A to Z of the Greenwood series
Lord of the Forest, Bound to the Beast, and Bound for the Forest, are three standalone m/m romances, interlinked by my fantasy version of the English Greenwood, in which all are set. The world is inspired by forest lore, especially the myths and legends of the New Forest, which is near where I live in Hampshire, UK. The Greenwood is a dreamlike world rich with magic, fairies, mystery, sweet and evil spirits, action, fighting, and passionate lovers. I’ve had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you will enjoy exploring it too. My most recent release, Locking Horns, can be read as a sequel to Bound to the Beast, a prequel to Bound for the Forest, or as an introduction to the series.
If you have any questions about the Greenwood books, this is a good place to ask them, as I can then incorporate any answers straight into my A to Z. Thank you!
WHICH BOOK SHOULD I READ FIRST?
The books can be read in any order. Chronologically, Lord of the Forest (my Robin Hood story, set in 1217) comes first, though Bound for the Forest (set in 1817) was published first, and also serves as a good introduction to the world. Bound to the Beast (my tale of Herne the Hunter) is set in 1588, though has a prologue set in 43 AD, which introduces us to Herne, who is also a character in Lord of the Forest and Bound for the Forest. Locking Horns features the same main characters as Bound to the Beast, but also has characters from Bound for the Forest in it, meeting them before the events of the latter book. So you can basically pick whichever book you fancy first!
COMING SOON–A TIMELINE OF THE GREENWOOD.
A TO Z
This A to Z is designed to give readers an easy access index to my world Pretty much all of this information is explained somewhere in the books, so this is basically a memory jog and summary. I’ve also added a little extra background info., including that from deleted scenes, and I will continue to update these pages with explanations and extras.
There are two sections. The first introduces the main characters, and key locations and concepts that feature in more than one of the books. The second section deals with everything else. I hope you enjoy!
DOES THE A TO Z CONTAIN SPOILERS?
There are no major plot spoilers here. However, if you want the characters, settings, and ideas to come to you completely fresh as you read, then steer clear😉
A TO Z OF KEY CHARACTERS, LOCATIONS, AND CONCEPTS
Beaumont Abbey—A Gothic abbey, which becomes a ruin during the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. It is Herne the Hunter’s home in the Greenwood, when he is visiting from Windsor Forest. Some of the action in Bound to the Beast takes place here.
Cal Brien—One of the heroes of Lord of the Forest. Of the bloodline of the protectors of the Greenwood, Cal was raised at the court of King John, after he and his mother were driven off their estates. His father was a Norman knight, who died on a Crusade. Cal is a spy for William Marshal, the boy king Henry III’s regent, and is sent to join for the foresters by his master.
Melmoth Brien (known as Brien): One of the heroes of Bound for the Forest. A former army captain, and the latest in a long line of protectors of the Greenwood.
The Elfaene—The queen of the Greenwood fairies. Immortal—at least, so she thinks. Her guardian is Herne the Hunter, though she is very self-sufficient. Looks out for herself and her daughters, the fair folk, and cares little for anybody else. A key character in Bound to the Beast and Lord of the Forest. We find out about her fate in Locking Horns.
Fairies/The Fair Folk–The daughters of the Elfaene, including Calleagh. They live in the Heortland, and enjoy persecuting pretty village boys!
The Greenwood—The southern English forest where everything happens. Geographically in roughly the same spot as the New Forest, on which it is based. The most enchanted of all the English forests, although much of the magic is bound to the forest i.e. unable to exist beyond the boundaries of this vast woodland. Only the most powerful spirits, including Sulis and Herne, are able to pass beyond.
Herne the Hunter—The eponymous hero of Bound to the Beast. His adventures continue in Locking Horns. Once the leader of the Atrae, an ancient southern English tribe, he is tricked into fighting the Romans in 43AD. Herne offers his life to save his people, but is saved by the Mother Goddess, creator of nature and all things. She send her most powerful spirits, including Sulis and Taranis, to make Herne immortal, and give him the crown of Cernunnos, spirit of hunting and the oak, who had flown toward the isles of the west when the Romans and their Gods arrived. Cernunnos’s crown is a set of stag’s antlers, which burst forth when the bearer’s blood is stirred by passion or violence. The spirits also command Herne to lead the Wild Hunt.
More on Herne:
Mother Goddess of the Earth—the creator of all nature and ruler of the spirits.
Niogaerst—An old English term used to describe the foul spirits of the forest, embodied in the Lord of the Hazel and his Wild Men. They seek blood sacrifice, and to drag their victims down into their forest underworld, where green mists swirl and it rains acid.
The Protectors of the Greenwood—A family, descended from the Celtic Queen Aethelbalda, who protect the Greenwood and the enchantment within it. They have magical powers, but all but the strongest of them are unable to leave the forest’s bounds. Protectors include Cal (hero of Lord of the Forest) and Melmoth Brien (hero of Bound for the Forest.)
Robin Hood—the hero of Lord of the Forest, and a Greenwood legend. Raised in Inglewood, and rose to fame as an outlaw in Sherwood forest, before taking to the roads in search of love.
