The Shires of York

By Joseph Murphy-James

The Shires of York is a six part Fantasy Series set in Yorkshire that uses the rich history of God’s Own County as a backdrop for the epic tale. The Dämonen were exiled by the Elven and the only way to achieve their aim to dominate the Shires is through the Veils which are shut. To open them requires twelve Crystals of the Veils and the dragons are their guardians and will not relinquish the crystals lightly.

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The novels are set in the Shires of York, mirroring the ancient and venerable three Ridings of Yorkshire. It is a series of six parts, each representing a different stage of Yorkshire’s history from the departure of the Romans, through the arrival of the Vikings, Norman Conquest, the rise of the Cistercian order, the pestilence of the Black Death and, finally, the War of the Roses.

The Shires of York Map

The Shires of York are ruled by the immortal Dämonen; more accurately, they would like to rule but the Elven have exiled them and closed the four Veils that provide a path between Dämonen and the Shires of York. The Veils are controlled by twelve Crystals of the Veil and three crystals are required by each Veil for it to open. The Dämonen have the Crystal Chamber, the home of the crystals, and a single crystal; they desperately want more and at least a further two so that they can open a Veil. If the Veils are opened, the Dämonen, demons possessing powers that only the Elven can match, probably, will cause an age of darkness to descend upon the Shires.

Mankind is a pawn in this game and continues its pointless skirmishes whilst a bigger battle is fought to keep the Dämonen from dominating. Occasionally, the fantasy world intersects the lives of the mortal inhabitants of the Shires and the consequences are unexpected. The Veils of the Shires of York are at the centre of the epic adventure and key players confront each other in an effort to dominate using the crystals as their primary weapon.

On the stage of book one, The Age of Darkness, are the Romans who are in a hurry to depart their colony of Britanniae and leave a power vacuum that the Angles, erstwhile mercenaries of Rome, intend to fill. Unexpectedly, the devils of Dämonen become embroiled in the conflict because they see an opportunity to capture a crystal to allow them to open a Veil. The Elven, with their consultative Councils, step in and are helped by unlikely allies in the shape of Dragons, led by the Fire Manon, the dragons’ name for queen, and her mate Padrig. An evil spirit called Malevolence, exiled to roam the Shires, becomes involved but has her own interests at heart.

Book Two, Turmoil, sees the arrival of the armies from the Northlands, the Vikings, invading the Shires of York, abetted by a spell from the Witches of the Hambleton Hills. Inadvertently, they awaken a group of goblins who have been hibernating under an Elven spell. The goblins have the ability to move instantly from one place to another and can act collectively to increase their strength; they introduce Turmoil into the Shires. Meanwhile, a power struggle commences in Dämonen, causing the devils to be distracted.

The third of the series, First Republic, witnesses the invasion of the Southern Wastelands by the Normans who push northwards into the Shires. The mortal residents of the Shires counter attack but William, the Norman King, is stronger. With ruthless efficiency, he crushes the rebellion and then uses the services of the goblins to ‘harry’ the Shires of York and the Northern Wastelands beyond. Dwarves discover a way of creating a new kind of Veil that threatens to undermine the established order in the Shires.

The fourth book, War, is set at a time when the Abbeys, Priories, Friaries and other religious orders are flourishing. The goblins have established a stronghold in the North of the Shires and created a great city. The Elven appear beaten and cornered in the East Ridings of the Shires. They have issued a ‘call to arms’, a rare event that demands the involvement of their allies that include Dragons, Witches, Wizards and the Legion of the Deity. The devils from Dämonen have only one aim: to rid the Shires of York of the Elven, and all of their confederates if necessary, and dominate the Shires and if war is necessary then, so be it.

The fifth of the series, Curse, chronicles the storms, famine, animal murrain and, finally, the Black Death as a curse blankets the Shires of York. There is suspicion that the pestilence is caused by the Dämonen. A weakened Elven appear powerless to stop the rot and, against all of the odds, it is goblins who, with help from dragons, witches, warlocks and dwarves, take the lead. Meanwhile, a new dragon, a Guardian of the Crystals, is born and needs protection for he is a great risk to the Dämonen’s plan.

The sixth and final part, The Last Guardian?, observes the largest battle mankind has held in the Shires of York during the war between opposing houses of red-rose Lancaster and that of York, the white rose. The Legion of the Deity has been absent throughout the struggles of the Shires of York, wishing not meddle, but its hand is forced by a powerful demon and a monumental struggle between them dwarfs that being waged by humans.

Preview The Shires of York

Read the first four chapters here

Joseph Murphy-James has kindly given us the first four chapters of The Age of Darkness, book one of The Shires of York, for you to enjoy. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did (we’ve read all six and can firmly give it the thumbs up).

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