The Truth of the Line

Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619) was a trusted member of the court and favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. He illuminated various charters and legal documents as well as painting portraits of the queen and many of his contemporaries. From the 1580s onwards HIliard portrayed the queen either as Cynthea – Virgin Goddess of the Moon, or as the perpetually young Astrea – Virgin Goddess of the Golden Age. These miniature portraits reinforced the idea that England’s queen was, and would remain unmarried.

However, is there more than propaganda regarding the queen’s chastity behind these portraits of Elizabeth I?

This novel tells Hilliard’s own story through some of the portraits he created for his patrons and interprets the symbols and emblems these paintings contain. From the time he was introduced to Elizabeth I in 1572, I explore the great events that happened between 1572 and 1588 as seen through his eyes.

The title is a quote from Hilliard’s draft treatise of 1598, but is it purely a reference to his extraordinary ability to capture his sitter’s likeness, or does it allude to something far more fascinating, such as a royal bastard?

Hilliard’s portrait of a young man holding a hand coming from a cloud (in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London) has long puzzled historians and art historians, and I am but one in a long line of those who have theories as to the meaning behind the motto, Attici Amoris Ergo. I believe the answer not only lies in deciphering the riddle of the motto, but also the complex visusal clues. Famous for his ability to capture the likeness of his sitters, perhaps the answer also lies in comparing this portrait with those he created of Elizabeth I and of sir Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. As a forensic scientist friend of mine said, “You can’t beat genetics!”

Also available as an EBook.

I am currently in the process of writing up the research behind this novel, with the intention of finding a bona fide publisher for a non-fiction book behind the Truth of the Line.


The day Melissa returns for her Great Aunt Hetty’s funeral and turns the key in the lock of The Old Manor House on the de Braose estate where she grew up, she knows her life is about to change. Lord Edward de Braose, his grandson William and faithful Mr & Mrs Podger help her come to terms with Hetty’s death and the revelations in the will. When Lord Edward dies suddenly and the ancient de Braose estate is inherited by his son Tobias, the mansion and park is sold. The new owners plan to develop the park into a golfcourse and vast 16th century mansion into the clubhouse with a health spa, but is this development all what it seems? William and Melissa campaign to save the endangered species and rare chalk grassland from the bulldozers only to discover they are up against wealthy, powerful invisible investors, sheltering behind offshore trusts and shell companies registered in various tax havens around the world. Can they beat the power of big money and challenge the local council’s permission for the development via the Engish court system in the High Court? And what of their own relationship?

Also available as an EBook.

Love or Money

The daughter of wealthy divorced parents, Fleur Barton had left the Channel Island of Jersey for the bright lights of London when she was 18. Her marriage had been a disaster and her divorce acrimonious. She had survived the violence and the abuse, but the emotional scars run deep. Renewing an old relationship helps heal these wounds, but love is not enough.

A substantial inheritance enables her to fulfil one ambition and she finds herself in the world of high finance and big deals. Is she able to find happiness and healing in Hong Kong?

Set in a time before mobile phones and large City bonuses, this is the story of one woman’s struggle to make her way in a man’s world.

Written back in the 1990s, but not published until 2012.

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