Fourteen year-old Mac is abducted from everything he has ever known and hurled into a bewildering and dangerous new life in a medieval time city. There are no twenty-first century thrills here; the thrill in Loxeter is the relief at being alive for another day.
Knowing his mother could be seriously ill, Mac tries to cope with separation from his family and friends. In a fight for survival, Mac is ill-equipped for life in Loxeter. Computer skills, rock music and deodorants have no use in a violent medieval world ruled by daggers and swords.
Within hours of arriving, Mac endures a brutal interrogation and narrowly escapes assassination. Mac knows nobody but is the focus of attention wherever he goes. Incidents break out around him like fire burning in straw and he is pursued by intrigue. There isn't just one mystery; he's tangled in a web of them.
Mac wishes he knew why Catholic and Protestant plots surround him and is troubled by visions of the black and white image of a boy. A strange old man in green helps him and he begins to realize that Loxeter's fixation with scarecrows and fire has sinister roots.
Among those Mac learns to trust are a young master swordsman and a group his own age representing six centuries. As the truth begins to unravel, Mac learns more about himself than just who he is, but the surprises and danger are not over.
Stephen Baird's home is in Cornwall, but is Deputy Head at the Junior King's School, Canterbury, during term time. He as has been a teacher of drama, a head teacher and an educational consultant.
Fire in the Straw is his first novel, but more have been planned to follow Mac's progress in Loxeter. He has written three plays for schools and a rock musical about the life of Charles II. He has played in two barn dance bands (piano accordion) and has been a DJ on occasion.
Other interests include history, golf, surfing badly, Stockport County Football Club, the Richard III Society and music, especially Status Quo, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Fleetwood Mac (the Rumours line-up!), OMD and Vivaldi.
He is a supporter of Cadw (Welsh Heritage), the National Trust, the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Dogs Trust. He is married with three sons and a dog.
Forthcoming 'Loxeter' Novels following 'Fire in the Straw':
The Harvest Lord
The Three Princes
'Riot!' Based on true events in Cheltenham in 1919.
'Bedlam!' When a time portal opens in your house, the best place to be is anywhere else!
'Destiny!' A chance is a chance and must be taken. Prince Max and peasant girl, Rowena, take on evil Uncle Morgan to win back the kingdom.
'Oakapple!' The Rock Musical. History and Charles II completely restored!
Other partly planned novels include:
17 Muscles and an Acorn
Relocation to Xanadu