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RED DIE A Dorset Mystery by ROGER NORMAN 

A haunting tale of reality and illusion, of the living and the dead, a tale of natural potions and
supernatural powers in which the threads of human destiny unravel and intertwine.

roger norman red die

In October 1916, Lance-Corporal Jack Yeoman arrives back in England from the trenches of the Western Front. Guided in his movements by a pair of unusual dice he carries with him, he returns to his home in deepest Dorset and arranges a secret rendezvous with his adoptive sister Maggie at a village pub. But his recklessness in word and deed soon land him in trouble and he finds himself a hunted man. His war-wounded brother Charles, the embittered stone-builder Bate, the vindictive local squire of Minterne, and the sinister priest of Urley – all have their reasons for pursuing Jack as he flees deeper into the heart of his native land and deeper into the mystery that envelops him.

Several others are drawn into his sphere through the roll of the dice, some of whom are more than they seem, like the happy-go-lucky Londoner Cockler, or Mrs Dooley, landlady of The Duntish Rings. But there are other forces at work in this haunting tale of reality and illusion, of the living and the dead, a tale of natural potions and supernatural powers in which the threads of human destiny unravel and intertwine. As Jack seeks to come to terms with his conflicting loyalties and beliefs, with the death of his father, with his love for Maggie, events build to their violent climax on All Hallow's Eve on Giant Hill at Cerne Abbas.


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Roger Norman grew up in Dorset and was educated at Sherborne School and Cambridge University. In the course of his life, Norman has lived and worked in Greece as an olive farmer, been features Editor of the English-language Turkish Daily News in Ankara, taught in several universities, and served as a consultant on missions for several United Nations agencies examining agriculture and economic development. He currently works full-time as a writer and lives in Eskişehir in the region of Turkey known in Classical times as Phrygia.

Norman’s fiction continues the English tradition begun by John Masefield and John Cowper Powys, in which an undercurrent of supernatural fantasy or even mildly occult events interacts with characters in a modern British setting. Albion’s Dream, first published in 1990, tells the story of a 12 year old schoolboy and his cousin who find a home-made boardgame in a farmhouse cupboard. They begin to play the game and quickly find that it unlocks mysterious forces and situations which they find it increasingly difficult to master. Tree Time, 1997, is a fantasy novel for younger children about a night that happens once every century when trees come to life and walk around while the world sleeps. Red Die, (2008) recounts the last weeks in the life of a World War I army deserter, Jack Yeoman, in October 1916 as he travels across the Dorset countryside guided by a set of red dice, pursued by his enemies. The story builds up to a shattering tragic climax on the eve of All Saints day, at Dorset’s famous prehistoric monument Giant Hill at Cerne Abbas. In addition to his fiction writings, Norman also contributes articles to newspapers and magazines.

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April 2010