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Short Story Press presents "Summer of Saracens", by James England.
In the summer of AD 777, Charlemagne rode out to conquer the Saracens and reclaim Hispania for the Holy Roman Empire. While immortalized in the words of medieval poets, scholars, and historians, the story never told is the one of what happens when all the men leave and the village is left to run itself.
This is a story of Lady Matilda, the wife of Lord Harold, one of Charlemagne’s many lieutenants. After Lord Harold departed, nearly two years ago, Matilda, her maiden, Marta, and her steward, Otto, had been left to maintain the affairs of their small hamlet of Doblesmark.
With resources stretched thin from the long war, rumors of plague and highwaymen besetting them, Matilda must boldly find a way to meet the needs of her people, the pressing urgency of the papacy, and, most of all, her own sanity. Accompanied by her maiden, Marta, she must deftly navigate the intricacies of managing the affairs of the folk of Doblesmark while ensuring their own survival.
When will Lord Harold return? Will bandits beset the village in its sleep? And what of this strange pagan festival that will begin the rites of summer? And what will ever befall them in this ever-perilous summer of Saracens?