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Author Mark Eales has written three adventure novels that focus on the Western Isles, from the time of Bannockburn to the Second World War, from his home on Arran.
The Inch Kenneth Trilogy spans seven centuries and focuses on the adventures of the fictional Armand family and how they are drawn into exciting moments in history. The canvas is very broad taking the saga from Cyprus in 1305 to the Carolinas in 1780 and to Bavaria in 1938.
The Knights Templar are central to the story line and author Mark admits: ‘Researching into the Templars is, as many have found, addictive. The more one researches the more fascinating and fantastic the history becomes. Their tangled web seems to capture everyone, from kings to slaves and it has now become a lifelong obsession to me.’
At the centre of the Templers’ global web is Inch Kenneth, a small island just off the west coast of Mull and one of the most historically important islands in Scotland. Along with Iona, this island is significant due to the number of important burials of the kings of Scotland. The island (Innis Choinnich) was named after St Kenneth, who founded a monastery on the island.
Mark who has been visiting Arran for more than 40 years bought a house in Shiskine when he retired as director of education in South Yorkshire. Since 2008, Mark and his wife Roberta have been researching across Scotland, Europe and North America for the background to the novels.
The trilogy begins with a tale of the Holy Grail and the support given to Robert the Bruce in his fight for independence. The second novel focuses on the visit of Boswell and Dr Johnson to Inch Kenneth and on the little known victory of Ex patriot Scots over the English in the first decisive battle in the American War of Independence. The third, set just before the Second World War, sees the heroes meeting a secret society in Bavaria and defending the Grail at the time when Lord Redesdale – father of the Mitford sisters – owned Inch Kenneth.
Mark, who at the age of 30 was a primary school headteacher, wanted the adventures to have both the pace and excitement of the stories read to youngsters all those years ago. The trilogy does, however, contain adult themes.
Mark has in the past been secretary of the Blackwaterfoot Harbour Association and still sells handmade cards for the charity Debra, at the harbour shop. He is married with two daughters and a son.
The Inch Kenneth Trilogy is self published and available as a single bound volume at the Book and Card Centre in Brodick costing £10. Other copies are available from: firstname.lastname@example.org for £10 plus £2 postage.