New Bridge to Lyndesfarne (Synopsis | Chapter Summaries). Set in the present day, this work follows Kevin, a talented but lonely forty-something who is commissioned to design a New Bridge between the Two Worlds. Accompanied by Tanji, his guide and interpreter from Lyndesfarne, Kevin inadvertently discovers a conspiracy to destroy the bridge which puts their lives in danger.
Bridge at War (Synopsis | Chapter Summaries). A prequel to New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, this book is set in 1946, immediately after the end of the Second World War. The story follows three young men (Tom, Alistair and Bram) who were comrades in the Army during the War. Bram gently introduces the world of Lyndesfarne to the others, and engineers their recruitment into the Guardians, one of the secretive organisations whose purpose is to protect the crossing to Lyndesfarne.
Death on the New Bridge (Chapter Summaries). A sequel to New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, this novel once again follows Kevin and Tanji, who are asked by Bret to assist with the investigation of the mysterious death of Andrew Wollack, a microbial epidemiologist, who was found in the exact centre of the New Bridge shortly after its official opening.
Bridge of Stone and Magic. This book is partially a prequel to Bridge at War, set in Napoleonic times, when the original Lyndesfarne Bridge was being constructed. It is also partially a sequel to Death on the New Bridge, set in the present time, with Kevin, Bret and Tanji investigating a suspected new crossing between the worlds, a crossing which was supposed to have been closed several centuries ago.
Disclaimer: The world of Lyndesfarne described in these books is entirely fictitious, and bears no resemblance to the charming Holy Island of Lindisfarne in North East England.
A (partial) glossary of terms used in the Lyndesfarne series.
|A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z||[ Characters ]|
Agrea: A country elsewhere in the world in Lyndesfarne. At one time, Agrea was linked directly to our world by their own crossing to Siberia; however, this crossing was closed many years ago. More recently, Agrea was implicated in an attempt to destroy the Lyndesfarne crossing.
Alnwick: A market town in England, close to Holme Farm and the crossing to Lyndesfarne. The market is visited by Tom, Alistair and Bram, where they meet the mysterious Irish Mystic and hear old tales about magic and the Faerie crossings that used to exist in Ireland.
Barrier: The magical protection on the crossing between the Two Worlds, which disables (almost) all magic when removed from Lyndesfarne, and also prevents all but the simplest of machines from working.
Originally thought to be a natural property, but later discovered to be a man-made effect, carefully maintained by the Board of Control.
Bridge at War, Chapter 8: This hostelry was frequented by workers and labourers from the surrounding area, and was often very jolly and raucous. There was regularly music and singing around the piano later in the evening, with one or another of the men grinding out an energetic and often suggestive ditty.
Boards: A general term for the organisational committees which control almost all aspects of life in Lyndesfarne. The Board of Control is one such example, being in charge of all aspects of the crossing to our world. The Board of Construction is the organisation responsible for the construction of the Lyndesfarne half of the New Bridge.
Bridge at War, Chapter 34: "But all this is based on philanthropic and autocratic, rather than socialist, principles," Briz went on, getting louder as he spoke, "Our governments are not democratic, not elected, and there's no assertion that all men - and women - are in any way equal. A place for everyone, and everyone in their place, is the motto."
Board of Control: The central authority in charge of the crossing in Lyndesfarne. It is organised as a collection of overlapping committees and sub-boards. A better translation of its name from the Lyndesfarne language might be 'Board for the Protection of Mutual Interests'.
Board of Construction: The organisation responsible for the construction of the Lyndesfarne half of the New bridge. Craz the Overseer works for the Board of Construction, as does Quarl.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 2: Up to that point, the men in the room - and they were all men - could have been assembled from an identikit of the British Professional Male. Hair shaved or clipped short, to disguise encroaching baldness; sober and usually slightly tatty business suits; blue or white shirts, and ties evidently chosen either by wives or in some failed attempt to communicate individuality and a sense of humour.
Cape: A long cloak with a hood, frequently worn by people from Lyndesfarne. Often magically enhanced to remain warm and to dry out quickly.
Castle: An ancient stone building set on the coast of Lyndesfarne, not far from the causeway. The castle is now maintained by the Cultural History Maintenance Board.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 20: From the Mainland side, the castle appeared completely ruined, with just the suggestion of crumbling walls and the stumps of towers visible. Even that much detail was difficult to make out, and Kevin had initially assumed that there was little of interest there.
From the Island side, however, a very different impression was to be had. The castle had been built on a vast outcropping of rock at the end of a long narrow promontory, with the fortifications themselves appearing to have been extruded from the stone underneath. The walls seemed tall and solid, pierced with arrow-slits and topped with crenulations.
Causeway: The pair of built-up roadways which join the Old Bridge to the coasts of England and Lyndesfarne. The causeway is more than a mile in length, and wide enough for two horse-drawn wagons to pass easily.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 7: Over the years, the paths over the sands had been first marked and then built up with stones brought from either side. Eventually, larger blocks had been quarried, transported by some combination of ox-cart and prodigious human effort, and set deep in the sands to form the causeways, the ends of the causeways forming jetties for the ferry, which could even now still be seen as part of the supports for the old bridge.
