Somerset, 1565

‘Henry Lyte wakes in a sweat, and lies on the bed with his heart racing. Joan Young was in his dream again like a long, red tendril coiling up and up towards his neck.

The moon always makes him dream badly. Weeds in the Knot garden make him dream badly; running grasses, bittercress, nettles, sinister little towers of horsetail. It is the time of year for such things. Early summer with its abundant froth of blossom and greening fields looks idyllic to the untrained city eye, delighting in the sight of cows dotted in the meadow and good asparagus to eat at noon – but to be inside the working countryside is a different matter. He rubs his neck to be rid of the tight sensation he still feels there…’

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