The Keeper of the Stones - By M J Webb


Writing this book whilst holding down a full time job and being a loving father has been a huge commitment. I would like to thank my family for their love and support, particularly my mother and mother-in-law for being a constant source of help/advice and my two children, Jack and Sophie, for inspiring me and making my life complete. Also, all of my work colleagues for putting up with me when I bored them silly with my vision and endeavours.

I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Mike Maynard, fellw writer and author of ‘Captain Jack – A Ship’s Log’, who has been a constant source of help and inspiration. Thanks also to Wayne Smart and Nigel Wallace for showing me new ideas and dragging me kicking and screaming into the 21st century and to the army of proof readers of all ages who gave of their time willingly and highlighted key omissions, particularly the teenage children I did not know.

An extra special mention has to go to A J, the illustrator, whose bio is on the rear of this book – You are so talented and I am very grateful to you for agreeing to work with me. I hope you go on to bigger and better things as you deserve. You are a rising star.

I have been helped enormously by the humour, advice and support of people too numerous to mention. So Vixwitch, June, Andy, Trev, Alison, Roxy, Nicky and many more.... I thank you all!

Finally, but by no means least, I’d like to thank my darling wife. All those hours on the computer meant that something had to give and I’m sorry for the times I sulked like an adolescent child when told I couldn’t write. I love you dearly and I am so very honoured and proud that you share my life. You are my soulmate.

The success of this book depends on you, the reader. If you enjoy reading it, please feel free to share your opinion with others, as many as possible would be nice.... But either way, thank you so very much for giving it a chance.

For Jack and Sophie.

Chapter 1

14th August – Harry West’s Attic – Lichfield


Ben Brooker was smiling broadly. His eyes were wide with excitement and he was gleefully rubbing his hands. “Wow! Eh, this place is huge mate, this is gonna take us ages. Nice idea you had there for a change though, just look at all this stuff.” he added enthusiastically, staring at all the boxes and crates that were stacked up to head height all around him. “Hey, there’s all sorts of stuff in here – boxes, jewellery, hats, books, flags,” he shouted, as he rummaged through the nearest box, “this is awesome!”

Jake West smiled back at him, surprised at such an enthusiastic response coming from his fifteen year old best mate. He ran his fingers through his hair and flicked it away from his eyes. “Yeah mate,” he replied, “told ya so, harry’s lived his life to the full alright, I think he’s been everywhere there is that’s worth going to. And he’s brought a little something back with him each time, though I’m not sure that the army knew what he was doing, if you get my drift?” he joked. “Anyway, let’s just have a look around before we start work, eh? Before we start clearing it all out. Granddad’ll be up here soon, and I want to have a mooch around before he comes, I’ve never really been allowed to before.”

They made their way along the haphazard pathway that had been created between the artefacts and headed for the rear of the room to begin their search.

“Hey, Jake! What’s that?” asked Ben excitedly, as he caught sight of something of interest out of the corner of his eye. He was pointing towards a ripped and torn Union Jack flag which was hanging on the corner wall, above an old wooden chest.

“Huh?” replied Jake, who’d continued walking through the boxes and was checking out some other stuff. “Oh that. It’s an old battleflag from some war or other. I’m not really sure what the story is behind it though.”

Ben’s eyes lit up immediately. His family history had given him a fascination surrounding all things military and his curiosity had to be satisfied. “Well, alrighty then! That’s where I’ll start.” he shouted happily. He walked over to the flag and stared at it for a little while. Then he knelt down at the foot of the chest and