Cliviger Grange (The Grange): An old house set in spacious grounds, now the home of the Reserve Defence Training Establishment, also known as Guardian School. Much of the grounds are now filled with newer buildings, used as barracks for the Guardians, as well as other less well-defined purposes.
Cloak: One of two ways in which magical invisibility can be provided. Works by transfering the light straight through a solid object, like magical windows. The garments worn by the Watchers use this technique.
College for Guardians: The training establishment for Guardians in the world of Lyndesfarne. Originally mis-translated by Tom as 'First School of Guardians'.
Construction Stone: A form of self-amalgamating building material in widespread use in Lyndesfarne, construction stone is embued with magical properties which makes it easy to work and handle. Construction stone was used for the Lyndesfarne half of the New Bridge.
Crossing: A technical term referring to a path or passage between the World of Lyndesfarne and our own world. At one time, there were many paths and crossings between the Two Worlds but, over the years, most of these have been closed or, in some cases, destroyed explosively.
There is only one known crossing between the worlds, located in North East England. The crossing appears as a long causeway and an old stone bridge to a small island - whether approached from the Lyndesfarne world or from our own. For mysterious reasons, the visibility across the deep straights between the worlds is almost always obscured by mist and haze, even on the sunniest of summer days. It is almost impossible to make out any details on the opposite shore.
Cultural History Maintenance Board: Another of the Lyndesfarne Boards which is responsible for the maintenance of the Lyndesfarne castle. Thought to be similar to organisations in our own world like English Heritage and the National Trust.
Dragon: One of several large species of flying reptile native to the world of Lyndesfarne. The largest dragons have wingspans of over ten feet. In the wild, they bring down deer and wild boar, but will prey on domestic animals or even humans if they can.
In the past, most kinds of dragon were regarded as pests and vermin, and hunted down. Old Ged the dragon-hunter has many hunting tales. Dragon flesh is not fit to eat, but their skins can be made into a form of hardwearing leather.
Bridge at War, Chapter 12: "Dragons are almost impossible to hit when they are flying," the old man resumed, "Whatever you try - arrows, spears, fireballs. They're both swift and agile in flight, surprisingly so given their size, and firing at them just annoys them. But they're much more vulnerable on the ground, and much more jumpy, too."
More recently, dragons have become an endangered species and are kept in special reserves far from human habitation.
Smaller species of dragon are kept as domestic animals, trained to bring down rabbits and pidgeons for the pot. Nightwings are an even smaller type, used to hunt rats and mice in farm buildings. Desert Hawks are another smaller species of dragon.
Dragon's Nest (Nest of Dragons): A public house close to the Lyndesfarne side of the causeway. Visited on one occasion by Kevin and Tanji, although Kevin is told that it is called the Squirrel's Nest.
Also visited by Tom, Alistair and Bram, where they encounter Old Ged the dragon-hunter.
Elfin: The natural appearance of most people in Lyndesfarne is often described as "elfin". Typically they have promenent cheekbones and slightly pointed ears. Shapeshifters can change their appearance, and often do so to minimise problems when they visit our world.
Faerie: An old-fashioned name for the world of Lyndesfarne, no longer in everyday use. This name is featured in stories told by the Irish Mystic lady to Tom, Alistair and Bram in the Crossed Keys public house in Alnwick.
Bridge at War, Chapter 6: Even in those days, access to the world of Faerie was variable and unpredictable. One pathway was widely used for trade and commerce, with many travellers crossing with goods and returned with much money in silver and gold in their purses. This crossing could only be used under certain weather conditions. When the sun shone from the Faerie lands and lit up the rain in our world, then - and only then - was it safe to cross. Truly, it was necessary to follow the rainbows to reach your goal."
Ferry: The only way to cross between the Two Worlds before the construction of the causeway and the Old Bridge. Now long since discontinued. The Ferryman guided you to and from the ferry across the marshes and sandbanks.
Ferryman: A semi-mythological figure, who was once reputed to guide Visitors safely across the marshes and quicksands, and then to pilot the ferry-boat, in order to cross between the worlds. He is described as a tall man in voluminous oiled leather waterproof cape with a hood drawn up over his head. He has a grizzled beard and smokes a long-stemmed pipe.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 7: "To cross, you had to walk the sands in single file to the ferry, following closely the person in front so as not to get separated. Then you and your companions had to row across the open water. The Ferryman was your guide - he steered the boat, held the lantern, and directed you along the safe path over the mudflats. He was never known to row himself. There are many Ferryman stories: all concerned with heroic adventures, great deeds of rescue, and the saving of many lives under strange and desperate circumstances."
Games: Games of luck and chance are not popular in Lyndesfarne, presumably becuase of the ready availability of predictive magic (such as that embedded in Kevin's paperweight). However, single- and multi-player role-playing games are popular, using immersive magic based on 'Game Stones'.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 30: Games were played "for real" in what the Professor could only describe as a light trance. For single-player games, one took what looked like a pair of smallish stones into each hand; they fitted neatly into each palm. For multiple players, the participants were seated together, and each took up a similar pair of stones. At an initialization gesture, the stones soften, allowing the manipulation of what Kevin thought of as a virtual environment.
