesomely lucrative business of ridding communities of an imagined enemy, often used as a cover by power-hungry locals to remove their rivals or exact revenge. Within a couple of years, however, his methods and motivation were called into question by a popular puritan cleric who described them as “abominable, inhumane and unmerciful” and Hopkins was forced to retire in 1647. He wrote a book justifying his own methods and the results of his hunts, A Discovery of Witches, which became a popular legal text especially in the Colonies, and is widely recognised as having had considerable influence on the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts some 45 years later. Ironically, the man responsible for the deaths of at least 300 women was reputed, in contemporary legend, to have died in one of his own ducking stool ‘trials’ after he had himself been accused of witchcraft; but more prosaically, in fact, he actually died not long after his retirement, either of tuberculosis… or a curse.

Today narcissistic politicians, especially in English-speaking nations, use ‘witch hunt’ as a conveniently dismissive label when being held accountable for their own lies, corruption and misdeeds. While hoping to leverage the perception that witch hunts were unfair and often conducted for ulterior motives, they fail to recognise that unlike modern judicial reviews and law enforcement activities, historical witch hunts were conducted without evidence and against (usually poor) victims who had neither the resources, nor often the wit, to defend themselves. The two situations could not be more different. Perhaps those politicians are trying to identify themselves with the poor defenceless ‘wise women’ typically portrayed in popular myth as the victims of witch hunts – which, given the largely misogynistic behaviour displayed by those same politicians, would be a cynical irony if it weren’t so contemptible.

Head Full of Dark, the third book in Simon Kewin’s Witchfinder series, is available as an eBook from today and in paperback from 31st July 2023.

Notes for Editors

About Simon Kewin

Simon Kewin is a pseudonym used by an infinite number of monkeys who operate from a secret location deep in the English countryside. Every now and then they produce a manuscript that reads as a complete novel with a beginning, a middle and an end. Sometimes even in that order.

The Simon Kewin persona devised by the monkeys was born on the misty Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish Sea, at around the time The Beatles were twisting and shouting. He moved to the UK as a teenager, where he still resides. He is the author of over a hundred published short stories and poems, as well as a growing number of novels. In addition to fiction, he also writes computer software. The key thing, he finds, is not to get the two mixed up.

He has a first class honours degree in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing (distinction). He’s married and has two daughters.

About the Witchfinder series

Stories of HM Office of the Witchfinder General: Protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645

The Witchfinder series is a different type of police procedural. For a start, it’s about a department of law enforcement that you’ve never heard of. They investigate crimes that you’re never supposed to hear about, criminals that you really don’t want to know about, using methods that it’s best not to ask about.

Find out more at https://bit.ly/WitchfinderSeries

Book 1: The Eye Collectors

Cover design: Alison Buck
Cover design by Alison Buck

When Danesh Shahzan gets called to a crime scene, it’s usually because the police suspect not just foul play but unnatural forces at play.

Danesh is an Acolyte in Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, a shadowy arm of the British government fighting supernatural threats to the realm. This time, he’s been called in by Detective Inspector Nikola Zubrasky to investigate a murder in Cardiff. The victim had been placed inside a runic circle and their eyes carefully removed from their head. Danesh soon confirms that magical forces are at work.

Book 2: The Seven Succubi

The Seven Succubi cover image by Alison Buck
Cover design by Alison Buck

Of all the denizens of the circles of Hell, perhaps none is more feared among those of a high-minded sensibility than the succubi.

The Assizes of Suffolk in the eighteenth century granted the Office of the Witchfinder General the power to employ ‘demonic powers’ so long as their use is ‘reasonable’ and ‘made only to defeat some yet greater supernatural threat’. No attempt was made in the wording of the assizes to measure or grade such threats, however – making the question of whether it is acceptable to fight fire with fire a troublingly subjective one. Now, in the twenty-first century, Danesh Shahzan, Acolyte in Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, had been struggling with that very question…

Book 3: Head Full of Dark

Head Full of Dark by Simon Kewin; Cover design by Alison Buck
Cover design by Alison Buck

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

There is clearly someone in the Office of the Witchfinder General who is working for or with English Wizardry, and Danesh and the Crow are determined to track them down. It might even be one of the Lord High Witchfinders. Who can they trust? Can Danesh even trust the Crow? To ensure the traitor is not alerted, Danesh conducts an off-the-books investigation under cover of an inquiry into a cold case. But not all cold cases stay cold; not all dead witches stay dead; and not all traitors stay hidden… and what is the significance of the goat’s skull?

