How many times has Merlin returned to save perfidious Albion in its hour of need? Too often, perhaps, but never quite like this.
Merlin reawakes from a thousand years of dormition one cold October evening in 1986 in the Dorset village of Nymphnett Thrubwell, immediately realising that both he and the world around have fundamentally changed, that what was Merlin is now Lucretia and that she has returned to change the course of history. The question is, has she learned from his mistakes or will lust defeat her once again?
Initially fêted by both the hoi-polloi and the aristocracy, at first Lucretia can do no wrong – the English love an eccentric, after all. Well, they might love an eccentric but the notion of a madwoman in their midst foments paranoia and before long Lucretia is either feared or hated – or both – by all. The coldest January on record, the unseasonably warm spring and the Great Dorset Earthquake of 1987 all provide evidence of her sorcery and when Lucretia casts a spell to bring together two illicit lovers, the Arthurian myth begins to repeat itself all over again.
News from the English Countryside is the first of a two-part story that takes Arthurian mythology, twists the genre, adds a little sexual subversion and returns it to a thoroughly modern context.