A similar magic can also be used to disguise the features of an individual, so that they cannot be recognised.
Guardians: The name given to the groups responsible for policing the crossing to Lyndesfarne. Based in both worlds, and usually satationed at the entrances to the causeway to the Old Bridge, as well as the approaches to the New Bridge during and after its construction.
The Guardians are under the command of the Board of Control in Lyndesfarne. In our own world, Cliviger Grange acts as the training school for new recruits to the Guardians, which is where Tom and Alistair become trainees. In Lyndesfarne, the equivalent organisation is known as the College for Guardians.
Guide: A general term used to refer to those whose role it is to escort Visitors from one world to their desired destination in the Other World. Members of both the Guild of Directions (in Lyndesfarne) and the Travellers Guidance Group (TGG) in our own world are sometimes loosely called Guides.
Alistair speaks of joining the Guides when he is enrolled in the Travellers Guidance Group.
Guild of Directions: The conventional English translation of a Lyndesfarne Guide organisation who employs both Tanji and Ricard. Affiliated to the Board of Control. A better translation might be 'Visitor Escort Bureau'.
Guild of Transportation: The Lyndesfarne organiation which is responsible for the maintenance of the portals. Tanji's Uncle is a Senior Convenor in the Guild of Transportation.
Kevin also mentally uses the term 'Islander' to refer to people from the world of Lyndesfarne.
Landberrs: The name of a town close to the crossing in Lyndesfarne where Kevin visits a Board of Construction office building for a meeting. Here, Kevin learns about the Lyndesfarne preference for living underground, as well as the use of magical windows.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 24: "Many people keep one to keep the grass down. It floats over the lawn, trimming off the tops and, um, digesting the results. Although it's not really alive. I suppose you would call it a machine."
League: A unit of measure for long distances, defined in Lyndesfarne as 250 chains or a little over three miles.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 22: Kevin wondered idly about the seven league boots he recalled from children's stories. That would mean that, on the Island, someone wearing such boots would take about 22 miles per step.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 27: "...they kept the animal for several years, although how they managed to feed it and keep it hidden no one knows. Then, in the natural course of things, the animal grew too large, and it somehow escaped (or perhaps they just released it) into some lake up north somewhere. Apparently, the conspirators made several failed attempts to re-capture it, but their activities attracted the attention of the authorities and they were forced to abandon their prize.
Over the next few years, the creature was spotted by various locals, especially around dawn when it came to the surface to feed on plants at the lakeside.
Magic: Lyndesfarne has a rich and sophisticated culture at least as advanced as our own. Because of the barrier, the elaborate machines and technology which are so essential to life in our own world fail dramatically in Lyndesfarne. No machinery more intricate than wood-wheeled carts can be relied upon in the Other World.
Life in Lyndesfarne relies entirely on techniques incomprehensible to visitors which can only be described as "magic". Some mysterious property of the barrier between the Two Worlds prevents magical items imported from Lyndesfarne from working in our world, just as finely engineered items fail in Lyndesfarne.
Bridge at War, Chapter 31: They were poring, heads together, over a large sheet of paper which, as he drew closer, he could see was a map of the area. As they watched, Briz stabbed a forefinger on a location before making a spreading movement with his fingers, a gesture Tom knew meant "make larger" or, perhaps, "expand". Obediently, the image on the map rippled and redrew itself to show an enlarged representation of the area he had just pointed at.
Messengers (Official Messengers): A cadre under the control of the Guild of Directions, responsible for the rapid and secure delivery of important messages between the Two Worlds.
Bridge at War, Chapter 19: The Messengers dressed in different ways, often rather nondescript, but usually included a cloak and a knapsack of some kind. Nevertheless, they were always recognisable to the trained eye, mainly because of the trademark staff, a full-size walking stick with an intricate carving in the handle. The Messengers could commandeer transport, such as a car and driver from the Guardian base at the point where the causeway met the coast.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 3: Lyndesfarne currency consisted of large thin disks of various sizes, apparently made of a rather dull metal and covered with fine engraving. On the Island, they were invested with a number of magical properties to prevent counterfeiting, as well as the ability for a person to press together many coins of the same denomination, so that a large amount of money had the same size and weight as a single disk.
New Bridge: The new crossing over the straights jointly designed by Kevin and Bret. On the England side, it is a cable-stay bridge, consisting of a single steel-reinforced concrete support tower with a concrete roadbed, and with high tensile steel support cables. The Lyndesfarne side also has a tower and roadway of construction stone, supported by two pairs of triangular magical "tension distribution sails".
The join between the two sections of the New Bridge, where neither magic nor technology is totally reliable (because of the barrier), is a laminate of construction stone and conventional steel-reinforced concrete.
Newcastle Institute of Special Sciences and Arts (NISSA): One of the few accessible organisations in England whose sole purpose is to study the world of Lyndesfarne. Nominally attached to the University of Newcastle, and located on the University campus in North East England.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 25: The animal looked like a large flying reptile, obviously a night hunter, judging by the large and mobile eyes like those of a bird of prey. It came equipped with a large beak, or perhaps it was a long snout, filled with vicious teeth that looked to Kevin like those of a small crocodile.
