Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Rune Stone by Julia Ibbotson - Book Tour

The Rune Stone  (Dr DuLac series Book 3)

A haunting time-slip mystery of runes and romance

When Dr Viv DuLac, medievalist and academic, finds a mysterious runic inscription on a Rune Stone in the graveyard of her husband’s village church, she unwittingly sets off a chain of circumstances that disturb their quiet lives in ways she never expected. Once again, she feels the echoes of the past resonate through time and into the present. Can she unlock the secrets of the runes in the life of the 6th century Lady Vivianne and in Viv’s own life? Lives of the past and present intertwine alarmingly as Viv desperately tries to save them both, without changing the course of history.

For fans of Barbara Erskine, Pamela Hartshorne, Susanna Kearsley, Christina Courtenay.

(for A Shape on the Air) “In the best Barbara Erskine tradition …I would highly recommend this novel” -Historical Novel Society

(for the series) “Julia does an incredible job of setting up the idea of time-shift so that it’s believable and makes sense” – book tour reviewer

“Dr Ibbotson has created living, breathing characters that will remain in the reader’s mind long after the book is read … The characters are brought to life beautifully with perfect economy of description … fabulous!” – Melissa Morgan

“A rich and evocative time-slip novel that beautifully and satisfyingly concludes this superb trilogy. The story is woven seamlessly and skilfully between the past and the present and the reader is drawn deeply into both worlds.  Her portrayal of the 6th century and its way of life are authoritative, vivid and memorable” – Kate Sullivan

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This extract from my book The Rune Stone  is from Chapter 2: Viv and Rory are investigating the ancient Saxon cross that Viv’s found in the churchyard. She’s seen something strange behind the carving …

“I can’t see anything at all.” Rory was squatting beside her, a little hampered by Ellie in the papoose at his chest but reaching out and running his hands over the carving on the Saxon cross shaft. He frowned and looked up at Viv. He’d been chatting to one of the old ladies in her garden on the far side of the village, having been proudly walking Ellie through his parish, when his mobile had rung out with the urgent message from Viv.  “What am I supposed to be seeing?”

“It’s feeling rather than seeing,” said Viv. “Flakes of paint. They chipped off onto my fingers. Here.” She bent to point at the side of the figure’s torso. “Here, just at the right side of the face and here beside the shield in his left hand.”

“Can’t see or feel anything at all, Viv.” Rory shook his head.

Viv knelt down beside him and ran her fingers along the edge of the raised stone head.  The carving depicted a strangely shaped face, almost heart shaped, with a rounded crown and pointed chin, like a child’s drawing. But the eyes were deeply gouged into the stone, and as she peered closely she could feel them boring into her. She shuddered. Her fingertips felt a defiance, an anger, a challenge, a plea … She pulled her hand away.

“Are you OK?” She was aware that Rory was staring at her with a look of concern. She struggled to stand, feeling dizzy, and he pushed himself up from the ground and took her arm to steady her. 

She could not seem to tear her eyes away from the stone figure, and as she looked the world juddered around her, the earth beneath her feet trembled and she thought she would faint. She grabbed Rory’s arm and held on tight.

Her head was echoing with a roaring sound that was increasing in volume. Was she getting another migraine? She hadn’t been plagued with them recently, in fact she thought the last time was last year in Madeira when she was engrossed with Ana d’Arafet back seven centuries. But now, her brain was spinning as though it had come loose from its moorings inside her head. Her GP had once told her that there were a lot of ‘rubbish bits’, tiny fragments of dead cells Viv supposed, inside our heads that sometimes displaced themselves during the night and jangled when we got up in the mornings. She had made an appointment with him because she was experiencing dizziness when she woke up. She could never quite get to grips with his theory, after all it seemed quite worrying that there was anything loose inside her head, but she knew nothing about medical stuff and maybe he was right.

The roaring in her head began to focus itself into distinguishable sounds. Was that the striking of steel against steel, the howls of fury, the clamour of men? She could hear yells of agony, roars of anger, the anguished neighing of horses. The clash of battle.

“Are you OK?” Rory’s voice was insistent, emerging and focusing itself above the echoes of war in her mind.

She shook her head to try to clear her foggy brain, and the Saxon stone cross shaft, the graveyard and Rory pulled themselves back into focus again.

“Oh my God, Rory,” she croaked. “Here we go. It’s all happening again.”


Author Bio –

Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and the concept of time. She sees her author brand as a historical fiction writer of romantic mysteries that are evocative of time and place, well-researched and uplifting page-turners. Her current series focuses on early medieval time-slip/dual-time mysteries. Julia read English at Keele University, England, specialising in medieval language/ literature/ history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. After a turbulent time in Ghana, West Africa, she became a school teacher, then a university academic and researcher. Her break as an author came soon after she joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme in 2015, with a three-book deal from Lume Books (Endeavour) for a trilogy (Drumbeats) set in Ghana in the 1960s. She has published five other books, including A Shape on the Air, an Anglo-Saxon timeslip mystery, and its two sequels The Dragon Tree and The Rune Stone. Her work in progress is the first of a new series of Anglo-Saxon mysteries (Daughter of Mercia) where echoes of the past resonate across the centuries. Her books will appeal to fans of Barbara Erskine, Pamela Hartshorne, Susanna Kearsley, and Christina Courtenay. Her readers say: ‘Julia’s books captured my imagination’, ‘beautiful story-telling’, ‘evocative and well-paced storylines’, ‘brilliant and fascinating’ and ‘I just couldn’t put it down’.


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  1. Thank you, Jasmine, for taking part in my book tour for all three of the books in the Dr DuLac series so far. Very much appreciated!


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.