When there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who are the police gonna call? The Office of the Witchfinder General.

Dealing with supernatural threats to Her Majesty’s realm is the purview of HM OWG. You would be surprised to know how many operatives they have throughout the UK. The Eye Collectors is the story of one perfidious case from the Cardiff office.

DARTFORD, KENT – 04 September 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Eye Collectors by Simon Kewin. Subtitled A story of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645, it is genre-defying, being at once a contemporary urban fantasy, a chilling paranormal thriller, a gritty police-procedural mystery, and a witty satire on the barriers to diversity in modern society… set largely in Cardiff.

Cover design: Alison Buck

When Danesh Shahzan gets called to a crime scene, it’s usually because the police suspect not just foul play but unnatural forces at play. Danesh is an Acolyte in Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, a shadowy arm of the British government fighting supernatural threats to the realm. This time, he’s been called in by Detective Inspector Nikola Zubrasky to investigate a murder in Cardiff. The victim had been placed inside a runic circle and their eyes carefully removed from their head. Danesh soon confirms that magical forces are at work. Concerned that there may be more victims to come, he and DI Zubrasky establish a wary collaboration as they each pursue the investigation within the constraints of their respective organisations. Soon Danesh learns that there may be much wider implications to what is taking place and that somehow he has an unexpected connection. He also realises something about himself that he can never admit to the people with whom he works…

An early reader described The Eye Collectors as “Dirk Gently meets Good Omens!”

The Eye Collectors is available now in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 16th November 2020.

Notes for Editors

About Simon Kewin

Simon Kewin is a pseudonym used by an infinite number of monkeys who operate from a secret location deep in the English countryside. Every now and then they produce a manuscript that reads as a complete novel with a beginning, a middle and an end. Sometimes even in that order.

The Simon Kewin persona devised by the monkeys was born on the misty Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish Sea, at around the time The Beatles were twisting and shouting. He moved to the UK as a teenager, where he still resides. He is the author of over a hundred published short stories and poems, as well as a growing number of novels. In addition to fiction, he also writes computer software. The key thing, he finds, is not to get the two mixed up. He has a first class honours degree in English Literature, is married, and has two daughters.

Visit bit.ly/TheEyeCollectors

 

“unusual blend of urban fantasy, mythology and self-discovery” – review of Dinnusos Rises on SFcrowsnest

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On SFcrowsnest, Vinca Russell has reviewed Dinnusos Rises, the latest novel from Tej Turner. Describing it as an “unusual blend of urban fantasy, mythology and self-discovery” Vinca says that the story gradually unfolds “until it reaches a final, fairly satisfying climax at the end”.

As in The Janus Cycle, Tej provides us with a separate narrator in each chapter, which Vinca found “to be less irritating than I expected and for this story it fitted nicely”. The inclusion of mythical figures, a ghost, and characters who have powers “ranging from time travel to dream walking, via being able to talk to animals and alter people’s emotions by playing music” “makes for an interesting mix, but I think I’d have liked it all to be explored in a bit more depth” says Vinca. Adding that it’s “great that Turner has populated his stories with characters that aren’t just white, heterosexual and cisgender – there should be more of that diversity in fiction” but sometimes explanations of such issues broke up the pacing of the story.

Vinca concludes by saying “I was pleasantly surprised” by Dinnusos Rises, observing that it “used the multiple POV narrative structure well and the plot tied up nicely”.

You can read Vinca’s full review on SFcrowsnest here.

 

“excellent in every possible way” – review of Dinnusos Rises on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just posted a marvellous review of Dinnusos Rises, the latest novel from Tej Turner. Although it is a sequel to his debut novel The Janus Cycle, it can also be read as a standalone novel. Seregil says he found The Janus Cycle captivating (“intriguing and insightful” was how he described it in his review) and he therefore had high expectations for Dinnusos Rises. In this review he writes that he is pleased to say that Dinnusos Rises met all of his expectations and “even managed to exceed them, because it’s just as rewarding and thought-provoking a reading experience as The Janus Cycle and then some”, adding that it is a “perfect companion” to The Janus Cycle.