Old Bridge: Part of the original crossing between our world and that of Lyndesfarne, constructed several hundred years ago. Reached by a long stone causeway on either side, the Old Bridge's central arch spans the deepest part of thestraights. On the England side, the masonary of the Old bridge is reinforced with steel rods, while the Lyndesfarne part is strengthened by magical sprites
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 4: The bridge consisted of three arches, with a vast central span crossing the deep water of the straights. The main arch seemed impossibly long and high, at least two hundred feet across and perhaps sixty feet in the air. There were smaller secondary arches on either side, perhaps seventy or eighty feet each, spreading the load from the main arch, and terminating in vast stone buttresses that both anchored the bridge and provided the ramps which allowed travellers to cross.
Other World: Translation of a term used in Lyndesfarne to refer to our world. Also sometimes used in our world to refer to the world of Lyndesfarne.
Paperweight: A magical trinket purchased by Kevin in a Lyndesfarne curio shop, with Tanji's assistance, containing a predictor sprite set to foretell the weather. Inadvertently transported across the straights when Kevin and Tanji are swept away in a small boat, they later discover that it is still operational in England.
Plesiosaur: One of several species of aquatic reptile found in many parts of Lyndesfarne. The Loch Ness Monster was a lonely plesiosaur brought illegally over the crossing decades ago.
Portal: A magical means of instantaneous point-to-point transport in widespread use in the world of Lyndesfarne. In appearance, a portal is shaped like a rounded archway, apparently blocked with a blank grey wall; when operating, the wall is as insubstantial as the film of a bubble, and one can easily walk through to one's destination.
The network of portals is under the control of the Guild of Transportation.
Predictor: A kind of Lyndesfarne magical sprite which predicts the future. This magic is only effective for events which are difficult or impossible for a person to influence (such as tomorrow's weather). Kevin's paperweight contains a predictor.
Reserve Defence Training Establishment (RDTE): The establishment at Cliviger Grange, used for the training of new recruits to the Guardians. Also known as 'Guardian School'. Tom and Alistair receive their induction training here.
The corresponding organisation in the world of Lyndesfarne is known as the College for Guardians.
Shapeshifter: An adept with the magical ability to alter their physical appearance. Most people from Lyndesfarne can make minor changes to the shape of the faces and the colour of their hair. A very few can make much more radical alterations. Bret is a particularly talented shapeshifter, and Tanji has some talent as well.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 5: As they made their way down the Island side of the old bridge, Kevin noticed that numerous subtle changes were occurring in Tanji's appearance. Her face became less rounded, and her cheekbones more pronounced. Her ears seemed to take on a slightly pointed appearance. Her hair lightened, from the inconspicuous mid-blonde that Kevin was familiar with, to a much lighter and considerably more vibrant shade.
Bridge at War, Chapter 8: This pub tended to be frequented by an older, or at least quieter, clientele: quiet men, and a few women, of middle age who looked like they had seen a lot of life and, in some cases, genuinely had the scars to show for it. It was a place to enjoy a quiet chat with one's companions; the regulars tended to keep themselves to themselves.
Siberian Crossing: A crossing in Siberia once traversed by Alistair's grandfather. The crossing terminated in a steep pass in the mountains of Agrea, a distant country in the world of Lyndesfarne.
This crossing was closed in a great hurry nearly a hundred years ago, resulting in huge explosions in both Agrea and Siberia.
Bridge at War, Chapter 4: "...there was a tremendous explosion from the direction they had just come. There was an enormous flash of light in the sky and, a few moments later, a huge bang and an immense blast of wind. It knocked Granddad off his feet, he said, and shied the horses something rotten."
Slates: A magical means of communication which has been in widespread use in Lyndesfarne for generations. A typical slate is the size of a large notebook, and the black upper surface can be used for writing or drawing. Using suitable gestures the message can be sent instantly to the intended recipient.
Sprites: Agents of Lyndesfarne magic, sprites can be thought of as 'captured intent', performing the same action forever, unless changed by a gesture. Particularly powerful sprites are sometimes visible are orange or green lights embedded in physical objects.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 4: The dull stonework on the mainland side of the central arch seemed to mutate on the far side, with orange flecks to be found seemingly deep within the solid stones, just visible in the haze and drizzle.
Even from this distance, the flecks gave the impression of continual movement, but only when glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. When Kevin watched directly, the sparks seemed entirely motionless. Like orange fireflies, but somehow inside the rock itself, he thought.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 25: "The pub," he said, "Where we had dinner the other night. The sign over the door. That's not a squirrel's nest at all, is it?"
"No, you're right," Tanji replied, looking slightly sheepish. "I guess it was thought that translating it as 'The Dragons Nest' would have been unnecessarily unsettling for visitors like yourself. But it is a traditional name for an inn."
St. Cuthbert's Way: A hidden track leading to the Lyndesfarne crossing, used in times past to allow Visitors to England to move discreetly through the countryside.
Bridge at War, Chapter 7: The road was surprisingly shady, with mature trees at intervals and high hedgerows and stone walls on either side. For the most part, it was very difficult to see the surrounding countryside and, when they caught a glimpse through the hedges, there was nothing to see except open fields and the occasional cow. It was almost, Tom mused privately, as if the way had been intended to be secret.
