On the south bank of the Thames, near where Tower Bridge now stands, lies Bermondsey (now part of the London borough of Southwark). A priory was established there as early as 1089 and became one of the richest in England due to numerous gifts of land and money. Originally founded by four Cluniac monks from France, who built on ground donated by a rich London merchant, the priory became a Benedictine abbey in 1399, surviving until Henry VIII dissolved all monasteries in the sixteenth century. It was then built over repeatedly, though the gatehouse survived until the nineteenth century.
Though this famous monastery had a very real existence for hundreds of years, House of Shadows is a work of fiction; there is no reason to believe that it was shadowed by the dreadful events here described. The Epilogue is similarly fictional, although it is true that in the early years of the twentyfirst century, prior to the construction of a huge commercial complex, archaeologists did carry out extensive investigations of the site.
- - in which Bernard Knight lays the foundation for the ghoulish tales that follow.
- Act One
- - in which Bernard Knight tells how Crowner John arrives at the priory of Bermondsey to investigate murder most foul.
- Act Two
- - in which Ian Morson's William Falconer uncovers dark deeds during an eclipse of the moon.
- Act Three
- - in which Keeper Sir Baldwin and Bailiff Simon Puttock Keeper Sir Baldwin and Bailiff Puttock uncover a treasonous plot.
- Act Four
- - in which Philip Gooden relates how the poet Chaucer becomes embroiled in the priory's dark history.
- Act Five
- - in which Susanna Gregory's Thomas Chaloner, spy for the Lord Chancellor of England, avenges a violent death.
- - in which Bernard Knight exposes the final secret.
House of Shadows is available in a large print edition, published by W. F. Howes (ISBN: 978-1-84632-127-6). You may be able to order this through your local library.
There is also an audio edition of the full text, read by Paul Matthews and published by Whole Story Audio Books (click the link to go their web site, where you can listen to an excerpt).