Solaris, Mass Market Paperbound, 9781781080849, 348pp.
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
He came back to kill a tyrant. He found the Devil instead.
1653: The long and bloody English Civil War is at an end. King Charles is dead and Oliver Cromwell rules the land as king in all but name. Richard Treadwell, an exiled royalist officer and soldier-for-hire to the King of France and his all-powerful advisor, the wily Cardinal Mazarin, burns with revenge for those who deprived him of his family and fortune. He decides upon a self-appointed mission to return to England in secret and assassinate the new Lord Protector. Once back on English soil however, he learns that his is not the only plot in motion.
A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil's hand. When demonic entities are summoned, Treadwell finds himself in a desperate turnaround: he must save Cromwell to save England from a literal descent into Hell. But first he has to contend with a wife he left in Devon who believes she's a widow, and a furious Paris mistress who has trailed him to England, jeopardising everything. Treadwell needs allies fast. Can he convince the man sent to forcibly drag him back to Cardinal Mazarin? A young king's musketeer named d Artagnan.
Black dogs and demons; religion and magic; Freemasons and Ranters. It's a dangerous new Republic for an old cavalier coming home again.
"I almost never read fantasy, these days, and refuse to read other fiction of any kind when working on a book. But Clifford Beale's Gideon's Angel bore a passing resemblance to the novel I'm currently writing so from curiosity I took a look -- and was hooked. I hadn't meant to read it but it gripped me and I had to finish it. Check it out. Fast-paced fantasy/historical adventure." -- Michael Moorcock.
For recreation, Clifford used to don plate armour and bash the tar out of people in the Society for Creative Anachronism before moving to more civilised pursuits such as 17th century rapier and dagger fighting and motorcycling (though not simultaneously). Today, he is more likely to be found at the seaside or the Savile Club in London, sharing good wine and conversation in a place where the sparring is usually only verbal. "Gideon's Angel" is his first published novel.