A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”

Italo Calvino

 

Strange World is an (unpublished) epic, two novel dark fantasy.

Here is the prologue.

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   Haversham manor is nothing more than a desolate ruin on the outskirts of Midhurst in the county of Sussex. Four towers of the gatehouse and the South range are all that remain of a once formidable building. Now it is a place for the congregation of crows and crawling ivy, a place for people to wander aimlessly and wonder of its history. But a little more than two centuries ago it was so much more. For several years it had been the home of Hammond Pearce and his loyal family of twenty-three servants. Let time retreat to that age of reason and change. Let the weeds and bushes wither away and let the crumbled remains lift from the earth and rebuild themselves into the stately home that Haversham Manor once was. Let modern day man fade away and let a time return when things were so much simpler and uncomplicated. It is 1793. Just a short while and it will be the start of a new century. Hammond Pearce stands upon the steps of the stately gatehouse, dwarfed by the majestic entrance towers. To his left stony steps descend into a cellar from which there emanates a soft and curious light. A fragrant breeze gently wafts across the faces of his congregated workers and fills their heads with unworldly fantasy. Night is falling; a ghostly stillness descends upon the land. The surrounding woodland is suddenly a dark and mysterious place to be. The staunch man is about to address his household. He is going to ask them to make a decision that will affect their lives in the most incredible way. He speaks with purposeful conviction and stares with unnerving gaze. He tells them that that night he will be leaving his home, he will not be returning and, if they wish, then they may follow him to a place that defies logical description. 'You are my family,' he tells them, 'and it is for that very reason that I care for you so fondly. I am about to embark upon a journey that will take but a few steps and yet will transport me to a place that is further away than you could possibly imagine.' What kind of a world is it that we live in?' he asks them. 'Our King is succumbing to madness and war with the French is inevitable. Soon a new century will be upon us; but what changes will we see? I predict that man's destiny will be filled with hostility and suffering on a vast scale. The road to Utopia will be made from the blood and bones of the masses. Is that how you want to live?'
   Now Hammond has the appearance of a man possessed. His eyes look inwardly, focussed on the obsessions that have ruled most of his adult life. Soon his dreams will become reality. 'Who knows what the future will bring?' he continues. There are a few mutterings of gloomy speculation. Hammond allows them a few moments rumination and then continues with his sermon. 'A loosening of morals? Religious wars? Weapons that kill millions and not just a few? Passion is rising in his voice as he thumps a fist into his palm, 'It seems that we are fixed upon a path of self-destruction. These are all the symptoms of mans obsessive desire for progress.' He is shaking with anticipation-like a child on the verge of hysteria about to receive the toy he has always wanted. 'Solomon Cain,' he calls. A ruddy faced man of thirty years who looks twice that age twists his hat nervously in his hands and looked furtively up to where his employer is standing. 'How would you like to regain the looks and vigour of your younger years?' The man grins with a broad smile and looks bashfully to the ground. 'Mrs Cain would appreciate such renewed passions I imagine.' Solomon laughs out loudly as do several other men. 'And Mrs Cain, the lines of beauty are still there, your daughter, Tanith, is testimony to that, but I fear a hard life has taken toll upon you. There is a place that can take away the evidence of your suffering. Let us leave this troubled world together. Let us go to a place that promises an eternity of contentment.' There is silence as his mysterious words are contemplated. Hammond smiles for he knows that he has won them over. He has lifted his servants from poverty before. He has fed and clothed them and in turn received unwavering loyalty. These people trust him with there lives. He has saved them once and now he will save them from a cruel and unforgiving world. ''Let this be the year our lives change forever. Let us rejoice in the fruits of my labours. Let us leave this place forever and venture to a new land that is filled with promise. Bring no belongings; worldly possessions will not be needed. Everything you require will be there. Trust me as you have always done and you will reap a rich reward. Those who wish to stay can stay here, but you will have to make provision for your own lives. Speak now if that is what you wish to do. The contemplative silence is broken only by the rasping call of a jackdaw. Hammond turns his head to the night sky. Storm clouds are gathering, clouds that are darker than even the night itself. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply. 'Let us go my good people. Let us go now.' Thunder rumbles for several seconds as though brooding over his words. He opens his eyes and with outstretched arms announces, 'Let the Strange World decide our fate for soon we will cross into that land of fulfilment.'
 
   On that day in the month of September the entire household disappeared without trace. There were no clues as to where they had gone, no letters of explanation. It was as though they had simply ceased to exist. The local people convinced themselves Haversham Manor was built on sacrilegious land; they blamed witchcraft and in panic took torches to the cursed building. No one ventured near to the derelict ruin; fear of the unknown was a powerful deterrent in such superstitious times.
   Much of the history of Haversham Manor has been forgotten, but not all. Some of it waits to be discovered; fate will decide when. Not too far away a young man stirs restlessly in his sleep; the seeds of destiny are already taking root. And in a place that that is somewhere between imagination and reality-Hammond Pearce prepares to execute the final stages of his plan.