Straights: The (unnamed) stretch of water between our world and that of Lyndesfarne. The straights are bisected by the barrier that divides the Two Worlds. It is crossed by the causeway and the Old Bridge, and later by the New Bridge as well.
Tourist Information Office: An unexpectedly spacious building close to the crossing on the England side. This building is actually the main guard station for the Guardians, as well as housing the Lyndesfarne money exchange.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 3: At the point where the road joined the causeway, there was a low building which Kevin had mistaken, on his first visit, for a Tourist Information office. This disguise was fairly convincingly carried off, both inside and out. The building sported numerous signs displaying the "little I in the box" logo, and inside were ranged racks containing maps and brochures advertising tourist attractions - all of which were located on the Mainland, Kevin had noted.In earlier times, this building had a more directly military purpose, housing an armoury used by Tom and his Guardian colleagues to defend the causeway.
Towers: A pair of communications towers are sited on either side of the crossing, close to the causeway. Coded flashes of light, similar to Morse code transmitted with Aldis Lamps, are used for rapid communication across the straights. The tower in our world is a grey-painted steel latticework structure, and also houses aerials for radio communication and navigation lights. The towers are visited by Tom and Alistair during their Guardian training.
Transport: For transport where a portal is not possible or convenient, people in Lyndesfarne occasionally use magical vehicles. Tanji uses such a vehicle to transport Kevin to and from the site of the New Bridge.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 5: Tanji's personal transport consisted of a flattened translucent ovoid, virtually indistinguishable from the dozen or so other similarly shaped bubbles sitting in the field. Tanji guided him over to a particularly smoky grey bubble and made a complex gesture he could not follow. The colour faded, and the interior was revealed. It looked something like a two-seat sofa in dark red leather, with attached oversized footrests, which struck Kevin as rather incongruous standing in a slightly damp field.The use of horse-drawn wagons is commonplace for transportation across the causeway.
Unicorn: A large and belligerent species of goat with long white hair, kept as farm animals in a distant part of the world of Lyndesfarne. The males have straight pointed horns on their heads. During the mating season, they often lose one (or sometimes both) of the horns when fighting, giving them a strange and slightly mythical appearance.
Visitor: A native from one world who uses a crossing to visit the Other World. VIP Visitors are usually accompanied by a Guide. For Visitors to Lyndesfarne, the Guide will be provided by the Guild of Directions. For Visitors to our own world, the Guide will be a member of the Travellers Guidance Group (TGG), colloquially known as The Guides.
Visitors to Lyndesfarne are advised to leave their everyday mechanical and electronic items at home. Mobile phones and laptop computers will fail as soon as they are exported, and may not always work when they are returned to our world. Plan on walking over the causeway: cars and even bicycles will break down as soon as they cross the centre of the bridge.
Walled Garden: A hostel used by Kevin on his visits to the world of Lyndesfarne during the construction of the New Bridge. The hostel is located not far from the end of the causeway to the Old Bridge, and is within walking distance of the Dragon's Nest pub.
Also known as the 'Garden of Boundaries'.
Kevin later stays at the Walled Garden with Tanji before she is kidnapped.
Watchers: A secretive organisation, ultimately responsible to the Board of Control, that provides covert surveillance on both sides of the crossing. Watchers are almost never seen, except on rare occasions presumably to deliberately make their prescence known. By tradition, Watchers wear long black capes with a deeply cowled hood, which are thought to embody certain powerful magical capabilities.
Windows: Many buildings in Lyndesfarne extend several levels underground, historically to avoid the predations of dragons. Natural light is allowed into the lower stories by magical windows, where light from outside is passed to many windows on the inside.
An index of characters from the Lyndesfarne sequence of novels.
|A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z||[ Glossary ]|
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 2: Kevin had vaguely expected that the Professor would sport a stereotypical bow-tie, briar pipe and a tweed jacket with worn leather elbow patches. In fact, the Professor ("call me Alan") was a youngish fit-looking man in jeans and T-shirt. He had wild curly black hair and a tanned face with a stubble beard, and looked for all the world like a latter-day romantic Celtic poet.Professor Alan briefs Kevin on Lyndesfarne magic, and his help is sought by Kevin and Tanji when they discover the magical paperweight.
He also came equipped with a surprisingly down-to-earth attitude, especially given the subject matter. He had an easy manner although, being a University teacher, he sometimes tended towards a somewhat pontificating style.
Alistair (Alistair McLaughlin): One of Tom's companions in the Army during the Second World War. After demobbing, he is recruited by Bram into the Guardians, and later joins the Guides. He falls in love with, and eventually marries, Bram's sister Yise.
In appearance, Alistair is tall and gangy, with fair skin which burns easily in the sun.
Aneil: The official interpreter from the Guild of Directions during the construction of the New Bridge. She is described as a tall, taciturn figure in dark clothes, with shoulder-length brown hair and piercing grey eyes that always seem unsmilingly alert.
Arden: A Duty Warden in the Guardian force in our own world, based at Cliviger Grange. He is said to have a slightly stand-offish attitude, with a reputation for unswerving, even over-zealous, dedication to what he perceives as his duty.