Seregil describes Dinnusos Rises as “vibrant and intriguingly gritty”, saying that it is “one of the most fascinating novels of the year” with a “sophisticatedly complex story and colourful characters” which “will mesmerise readers who enjoy reading thought-provoking stories”.

He says it’s great that Tej “blends literary fiction with speculative fiction and spices the story with a touch of surrealism” to make a novel that takes readers on a “captivating and rewarding journey into a realistic yet surreal urban landscape where strange things happen and where reality meets fantasy in a powerful way”. Seregil compliments Tej’s characterisation as “excellent”, all of the characters are three-dimensional, have depth to them and each has a unique voice. He says that the characters “interact with each other in a believable way” and “nothing feels artificial or pretentious”. Using multiple viewpoints in a “vivid way” Tej “keeps the story fresh and interesting”.

Seregil says that Tej has a “genuine talent for writing stories that are spiced with gritty realism” exploring challenging themes in a realistic way while avoiding “melodramatic moments”; Tej counterbalances the harshness and grittiness with “moments of beauty and a few humorous elements”. Seregil says that one of the best things about the novel is that Tej “explores attraction, sex and different forms of sexuality in an admirably bold and realistic way”, and “dares to explore different kind of sexuality”.

In conclusion, Seregil describes Dinnusos Rises as a “prime example of what gifted authors are capable of achieving when they have courage to write about various themes and issues in a bold and insightful way”, and says it is “one of the best novels of the year” that “dares to be different and wonderfully showcases the diversity of the genre and its possibilities”. His summary is that Dinnusos Rises is “excellent in every possible way, because it’s a daring, thought-provoking and satisfyingly gritty novel”.

This was a very brief précis of Seregil’s review which you should read here.

 

“Attention to detail” – review of Dinnusos Rises by Sheri A. Wilkinson

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On a number of review sites, including Library Thing, Sheri A. Wilkinson has just posted her review of Dinnusos Rises, the sequel to The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner. She noted that the use of a series of narrators, the main characters in the story, meant that she “got to feel what each was going through”. She also commented that “Attention to detail brings you deeper into the story”. She had not previously read The Janus Cycle (but is now going to). She says she enjoyed Dinnusos Rises and is sure that other readers will enjoy it too.

You can read Sheri’s review on Library Thing here.

 

“whole-hearted recommendation” – review of Dinnusos Rises on HumanitysDarkerSide

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On her book blog HumanitysDarkerSide, Lise has written her review of Dinnusos Rises the new novel from Tej Turner. She had previously recommended The Janus Cycle when she reviewed it in 2015, so we were keen to read her review of Dinnusos Rises which follows many of the same characters. We weren’t disappointed, and nor was Lise. She starts by recommending reading the Janus Cycle first – the two books are standalone and can be read independently, but they have some common characters and the action of Dinnusos Rises takes place a few months after The Janus Cycle. After a little background to the book and how it follows on from The Janus Cycle, Lise highlights one of the main themes of the book, the rise of corporatocracy, as well as other significant issues such as friendship, trust, betrayal and love. She says that Dinnusos Rises is well-written with “fleshed-out characters” and “presents current issues in a package filled with action and adventure”. She concludes by saying that Dinnusos Rises has her “whole-hearted recommendation”. Thanks Lise.

You can read Lise’s full review on HumanitysDarkerSide here.

 

Out now – Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner

Tej TurnerWe are delighted to be publishing Dinnusos Rises today, the second novel by Tej Turner. Set in the same urban landscape as his debut novel The Janus Cycle, and featuring some of the same characters along with new voices, Dinnusos Rises is a modern-day fantasy with a sharp tongue and a hard heart, but a profound soul.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Dinnusos Rises is a standalone sequel and does not require the reader to have previously read The Janus Cycle, but fans of The Janus Cycle will be pleased to catch up with some of the characters they have met before. The vibe has soured somewhat after a violent clash in the Janus nightclub a few months ago, and since then Neal has opened a new establishment called ‘Dinnusos’.

