Berkshire-based writer Tim Walker brings the rich history, culture and legends of the river Thames valley to life in his new book, Thames Valley Tales. The collection of 15 short stories contains snapshots of contemporary life in the towns and cities along the river Thames, often including the re-telling of historical and legendary events associated with the flowing heart of England.
London is represented by two stories – The Seesaw Sea of Fate (an historical pub crawl adventure) and Blue Sky Thinking (based on a real prison escape). Further upstream, Runnymede Rebellion (recently short-listed in a national short story competition) examines the true meaning of freedom, and The Colnbrooke Caper is a fast-paced crime thriller.
The Merry Women of Windsor is a humorous up-date of a Shakespeare comedy, and The Long Walk is a windy romance set in the shadows of Windsor Castle. Maidenhead Thicket features the ghost of Dick Turpin, and The Devil’s Highway follows a man’s journey to Bath for a job interview whilst reflecting on the history of the Roman road, now the A4.
Murder at Henley Regatta is a good old-fashioned murder mystery and Marlow is represented by the story Swans on Parade. Deviating to the west of Goring, on the Ridgeway Path, is the setting for The White Horse, and further north in the famous university city Oxford, a shape-shifting tiger is on the prowl in The Tiger’s Foot.
Beyond Oxford, the river winds through country meadows steeped in history, marking what was once the boundary between the Saxon kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia. Two stories are set here: The Grey Lady is a civil war ghost story and The Battle of Radcot Bridge has a school teacher attempting to enthuse his pupils with a locally set story from English history.
All in all, the collection of stories paints a picture of vibrant and widely-contrasting communities of city, town and country dwellers in this important heartland of central southern England. Many of the historical events that shaped England were witnessed along the banks of this mighty river as it flows 215 miles from source in a Gloucestershire meadow through nine counties to London and the North Sea.
Thames Valley Tales is available at the introductory price of £1.99 as an e-book download from amazon.co.uk. Just put ‘Thames Valley Tales’ in the search box, and if necessary, download the free app for devises other than Kindle. Happy reading, and please leave a review!