Aunt: Tanji's Aunt, who welcomes Tanji and Kevin when they escape across the incomplete New Bridge. She is described as a petite woman with silver-grey hair, with a strong family resemblence to Tanji.
Bram (Bram 'Stoker'): An agent for the Lyndesfarne Board of Control, directed by his father Briz. While reporting on the progress of the Second World War in our own world, he meets Tom and Alistair, and later recruits them into the Guardians. Bram's mother is Yellez, and Yise is his younger sister.
The family name 'Stoker' is a fiction, used only when members of Bram's family travel in our world.
Brasham: A quietly-spoken Sergeant in the Guardians, based at the Reserve Defence Training Establishment (RDTE) at Cliviger Grange. He escorts Tom and Alistair on a trip to the College of Guardians in Lyndesfarne, as well as a visit to the communications tower on the Lyndesfarne coast.
Bret: The designer of the Lyndesfarne half of the New Bridge, working closely with Kevin and the Board of Construction. Bret befriends Kevin, and invites him to join her family for dinner in Lyndesfarne one evening.
Bret is a talented shapeshifter, so that Kevin is initially under the impression that she is a man. Bret is described as having an open, smiling, even boyish face and a full head of blond hair, tied in a neat ponytail. Bret's husband Eosin is a experienced designer of magical sprites. Bret is the mother of Myra and Andhra.
Briz: Bram's father, and a member of the Board of Control in Lyndesfarne. He is described as a large man, powerfully built with a full dark beard only lightly streaked with grey and an untamed shock of black hair frosted at the temples.
Bromath: According to stories told by Briz and the Irish Mystic lady, Bromath is a brave and resourceful man who risked his life to warn the "Lords and Ladies" of the Land of Faerie of the approach to the crossing in Ireland of the invader Oliver Cromwell.
Charlie (Charles): A young man who also joins the Guardians at Cliviger Grange at the same time as Tom and Alistair. Cousin to Stan, he comes from a English family who have long historical associations with the Lyndesfarne crossing.
Bridge at War, Chapter 18: From Stan and Charlie, Tom learned that there were families on this side of the straights who had had connections with Lyndesfarne for generations. It was traditional for young people - both men and women - to gain a role somewhere in the overlapping organisations protecting the crossing or engaging in trade with Lyndesfarne. Sometimes this was a job for life; in other cases, the young people would return to their homes after a few years, or settle down with family and farming in later life.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 10: [He] was a big man with broad shoulders and remarkably large hands, and sported a deep tan and a luxuriant black moustache which made him look like a larger-than-life version of Mario the Plumber.
David Macmillan: David is a Partner in the (unnamed) firm of architects which once employed Kevin. He is responsible for UK Crossings contracts, including the contract to build the New Bridge.
Duncan Tweedy: The project manager from the (unnamed) firm of civil engineering contractors who is responsible for the construction of the England side of the New Bridge. Also known (behind his back) as Tweedledum.
Edgar: Foreman of the staff of mechanics and drivers at Cliviger Grange. Befriends Tom when he is a trainee in the Guardians.
Farmill: A rather nervous and frail-looking young man who is the nominated assistant to Bret during the construction of the New Bridge.
Farrar: A Guardian who bravely rowed from Lydesfarne to rescue men from a shipwreck. A talented shapeshifter, she was able to assume the identity of Grace Darling's father (actually her colleague Graz) after the rescue.
Frank Boxton: A professional acquaintance of Kevin, a project manager who works for the same firm of architects and is based in the same Manchester office. Kevin suspects that Frank may be verging on alcoholism.
Bridge at War, Chapter 11: "Folks hereabouts call me Old Ged, though I'm not as ancient as some people would have you believe. I've been, well, I guess you would call me a gamekeeper. And a hunter too, from time to time. I've hunted all sorted of game over the years. But this wily old bat" - he indicated the mounted head over the fireplace - "nearly did me in just a year or two ago."
George Wilson (Uncle George): A mechanic and friend of his family who quietly teaches the young Tom about machinery and engines, as well as the rudiments of driving.
Bridge at War, Chapter 14: He was an old friend of the family, it seemed, although following the convention of the time, Tom had been taught to refer to the other man as "Uncle George". With hindsight, George was really quite a young man, although it seemed to a pre-pubescent Tom that he was nearly as ancient as Granny. He had prematurely grey hair and bookish spectacles, and seemed to be perpetually clothed in greasy overalls.
Graz: A Guardian who bravely rowed from Lydesfarne to rescue men from a shipwreck. Unable to return to Lyndesfarne, she assumed the name 'Grace Darling' and lived with her 'father' (actually her colleague Farrar).
Bridge at War, Chapter 18: Tom particularly enjoyed the classes in unarmed combat, given by a lithe and energetic little man known only as Mister Giles, who must have had a military background in what Tom assumed to be one of the commando regiments. After a few sessions spent being thrown about by Giles and his new comrades, and throwing some of them in turn, Tom felt he was gaining a degree of confidence in tackling any shady character who tried to hit him.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 10: Greysmith could be relied upon to complete a particular task only if one checked on his progress every thirty minutes or so. An electric cattle-prod, considered Kevin, would be a useful additional incentive.
