A tragi-comic novel about love, loyalty and the power of imagination, in which the line between the universe of fiction and the world of reality disappears.

Madagascar Rhodes was probably the most famous author in the world. His magical, heart-warming novel, the eponymous The Alchemist’s Apprentice (about the adventures of a young Jewish girl in Malta during World War II) enchanted millions of readers. And yet, strangely, you’ve never heard of him. Or his amazing book. In fact, it’s as if Madagascar Rhodes never existed.

To unravel the tangled threads of reality and – what? Fantasy? Dreams? Fabrication? – you have to go back to the beginning. To a rather odd New Year’s Eve party in 1996. Or earlier, to a chance encounter with a ghostly girl in a sunny English garden. Or perhaps it all really began when an unsuccessful novelist called Roderick Bent embarked on a routine train journey from King’s Cross and found himself travelling into an inexplicable nightmare … 

A captivating metaphysical mystery and an otherworldly love story           Sunday Times

Intelligent, provocative and utterly beguiling … Dronfield writes with a breezy good humour and insouciant flair and … offers some thought-provoking meditations on the nature of fiction and its relationship with reality. He also has a flawless control of the mechanisms of fiction, playing his literary tricks with baffling dexterity.                                          The Times

A refuge. A haven. A nightmare.

Carole Perceval lives alone on a remote Yorkshire farm, trying to forget a painful past in the solitude of the moors. Her life is one of tranquil routine, until one rain-swept night, a dishevelled figure appears out of the darkness, hammering on her door.

Lost and confused, the man has no memory, no idea who he is. His only certainty is that he is being pursued, that he has to escape at all costs. Exhausted, desperate, the farm is his final refuge.

At first terrified, Carole finds something in this enigmatic stranger that answers a deep-seated need of her own. The man she calls Steven represents a chance to exorcise her demons, and to heal her own wounds by helping someone else to become whole again. For Steven, Carole’s unconditional trust provides a haven from the implacable forces he believes are intent on destroying him.

Both of them dream of escape. Of change. Of redemption. And both are about to step into a nightmare …

Dronfield unpeels the mysterious layers with great skill and has a real gift for atmosphere. The ending will take your breath away.           The Mirror

A psychological suspense novel with a tour de force ending it would take thumb screws to make me divulge.           Mark Timlin

In his darker moments, Martin Rosenthal can’t help but compare the trajectory of his life with that of his grandfather, Frank. On the one hand, school, A-levels, going to university. On the other, a fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain – an American adventurer who crossed the world to volunteer in a foreign war. Frank went down in a final blaze of glory, leaving behind a mythical legacy that has burdened the lives of his son and grandson.

For Martin, his own earth-bound existence seems like a scale-model of the real thing, his obsession with aeroplanes a pale attempt to live out Frank’s adventures. But everything is about to change.

First the enigmatic Chrisantha introduces Martin to the weightless pleasure and crashing pain of love, then her brother Rupert involves him in a break-in at the university lab, searching for evidence of a secret weapons project. Suddenly Martin’s life is spiralling out of control, leading him into a dangerous labyrinth of truth, lies and illusions – with the ghost of Frank lurking at the centre.

Suspenseful and incisive work … brilliant           The Times

A page-turning thriller that combines a storyteller’s gift with intellectually brilliant invention.          Publishing News

Sometimes death is only the beginning.

As a quartet, they lived in relative harmony, despite their differences in temperament and outlook. Rachel’s dreamy goodness clashed with Audrey’s waspish cynicism, but Beth’s common sense and Lydia’s soothing beauty always seemed to balance everything in the end.

Then Salvador came. Salvador de La Simarde, child prodigy grown up bad, and perhaps the finest classical guitarist of his generation. With his dark beauty and distracted air, they couldn’t help but be drawn to him. But for Lydia, that would mean being drawn into the dark and strange world of his family.

A world dominated by the Château de Gondecourt, now a haunted ruin, and its eerie simulacrum resurrected on Dartmoor, places where ancient dreams have turned into gothic nightmares, and where the terrifying matriach Madame de La Simarde still broods over the death of her dreams.

Dreams that she is determined to resurrect, ensnaring Lydia and her friends in a fatal plot.

Dazzling psychological thriller           South Wales Argus

A tense psychological thriller cast in the Barbara Vine vein … a dark, claustrophobic atmosphere … Resurrecting Salvador is an ambitious novel that succeeds very well, and Dronfield a writer to watch.          Crime Time

Copyright © Jeremy Dronfield 2023

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