More on Robin:
Scarlet— woodsman; forest underling. One of the heroes of Bound for the Forest. Raised by a hermit woman, Old Brigit. The fairies found him deserted in the forest as a baby.
Sulis—the spirit of the waters, blessed with healing powers. In Bound to the Beast she is one of the spirits who gifts Herne his powers. In Lord of the Forest, she helps Robin Hood in his quest to discover his true destiny. She was originally also featured in a scene in Bound for the Forest, which was (quite rightly!) cut
Tam Clayton—One of the heroes of Bound to the Beast. Also star of Locking Horns. The youngest brother of Richard Clayton. Tam becomes reluctantly betrothed to Calleagh, before being accidentally bound to Herne.
Wild Hunt—An army of living corpses drawn from the foulest depths of the Greenwood, who swept the lands before the onslaught of great evil. A bit like zombies! Their leader was originally Cernunnos, then Herne reluctantly takes on their leadership in 43 AD. They swept across England before the Norman conquest in 1066, and the Great Plague of 1348. Feature in Bound to the Beast, but also mentioned in Lord of the Forest.
Wild Men: Foul tree wraith spirits of Niogaerst and servants of the Lord of the Hazel, who usually dwell in the forest underworld. They feature in Bound for the Forest and Lord of the Forest. Inspired by Germanic forest lore, which is even more bloodthirsty than the English stuff!
GENERAL A TO Z OF CHARACTERS, LOCATIONS, AND TERMS
Aeboda— A book of forest lore, gathered together by Father Herbert, and latterly by Tam. Some time after 1804, Tam gives this book to Old Brigit for safekeeping. Features in Bound for the Forest.
Queen Aethelbalda—a Celtic queen. Founder of the bloodline of the Protectors of the Greenwood. Mentioned in Lord of the Forest.
Ames—Baron Odo’s torturer. His name means friend. Features in Lord of the Forest.
Ann—A character in Bound to the Beast. Married at 14 in a loveless marriage to Richard, the brother of Tam. Ann is also mentioned in Locking Horns, the forthcoming sequel to Bound to the Beast. She is a very close friend of Tam, and is like a sister to him.
Arden—The secret forest village that Arya and her druidesses have set up, and they live here in Bound for the Forest.
Atrae—The southern English tribe that Herne was the leader of, in the years before the Roman invasion in 43AD. Mentioned in the prologue of Bound to the Beast.
Beaumont River Dockyard –a dockyard producing ships for the Royal Navy, featured in Locking Horns. Rowan Cooper is the overseer.
Berolt of Romsey–Head of the foresters, a kind of forest police who enforce the brutal laws against commoners’ hunting and foraging, which were laid down after the Norman Conquest. Features in Lord of the Forest.
Blood Sacrifice—Craved by the Wild Men and the foul spirits of Niogaerst. As is explained in Bound for the Forest and Lord of the Forest the foul spirits like to kill their victim three times over, death by poison, suffocation, and then the cut of the knife, a method inspired by real Iron Age human sacrifices!
Baron Brock—A powerful baron at the time of Lord of the Forest, as rich as the king. Father of Sir Randolf.
Brother Herbert—A monk who lived at Beaumont Abbey in the Greenwood in the early sixteenth century, before the events of the English Reformation and dissolution of the monasteries. One of Herne’s few friends, he collected information about the ancient Greenwood, and tried to find a way to reconcile the ancient religion of the Mother Goddess with Christianity. His notes are later used by Tam to create the Aeboda, a book of forest lore that later falls into the possession of Old Bridget, and features in Bound for the Forest. Mentioned in Bound to the Beast.
Sir Henry Burcy—A knight with whom Cal grew up. Features in Lord of the Forest.
Calleagh—A fairy, one of the daughters of the Elfaene, and a key character in Bound to the Beast. She wants to marry Tam so she can become human.
Castle Brock–Seat of Lord Brock. Where Robin and Cal are taken captive in Lord of the Forest.
Cernunnos—Spirit of hunting and the oak. Erstwhile lover of the prince of the holly. The arrival of the Romans and their Gods set him fleeing toward the isles of the west. Once the leader of the Wild Hunt. After Cernunnos departure, the spirits gifted Herne Cernunnos’s mortality, his crown of antlers, and his duty leading the Wild Hunt. Also the name of Herne’s horse in Bound to the Beast.
The Charter of the Forest—A charter arranged by the barons in 1217, to allow them to plunder more freely from the crown-controlled forests, and which Robin Hood, The Elfaene, and Herne the Hunter set out to stop. Mentioned in Lord of the Forest.
Rowan Cooper – Overseer of the Beaumont River Dockyard and lover of Benjamin Fox. Worshipper of Sulis. Features in Locking Horns.
Crea—Herne’s beautiful male lover, back in his mortal days before 43AD, who betrayed him and broke his heart. Features in Bound to the Beast.
