Voila! The first public outing for the synopsis of The Dipping Pool . Nervous...
'The Dipping Pool is both prequel and sequel to The Shadow of Nanteos* and continues the story of the infamous Powell family of Nanteos mansion near Aberystwyth. The narrative arc is longer, beginning six months before The Shadow of Nanteos, weaving in characters, locations and events from the first book but from different points of view and resolving the earlier novel’s ‘cliff-hanger’ ending. Although it is designed as a ‘stand alone‘ read, it is also intended to appeal to readers of the earlier book who will enjoy exploring the back story and links as the narrative develops.
Cardiganshire in the 1750s was known as ‘The Wild West’. Isolated from London by the mountains and poor roads, so called witchcraft was a way of life – the conjuror doing battle with the Church and the charismatic dissenting preachers for the people’s souls. The novel is set at the height of the Cardiganshire Lead Wars when the local gentry, a law unto themselves, take on the Crown in violent disputes about ownership of the land and mines. Armed militia roam the hills and the King sends a party of Scots Guards to keep the peace.
The lead and silver mines have sucked in the people for miles around and poisoned the rivers, but life at the newly built Nanteos Mansion is a delicate game of smoke and mirrors: juggling mortgages; spinning out credit; gambling on the price of ore. As heiress Mary Powell, granddaughter to the mayor of London, watches her fortune raise the impressive Georgian facade, she has no idea that within months her opulent life will be in tatters.
Meanwhile, only a few miles, though another world away, as weaver’s daughter Branwen Rhys falls from grace, who can she turn to for help? The two families’ intimate personal tragedies are played out against the dramatic backdrop of the Cambrian Mountains.
Published in October 2015, The Shadow of Nanteos was long-listed for the Historical Novel Society Award, was Waterstone’s Wales Book of the Month and one of the top ten best selling Welsh books/ audio books.