In this novel I explore the dangerous theme of revenge. The story begins in 1847 in a rural domain in the south of England. A farmer has fallen behind with his rent payments for the farmhouse his family call home as well as the surrounding farmland. He quickly falls foul of a land agent who is known throughout the neighbourhood as an unfeeling soul: a domineering and superior fellow who is never short of a harsh word for his master’s tenants.
The master in question is a squire, a rich man who owns all of the farmhouses and surrounding land in the area. However, although he is a self-made man with all of this property he is nothing like his unpopular employee. Indeed, where Robert Jacobs the land agent is universally despised, Sir Edward Jameson the squire is revered by all of his tenants.
In the opening scene of my book Robert Jacobs pays a call to the Franklins, the family I mentioned earlier. He tells them in no uncertain terms that they are to be out within the week as they are four months behind their rent payments. However, it soon becomes apparent not all is as it seems. When questioned on the matter by James Franklin, the farmer, the land agent admits that Sir Edward had been willing to allow the Franklins more time to pay what they owed. Robert Jacobs tells Franklin what the squire told him:
“‘Franklin is an honest man from good stock,’ were his words. ‘He would never try to cheat me out of my money. Besides, harvests have been poor and he is doubtless going through severe hardship. You must give the poor fellow some recourse to find the funds he requires. You must therefore give him extra time to meet his rental obligations.’ Sir Edward said all of this to me, much to my dismay I must confess.”
So, the farmer thinks he has now been given a reprieve but it proves not to be the case. The land agent rather viciously tells him that he had managed to persuade the squire it was not a good idea to give the Franklins more time to pay their debt. This enrages James Franklin, making him take physical issue with the land agent who eventually manages to extricate himself from the strong hold the farmer had had on his person.
A few days later James Franklin is working on his land when Robert Jacobs walks by and takes to scoffing him. He looks over at a vegetable patch close to the Franklin’s farmhouse where James’s family are working away and tells the farmer it is a poor show that he has his family working their fingers to the bone in this manner. He suggests he would be better off searching out for new accommodation for them and a new way of life rather than farming land which will soon cease to be his.
This is too much for Franklin to take. He finds he has had enough of Jacobs’ insolent manner and the apparent delight he takes in his family’s predicament. He grabs the land agent and begins to throttle him, dragging him to the ground in the process. James is a far stronger man than Jacobs which puts the land agent in a serious predicament. However, he is known to always go round with a regal cane in his hand and this soon comes to his rescue. As he lays on the ground desperately thrashing around he takes hold of the cane and with his last vestiges of energy aims blow upon blow upon James’s head. He is soon able to get Franklin off him but this is not enough for the land agent. He hammers the cane into his head time and time again until the poor farmer’s head caves in.
Leaving the prone farmer in a bloody heap, Robert Jacobs wipes his blood-stained cane and walks away from ‘the field of death.’ As he does so, James Franklin lies seemingly lifeless on the ground. However, he is not quite dead yet but he soon will be. As Jacobs marches away from the sickening scene, James casts one last look at his family. This is how I described the thoughts going through the wretched farmer’s mind as he waited for death to come to him:
As he sank into empty oblivion, James wondered what would become of his family now that he was leaving them. ‘How will they possibly fare without me?’ he wondered in a dream-filled way. For, in truth, he felt that he was falling away from life and submerging himself into a world far beyond one where such things as family concerns and working for a living held sway.
‘It’s strange,’ thought James, in a wistful way. ‘I always imagined I would be meeting my maker as a contented man, having provided well for my family and dying in old age. Now, though, I find I leave this world behind with my family destitute and with little hope for their future. What a wretched and empty way this is to leave the world.
‘Oh, my dear family, I will miss you so very much. And to think I never had the chance to bid them farewell. Goodbye, my loves, and may you find joy yet in your lives!’
This, then, is the historical perspective of the novel and where the ghostly proceedings which occur later in the book stem from. There is no greater impulse for revenge than a murder and this is the premise of the entire novel. The whole Franklin family search for revenge in their ghostly guise for what happened to the head of their family. They will not rest until their thirst for appeasement is satiated. But will they be successful in their quest? And how will they find Robert Jacobs so their revenge mission can reach a successful conclusion?
Right, the time has now arrived for me to draw back the curtain and reveal to you one of the main players in my novel Evil Deeds. He appears from the first to be a good man who is made for hard-earned toil. But is this really him or have my dear readers been labouring… Read More ›
I would like to introduce you to the unfeeling land agent in ‘Evil Deeds’ my horror novel which is set in the English countryside. He goes by the name of Robert Jacobs and is a most unpleasant individual. He works for Sir Edward Jamieson the local squire who owns a number of farmhouses in the… Read More ›
This is an excerpt from my horror novel Evil Deeds.