Grandfather: Maternal grandfather to Alistair. Now dead, he had a great fund of tall stories, including a tale where he navigated the Siberian crossing to Agrea, a distant part of the world of Lyndesfarne.
Bridge at War, Chapter 14: Outwardly, Tom's Granny was a rather fierce old woman, proud and independent, although physically tiny and rather frail. She had been herself widowed quite young, when her only daughter was but a child. Nevertheless, within this rather gruff exterior, there really did beat the proverbial heart of gold.
Death on the New Bridge, Chapter 5: [He] had what Kevin could only describe as an extremely lived-in face. His countenance was criss-crossed with creases and frown marks, and his weather-beaten visage looked reddened by the wind or perhaps just hasty shaving. He was wrapped up in a bulky waterproof jacket coloured dark blue, as far as he could tell in the irregular lighting, This was part of the not-quite-uniform adopted by the Guardians from his own world, Kevin knew, and in this case it was overlain by a tabard in that familiar high-visibility yellow.
Bridge at War, Chapter 8: ...had been given to understand from gossip around the bar that he had served with the royal artillery during the War. He was probably in reality only a little older than any of the companions, but looked prematurely aged, with grey hair and pallid skin that suggested, Tom considered, some unpleasant experiences in his past, a view emphasised by the burns and scars on his face and hands.
Bridge at War, Chapter 18: ...a little dark man called Ifor who sported a van dyke beard and moustache, and who Tom had no difficulty in identifying as Welsh. Ifor was chatty and approachable, and soon established himself at the centre of the trainees' social circle.
Kevin: A talented civil architect, Kevin is highly experienced in the design of bridges. He is recruited to architect the New Bridge at the Lyndesfarne crossing. He is in his forties, divorced and lives in a small flat in Manchester.
Kithyn: An old friend of Tanji from the Guild of Directions. Married to Amiss. At one time, Kithyn and Tanji corresponded frequently using Slates. In appearance, she is a tall and rather well-built woman whose hair is a tangled mass of dark curls.
Linda Braxton: Doctor Braxton is on the staff of the Newcastle Institute of Special Sciences and Arts (NISSA). She gives briefings to Kevin on the properties of everyday objects in Lyndesfarne.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 12: Doctor Linda Braxton was a large woman, who had a somewhat matronly appearance coupled with a distinct no-nonsense attitude. She wore a pleated knee-length skirt and stout sensible shoes which allowed her to stride about in an extremely determined fashion, and made Kevin think slightly uncomfortably about Scotsmen and kilts.Later, she is promoted to Professor Braxton, and takes over the running of NISSA, replacing the disgraced Professor Alan Wilmington.
Death on the New Bridge, Chapter 10: ...a tiny, almost bird-like woman whose hands were in constant movement as she chattered in a steady stream. As she spoke, she repeatedly bobbed up and down on the balls of her feet, presumably for emphasis, making her waist-length hair braids bounce and jiggle at every movement.
Bridge at War, Chapter 18: Another new acquaintance in the classes was a petite and bubbly woman with blonde hair cut unfashionably short, who was introduced as Marjorie. Despite her cheerful demeanour, it soon became clear to Tom that Marjorie had an incredibly sharp and incisive mind which he found just a little bit intimidating.
Bridge at War, Chapter 17: The officer was a tall, fit man in his late forties with greying hair cut short-back-and-sides, regulation-style, and who wore the uniform of the Guardians with a military dash.
Bridge of Stone and Magic, Chapter 3: ...attired head-to-foot in fashionably black clothing and was equipped with one of those short-cut hairstyles that ought, Kevin thought, to look boyish, but somehow managed to remain both feminine and very French.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 7: The barkeeper, who had appeared apparently in response to the cat's cries, was a man for whom the term "mine host" had been invented. He appeared to be a superannuated version of an Essex wide boy, with rather pointed facial features, a widow's peak and unfashionably bushy sideburns. He even spoke good English, with a noticeably "sarf Lun'un" accent.
Mother: Bret's mother. She is described as a tall and well-built woman frequently wearing floor-length robes, with silver-grey hair, worn long and tied back and bright blue eyes. Like Bret, she is an accomplished shapeshifter.
Nelson (Police Constable Percival Nelson): A British policeman whose beat takes in the Lyndesfarne crossing. He is described as an amiable old buffer, and clearly understands something of the special nature of the causeway and the role of the Guardians.
Bridge at War, Chapter 23: Constable Nelson appeared around the bend in the road leading to the crossing, riding very steadily on a black-painted sit-up-and-beg bicycle that was probably nearly as old as he was. Even so, the bright chrome-work of the wheels and handlebars was as good as new, and Tom suspected that the old boy probably polished the machine every day.Constable Nelson is found dead by Tom just before a group of motorcyclists attack the Old Bridge.
Newman, Angela: Works with Huw Williams at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. She recruited Andrew Wollack into NISSA. She is a cousin to Yiselle, a Guardian at the crossing.
Noaz: One of the architects of a crossing made several thousand years ago. He objected to the location of the crossing and was exiled to Kevin's world. When he discovers that the crossing will drain the sea of one world into the desert of another, he builds a lifeboat for his family and livestock.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 2: [He] was swarthy, with neatly clipped black hair and beard, and looked around as if expecting dastardly plots in every quarter.