Located on a derelict and forgotten side of town, it is not the sort of place you stumble upon by accident, but over time it enchants people, and soon becomes a nucleus for urban bohemians and a refuge for the city’s lost souls. Rumour has it that it was once a grand hotel, many years ago, but no one is quite sure. Whilst mingling in the bar downstairs you might find yourself in the company of poets, dreamers, outsiders, and all manner of misfits and rebels. And if you’re daring enough to explore its ghostly halls, there’s a whole labyrinth of rooms on the upper floors to get lost in…

Now it seems that not just Neal’s clientele, but the entire population of the city, begin to go crazy when beings, once thought mythological, enter the mortal realm to stir chaos as they sow the seeds of militancy.

Eight characters. Most of them friends, some of them strangers. Each with their own story to tell. All of them destined to cross paths in a surreal sequence of events which will change them forever.

Dinnusos Rises is available from today on all major eBook platforms. It will also be available in paperback from 10th July.

What are you waiting for? Buy it now and get reading straight away. You won’t regret it.

 

Archetypal grass roots activists take on the threat of alternative facts

New urban fiction from Tej Turner tackles the malevolent influence of power and politics and its effects on society’s outsiders

DARTFORD, KENT – 20 February 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Dinnusos Rises by British author Tej Turner. Set in the same urban landscape as his debut novel The Janus Cycle, and featuring some of the same characters along with new voices, Dinnusos Rises is a modern-day fantasy with a sharp tongue and a hard heart but a profound soul.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

The vibe has soured somewhat after a violent clash in the Janus nightclub a few months ago, and since then Neal has opened a new establishment called ‘Dinnusos’.

Located on a derelict and forgotten side of town, it is not the sort of place you stumble upon by accident, but over time it enchants people, and soon becomes a nucleus for urban bohemians and a refuge for the city’s lost souls. Rumour has it that it was once a grand hotel, many years ago, but no one is quite sure. Whilst mingling in the bar downstairs you might find yourself in the company of poets, dreamers, outsiders, and all manner of misfits and rebels. And if you’re daring enough to explore its ghostly halls, there’s a whole labyrinth of rooms on the upper floors to get lost in…

Now it seems that not just Neal’s clientele, but the entire population of the city, begin to go crazy when beings, once thought mythological, enter the mortal realm to stir chaos as they sow the seeds of militancy.

Eight characters. Most of them friends, some of them strangers.
Each with their own story to tell. All of them destined to cross paths in a surreal sequence of events which will change them forever.

“With his new novel,” says Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, “Tej has revisited the unnamed rundown urban environment he introduced in The Janus Cycle. But rather than merely meeting a small, almost exclusive, community of outsiders, this time we are drawn into a series of events fueled by the dubious propagation of alternative facts, which lead to a political melée with wide implications. In its midst, the outsiders also have to deal with very real and disturbing issues on a more personal scale. The idea of the intervention of mythological creatures to try to deal with societal problems might have seemed unlikely not that long ago, but now… who knows? If recent events have taught us anything, it must surely be not to make assumptions about anyone, and question everything.”

Dinnusos Rises will be published in digital formats in April 2017 and in paperback in July 2017.

Notes for Editors

About Tej Turner

Tej TurnerTej has spent much of his life on the move and he does not have any particular place he calls ‘home’. For a large period of his childhood he dwelt within the Westcountry of England, and he then moved to rural Wales to study Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter.

After completing his studies he spent a couple of years travelling around Asia, where he took a particular interest in jungles, temples, and mountains. He returned to the UK in 2015 for the release of his debut novel The Janus Cycle, published by Elsewhen Press. Since then he has been living in Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day, writes by moonlight, and squeezes in the occasional trip to explore historic sites and the British countryside.

Dinnusos Rises is his second novel and he plans on spending the next few years writing more. He will probably get itchy feet again, and when that happens he has his sights set upon South America.

He keeps a travelblog on his website, where he also posts author-related news, at tejturner.wordpress.com

 

“excellent story” – review of The Janus Cycle by The Mole

The Janus Cycle cover image
Artwork: Alison Buck

On the Our Book Reviews Online blog, The Mole has reviewed The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner. After a brief introduction to the plot and characters, The Mole observes that “Time travel is a concept that easily attracts plot flaws” but in the Janus Cycle “Turner has been extremely careful and crafted an excellent story”. He likes the fact that, although as a reader you suspect something terrible is going to happen at the Janus nightclub, “no teasers are offered” so when it does you are “totally unprepared”. His overall comment is that it is a “real page turner that will keep you reading”.

You can read The Mole’s full review here.