Rowan Bowman’s Checkmate came out last week! Here’s the blurb:
Pestered by constant phone messages from a girlfriend who disappeared ten years ago, pushed around by a petty boss, short on friends and money, it’s no wonder Mack looks forward to his Friday night chess games with the local priest. But when he’s asked to demolish a wall beneath the chapel and a local girl goes missing, Mack finds he’s playing a game far more treacherous than chess. He quickly realises he has no idea who, or what, he’s up against.
Checkmate is a darkly Gothic, supernatural horror story of guilt, revenge and history repeating itself.
And here‘s a little background info that Rowan wrote up for us. She’s done so much research into the setting and legends surrounding the area, and it’s too interesting not to share! More to come later this week.
Dilston Castle stands in the Tyne valley, twenty miles west of Newcastle, a ruin hidden amongst trees. All that is remains today is a fortified solar tower dating from 1417 and a small chapel which is still in occasional use. The Radcliffe family acquired the castle at the end of the fifteenth century. Over the next three hundred years the family modified and enlarged the castle and in 1616 built the post reformation recusant chapel with its own crypt to serve as a last resting place for the family. By 1715 James Radcliffe changed the Castle’s name to Dilston Hall and had completely enclosed it within the fabric of one of the largest Palladian Halls in the north of England. Radcliffe, however, became involved in the 1715 Jacobite uprising and was captured and his lands were seized by the Crown. By the mid eighteenth century the Hall was reported to be occupied by bandits and thieves who made a nuisance of themselves in the surrounding area. In 1765 it was ordered that ‘the house should be entirely taken down’. The Hall was demolished with dynamite, leaving the original Castle in ruins and the chapel intact.