Deep in rural Suffolk, England, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, terror strikes at the hearts of pious Christians on a hot August night, when they are attacked by a beast known only as Black Shuck. In this reimagining of one of England’s most famous folkloric tales, readers will be taken through the terrifying and mysterious story of Black Shuck, a mythic beast that would act as inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic story, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
In the small village of Bungay, peasants labour over backbreaking work, tilling the fields by hand, while the merchant class preside over looms and textile traders. Bungay Castle lays peacefully dormant as it has for the centuries, ever since Hugh Bigod was pulled from it by royal guards to face execution after a failed rebellion against King Henry II. But one fateful August night in 1577, the peace is shattered, when a beast tears through the doors of the local church. Once inside, the beast feasts upon four unsuspecting worshippers, before vanishing and then reappearing in nearby Blythburgh, where the beast’s scorched claw marks can still be seen on the doors of Holy Trinity Church to this day.
Some say the beast is a demon dog, eight-feet tall when on all-fours, with fur as black as tar. Others say its eyes burn with the white hot flames of hell itself. Beginning in the long and hard-fought battle for supremacy over Britain’s shores between the pagan vikings and the devoutly Christian Saxons of the late 800s and ending in the Tudor-era of 1577, this reimagining of the story of Black Shuck will take you on a journey from the horrors of war to the echoes of a simpler past, all set to the backdrop of a beast that has come to define storytelling in rural England and around the English-speaking world.