Peter Brenner: The Project Manager for the design work to be performed by Kevin's firm of architects. A bit of a worrier but, surprisingly, he turns out to be fluent in the Lyndesfarne language.
Secretly, Brenner is an agent of the Ferryman.
Ricard: Kevin's original guide from the Guild of Directions. He is removed from his post (and replaced by Tanji) when Kevin wanders alone at night and discovers more than he should about the nature of the barrier and the Old Bridge.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 1: ...who, with his perpetual inane grin and dark green clothing, had always put Kevin in mind of a wide-mouthed frog.Riz: An energetic little man who teaches Kevin to ride when he and Tanji take a pony-trekking holiday in the world of Lyndesfarne. He later guides Kevin and Tanji, together with Vritz, to view Desert Hawks and the site of Noaz's crossing.
Sanjit: The highly efficient administrative assistant at Newcastle Institute of Special Sciences and Arts (NISSA), and secretary (at different times) to both Professor Alan Wilmington and Professor Linda Braxton.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 10: Graeme was often observed still at his desk when the last person left in the evening, and was still there, with creased suit and darkly unshaven chin, when the early birds arrived the next day. This gave him a spurious reputation in management circles for diligence beyond the call of duty. Kevin suspected that Smudger slept under his desk and found other ways of entertaining himself during notionally working hours.
Stan (Stanley): A young man who also joins the Guardians at Cliviger Grange at the same time as Tom and Alistair. Cousin to Charlie, he comes from a English family who have long historical associations with the Lyndesfarne crossing.
In appearance, Tanji is pretty, blonde and petite. She is fluent in English and the Lyndesfarne language, and has a limited knowledge of French. She has some shapeshifting abilities, which she often uses to minimise her characteristically elfin appearance when she visits our world.
Tarm: A VIP Visitor to our own world, escorted by Alistair after his appointment to the Guides. Tarm is later discovered to be an agent of Agrea, plotting with Hamet and Markham to permanently close the Lyndesfarne crossing.
Tom (Thomas Perkins): A young soldier who survives the Second World War in the company of Alistair. After demobbing, he is recruited by Bram into the Guardians at Cliviger Grange.
Tom's mother Lizzie and father Brad disappear under mysterious circumstances when he is a child, and Tom is brought up by his Granny in Long Benton, a suburb of Newcastle. He is taught about engines and motor vehicles by his 'Uncle' George.
Tom is described as compact and wiry, with dark hair and pale skin.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 2: Tweedledum, as he was known behind his back, was infamous for his hearty manner and loud taste in ties, and Kevin braced himself for the inevitable robust handshake.
Uncle: Tanji's uncle, a Senior Convenor in the Guild of Transportation. He is described as a portly man, slightly shorter than Kevin, with thinning grey hair cut very short. His face habitually bears an expression mid-way between avuncular good humour, and statesman-like astuteness and gravitas. He does not speak very much English, and relies on Tanji's translation when in conversation with Kevin.
Death on the New Bridge, Chapter 10: ...a tall young man with wild dark hair and piercing blue eyes whose every movement appeared to radiate a Zen-like level of calm and equilibrium.
Wendy Rossiter: An expert on the properties of Lyndesfarne magic and the crossing between the Two Worlds. She is a colleague of Professor Alan Wilmington at the Newcastle Institute of Special Sciences and Arts (NISSA). Provides a briefing for Kevin on one occasion.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 18: She was a tiny woman - almost bird-like - with greying hair clipped very short and, Kevin imagined, kept deliberately spiky. She dressed uniformly in black clothing and sported aggressively large silver earrings.
Williams, Huw: A Lecturer at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London. He was Andrew Wollack's Ph.D supervisor. He is described as a large and jovial man wearing black jeans and a dark green sweatshirt with dark hair and a wispy beard.
Williamson (Warden Derek Williamson): Head of Cliviger Grange. He is described as a fit-looking man in his early fifties with greying hair cut short in a military style. He assists Kevin and Bret in tracking down Tanji after she is kidnapped.
Willis (Doctor Willis): A colleague of Professor Alan Wilmington at the Newcastle Institute of Special Sciences and Arts (NISSA). Briefs Kevin on the systems of weights and measures in use in Lyndesfarne. He later guides Kevin to the warehouse building near to the crossing.
New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Chapter 22: The Doctor was a man in late middle age, rather short and painfully thin, clean-shaven and completely bald. Overall, the Doctor presented a (Kevin suspected) carefully cultivated "Mad Professor" look, including a heavily-stained white lab coat with numerous pens in the breast pocket.
Wollack, Doctor Andrew: A young and talended Microbial Epidemiologist, educated at the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, and later undertakes post-doctoral work at the Newcastle Institute of Special Sciences and Arts (NISSA). His dead body is discovered at the centre of the New Bridge shortly after its official opening.
Yiselle: A young female member of the Guardians that Bret introduces to Kevin and Tanji. Yiselle updates all three of them on the discovery of the body of Doctor Andrew Wollack. She is a cousin to Angela Newman.
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