In 1764, a young shepherdess was killed and maimed by a wolf which went on to attack 300 people and kill a hundred. The Ferocious Beast, as it was called, went on to kill women and children for three years. One shepherdess, Marie-Jeanne Vallet ‘the maid of the Gévaudan,’ held off the monster by driving a bayonet through its throat. King Louis XV sent whole regiments to trap the beast and credited his own body guard, François Antoine, with killing the Beast. A few months later however, the attacks resumed.  By then, the king had lost interest and so had the press.

In the Cévennes, however, a local farmer, Jean Chastel, is celebrated for killing what R.L. Stevenson called, ‘the Napoleon of wolves…’ ‘The animal coat,’ he said, ‘was black, red and grey.’

So… what was this ferocious beast, really? Was it a mad aristocrat’s pet trained to kill? A hyena or a lion?  In The Wolf’s Legacy, I present my own theory…

Les Cévennes

Les Gorges du Tarn

France is all about the diversity of its regions, ‘le patrimoine,’ the region’s cultural heritage. At the edge of the Massif Central, overlooking the Mediterranean, the Cévennes are a blend of plateaux, forests and deep Gorges. 

The Cévennes were, for a long time, France’s first producer of silk. Around 1296, silk worms were brought to the Provence. Good King Henri IV ordered a mulberry tree to be planted in every parish. Mulberries thrived in the Cévennes… and spinning silk became the main activity in many Cévenol villages… For a while, the wars of religion chased the Huguenot silk producers abroad. As a family activity, silk production kept the region in employment until the advent of synthetic fibres. The word for a silk factory is magnagnerie… a mouthful, even for a French person!

The most poignant scene of the novel, the attack on German resistance fighters by French militia men is based on fact. German anti-Hitler groups joined French resistance movements and in the Cévennes, found themselves fighting against French Nazi sympathisers. 
Below is a photo of the silk factory where the scene is set. 

Wars of religion


….and get a free prequel to my new book, plus an additional short story and a ‘hamper’ with a traditional French cake recipe and songs linked to my novels!