Daniel–Robin Hood’s friend and former lover from their Sherwood days. Believed to have been killed when Little John rescued Robin from Baron Odo’s clutches in his castle in Nottingham. Features in Lord of the Forest
Dewer—Herne’s dog in Bound to the Beast.
The Duke’s Stirrup—the alehouse in Little Lyndton.
Edric—Herne’s second in command in the Wild Hunt. Was once a warlord of the Welsh Marches, before he was felled by a poison arrow. He’d been a ruthless leader, who stole Druid gold and gave up his people to be slaughtered in order to appease the Normans. His wife is Godda, a witch. Features in Bound to the Beast.
Epomaros—The great horseman spirit, with the head, arms, and thorax of a beautiful man and the four legs and flanks of a white stallion. Saves Herne in 43 AD, along with Sulis and the other spirits, and gives him his powers. Features in Bound to the Beast.
Foresters—A kind of police force of the medieval forests. Ruthlessly enforce the Normans’ forest laws. In Lord of the Forest, the Greenwood foresters are led by Berolt of Romsey, who is none too happy when Cal is sent to join them.
Benjamin Fox – Second lieutenant of the Belleisle, Royal Navy, and secret lover of Rowan Cooper.
Faederswica –an old English term, used to refer to anybody who is perceived as a traitor to the Greenwood, especially Protectors who have ignored their duties!
Godda—Edric’s wife, a bad witch. In Bound to the Beast she attempts to channel the powers of Niogaerst, the foul spirits of the forest underworld, to boost her own magic and strength.
George Hastings—the new owner of Carseald Hall at the start of Bound for the Forest. Has four sons, including William and David.
Holgaerst—A term used to describe the sweet spirits of the Greenwood.
Healdor—A particularly powerful protector, who can channel the powers of the Sky Gods. Described in the Aeboda and in Bound for the Forest.
Heortland—The home of the Elfaene, and her daughters the fair folk, hidden deep in the forest. All visitors or prisoners must be blindfolded and bound before approaching the Heortland. Visited in Bound to the Beast and Lord of the Forest.
HMS Swiftsure–A Royal Navy ship built at the Beaumont River Dockyard. Later sees action at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Inglewood—A northern English forest, where Robin Hood was raised by his surrogate parents, and with his sister Marian. Mentioned in Lord of the Forest.
Jerome—Tam’s second oldest brother; a bit thick! Features in Features in Bound to the Beast.
Little John—Robin’s best friend and right hand man. Features in Lord of the Forest. Other friends who are mentioned but not featured include Friar Tuck, Will Scarlock, and Fulk Fitzgerald.
Little Lyndton—One of the villages on the verge of the Greenwood. Tam and Ann grew up here, and Scarlet goes there to barter for food and firewood. Features in all the novels.
Lord of the Hazel—the lord of the foul spirits of Niogaerst, the dark forces in the forest. Acts through the Wild Men, a band of tree wraiths. Features chiefly in Bound for the Forest.
Lugus—the swearer, another of the ancient spirits. Fled to the western isles with Cernunnos when the Romans invaded in 43 AD. Mentioned in Bound to the Beast.
William Marshal—1st Earl of Pembroke. Regent to King Henry III, and Cal’s master. Features in Lord of the Forest.
Baron Odo de Belesme—Lord of Pontefract and High Sheriff of Nottingham. A brutal, bloodthirsty baron, who hunts Robin Hood. Takes great pleasure in others’ pain, and rather fancies Robin. Features in Lord of the Forest.
Old Brigit—An old hermit woman, who raised Scarlet. Mentioned in Bound for the Forest.
Sir Randolf—Unpleasant but chiefly stupid knight. Son of Baron Brock. Features in Lord of the Forest.
Richard Clayton—Tam and Jerome’s eldest brother, and head of the family since their father’s death. An up-and-coming yeoman farmer, he sees himself as a gentleman. He was betrothed to Ann when she was 14, and they had a loveless marriage. Features in Bound to the Beast.
Senos—another of the spirits, the ancestor of man. Features in Bound to the Beast.
Sherwood Forest—The northern English forest, where Robin Hood became famous, leading his band of outlaws. Mentioned in Lord of the Forest.
Sky Gods—Sucellus and Taranis, who give the Protectors their powers.
Smithy–Brien’s stallion in Bound for the Forest.
Urhelda—A druidess follower of Arya. Flirts with Melmoth Brien. She and her sister, Ellen, are revealed to be relatives of Scarlet. Features in Bound for the Forest.
Veraeca—Herne’s rival from a neighboring tribe, who craved Herne’s lands. Features in Bound to the Beast.
Wanderer—A powerful protector who is able to leave the bounds of the Greenwood.
Windsor Forest—Home of Herne the Hunter, and latterly of his lover, Tam.
William II (Rufus)–The second Norman kind of England, and son of William I (the conqueror.) Killed mysteriously by an arrow unleashed in the Greenwood. Mentioned in Bound for the Forest and Lord of the Forest.
Yorick the Dirty—A murderer, condemned to a living death as part of the Wild Hunt. Features in Bound to the Beast.