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'The Salamander Stone'





Reckless, loud, passionate, she's a patchouli-wearing, hip-swinging throwback to the hippy era, an unabashed warrior on the side of the planet. And an utter embarrassment to her friends and family. 

She's not the sort of gran to do much holding and soothing of her terrified granddaughter, Amber. 

Yet she is the sort of gran to take violent and bloody revenge against her granddaughter's enemies.

Sam Cartwright and Tommy


It's impossible for Sam not to smile. The pasty folds of his face are always creased in amusement - even when he's frightened; even though he's trapped in an obese  body that won't work any more.

He smiles because the real Sam is not those folds of fat and freckles. The real Sam is a warrior whose spirit soars above place and time. And he is also Amber's guide, her guardian, her teacher, her friend.


 But Sam has a weakness - his love for the little dog Tommy, a creature as old and decrepit as he is. Tommy even has the same permanent smile in his waggy tail.

And Sam knows that, just as he and Tommy  have shared a life together, they must also share a death.  


 The Inyanga

He's an old lion, lined and cracked with age, but with a straight back and the lion's lean muscular strength. He's a consummate warrior, a supreme dreamwalker, a lion who can really roar. 

And he is also Khiza's Inyanga, or guide, given the task of turning this foolish boy into a fighter.

But an old lion has no mercy in its dead yellow eyes, and neither has the Inyanga. He will walk hell to get what he wants. And the boy must walk with him. 

 The Inyanga

 Maggie Barwick

What you see is an ordinary, dumpy old woman waddling her way down the High Street in her overlarge Oxfam coat and sensible lace-ups. She smiles vacantly, then passes on unnoticed. 

Yet Maggie Barwick cannot be contained by that coat, those shoes, that semi-permanent simpleton's smile.

Look into her eyes and see deeper. There's stuff there you'll never believe.  

 Dr Cheung

He's the ultimate rationalist. There's no room in the whitewashed corridors of Dr Cheung's mind for anything other than facts, figures, calculations. With clipboard in hand and the latest technological gadgets, his experiments squeeze life itself until only precise, sterile dregs remain.

And his methods produce results. What matter the screaming, the vomit, the faeces? He gets what he wants. He's vindicated. Sentiment is stupid; compassion irrelevant.

Yet Dr. Cheung has miscalculated one vital variable - that of the strength of the life force. Nor is he prepared for what happens when that force breaks down his barriers and enters his mind.