These Our Monsters

This project for English Heritage has been under wraps for months but is now being publicised ahead of launch. It’s been a lovely to work on contemporary stories steeped in the traditions of folklore, myth and legend, inspired by eight sites in the care of English Heritage. I’ve made the cover and sixteen illustrations.

It’s been my great good fortune on These Our Monsters to have Katherine Davey at English Heritage as my editor. We’ve discussed all aspects of the book at every stage, and her unflagging enthusiasm has been a tonic during the occasionally gruelling schedule to get the work completed within the deadline.

The dust wrapper image is of Bram Stoker’s Vlad Dracula, who makes an appearance in Graeme Macrae Burnet’s story The Dark Thread set in and around Whitby. Macrae’s Count references Stoker’s original description in his novel Dracula, which is far from the darkly handsome vampire played Christopher Lee in the glorious Hammer Horror films of the 1960s and 70s. Women willingly surrendered themselves/swooned into the enveloping folds of Lee’s crimson-lined cloak, whereas Stoker’s Count is monstrous without a hint of sex-appeal. However, to make up for his parchment-like skin and dreadfully straggly moustaches, I’ve dressed him with the dandy’s attention to detail in all things sartorial. A high-collared shirt, a well-tied stock and a waistcoat to die for.

The authors and the English Heritage sites they selected are:

Edward Carey: Bury St Edmunds Abbey

Sarah Hall: Castlerigg and other stone circles

Paul Kingsnorth: Stonehenge

Alison MacLeod: Down House

Graeme Macrae Burnet: Whitby Abbey

Sarah Moss: Berwick Castle

Fiona Mozely: Carlisle Castle

Alan Thorpe: Tintagel

15 thoughts on “These Our Monsters

  1. Well done Clive, ( sorry I’m a bit late in saying so, life is hectic) I’m looking forward to adding this to my collection, you must have greatly enjoyed this project, it’s right up your street! With much love from a cool France.xxL

    • Hello Sweetheart. No apologies necessary. Life is indeed hectic, but you and I have always been good at catching up when we can. ‘These Our Monsters’ was indeed right up my street. Loved working on it.
      Speak soon. Love to you and G. XXX

  2. “Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
    While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse” – WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Macbeth
    Bravo, what fun and I bet his breath is really mouldy with an undercurrent of old damp corners!
    Love as ever
    B xxx

    • English Heritage commissioned eight authors to explore mythic/legendary/folkloric themes associated with sites in their care. When you start hunting there’s no shortage of stories, and this year of ‘Telling Tales’ at E.H. has brought many into the light. If you look at the Myths Map that I was commissioned to design for E.H. this year, and click on any of the proliferating blue ‘quills’ there, you’ll find any number of stories, many long forgotten but being given an airing now. Click HERE to visit.

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