The Author Peter Maughan 

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       Cover by Angel Dominguez

"The chop of leather on oiled yellow and  the breaking voice of a cuckoo calling ..."

"...the iron ghosts of  winters past sent clanking and blowing round the small, log-warmed bar."

"The ringing light of a full moon striking the blue frost-bright slate of the village, echoing down the headlong High Street, fading away into silences where the shadows had drifted, piled like soot ..."

"Bill Sikes, with a black eye of dirt from a rabbit  warren and ditch mud on his legs like disreputable socks clean on that morning, careless under the sudden beneficence of the day, heedless of how or why. A Just William of a dog with the sun and the high road calling, trotting ahead with that sideways rolling gait of his to meet them..."





Apple Boughs

'... I think Under the Apple Boughs should be required reading in every high school to introduce them to the finest in lyrical writing ... He sees with an inner eye what we cannot, and points it out with such delight, making you a witness to the glorious in the commonplace ... You know you have found genius when you find yourself reading it over and over.'  

'For me, the touchstone comparison is Dylan Thomas’s elegiac  A Child’s Christmas in Wales ... '

'Maughan truly typifies the Welsh meaning of the word Druid: seer. He sees, describes and enables us to see the magic too ...'

'Beautiful and often touching glimpses of life from the pen and the genius that is Peter  Maughan.' 

From Amazon reviews.

'A pastoral symphony ... Lyrical, descriptive, haunting at times, always beautiful.  It's a religious experience reading Under the Apple Boughs, leaving one awed and blessed.'

Henrietta Bellows LaLa, (St Martinville, LA), USA, Amazon review.                      

'A song of seasons, a Medieval illuminated Book of Hours ... For me, the touchstone comparison is Dylan Thomas’s elegiac A Child’s Christmas in Wales, although Thomas’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog has a similar focus … But there are other names cited. Maughan specifically dedicates this book “to the memory of Laurie Lee”, Kenneth Grahame (who famously wrote The Wind in the Willows, but wrote other books of stories and essays that sing of the same loved countryside), T.H. White, Henry Williamson, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, George Borrow, W.H. Hudson, Richard Jefferies, Maughan writes among hallowed company …'

Dr John Gough (Australia), Amazon review.

'... Peter Maughan paints literary landscapes with a Turner palette, all shimmery light, plays of shadows, chiaroscuro and startling detail.'

Angelica Bentley, (France), A Maze of Reviews blog. Top 500 Amazon reviewer. 

'... Beautiful and often touching glimpses of life from the pen and the genius that is Peter  Maughan.' 

Ray Nicholson, CA, Top 1000 Amazon reviewer. 

'... To experience the forces and beauty of nature such as Peter Maughan describes as he leads us along his journey through the seasons is like watching a maestro wave his baton and waiting for the magical notes to permeate the senses on the first down stroke ... And as I have said before of his lyrical prose, read it to those who cannot as yet read, and I will add now to read it to the elderly, for its music will give solace and comfort.'

JoyMarie, Lover of the Written Word, USA, Amazon review.

Available In A Kindle Edition On AmazonUK & AmazonUS 

mazon Reviewers:

' ... Peter Maughan, a man for all seasons, a man whose works will endear him to the ages. All his writings are classics and have earned a place in world-wide libraries. They will never be old or outdated ... just enjoyed and very loved ... every word ... every nuance. Peter Maughan is a gift you give yourself and a gift for those you love.' 

Joymarie, Lover of the Written Word, USA. 

'... one of the most outstanding pieces of literature I've ever read ... A wonderful collection of non-fiction short stories ... You'll cry along with the author over the loss of his wonderful dog, Sikes, and fall in love with everyone and everything else in it. I absolutely love this collection, and reread it frequently. It restores my faith in the art of fine writing. Each story a stand-alone masterpiece.' 
Henrietta Bellows Lala, (St Martinville, LA). 

'A splendid collection of thirteen vignettes of rural life as seen through the eyes of a writer with the soul of a poet. Peter Maughan paints literary landscapes with a Turner palette, all shimmery light, plays of shadows, chiaroscuro and startling detail. The sense of place and the natural flow of the seasons are so strong as to become major actors in his stories while his characters, whether human or animal, stand out in full three-dimensional prominence, illuminated by his compassionate humanity …' 
Angelica Bentley (Dophin, France) A Maze of Reviews. Top 500 Amazon Reviewer. 

Under the Apple Boughs is a classic ... English prose at its finest.' 
Nash Black, (USA), Vine Voice.

' ... his descriptions of people, the weather, the aromas of each season is beyond words. I felt like I was actually inside the book itself as I am a country girl myself and know exactly what each season brings.'
Pyewacket "czarnowice," (UK), Vine Voice, Top 500 Reviewer  

'... reminiscent of an old painting or ageing photograph that somehow has magically come to life for a few precious moments ... before returning to still life or crumbling to dust. Beautiful and often touching glimpses of life from the pen and the genius that is Peter Maughan.'

Ray Nicholson, CA, Top 1000 Reviewer. 

'... Maughan truly typifies the Welsh meaning of the word Druid: seer. He sees, describes and enables us to see the magic too.' 
Clarissa Simmens, (Poet of FL), United States.

'His writing style is so beautiful, one must savor each sentence ... it touches upon all your senses and breathes a pleasant warmth into one's heart.' 
Nancy of Utah, US.

'I read this book and suddenly realised that every story in it came alive and spoke of the West Country as I had lived there. I was back and smelt the lanes and fields, I heard the soft voices telling their tales and saw the villages, towns and people alive and vital as though through a suddenly opened door. The language and cadence of Peter Maughan's writing is gloriously evocative, and whether one is young or old these little gems of language can be read and re-read with the knowledge that, in his hands, the writing of true literature is not yet on its death bed.' 
FelicityM, United Kingdom.

'I began reading Apple Boughs after a particularly grueling week which was rife with heartbreak ...  Beginning the narrative was like discovering the door to the Secret Garden and walking through to find the garden reclaimed and vibrant with trees and flowers and birdsong.  For three nights running, just before sleep, I would disappear behind that gate and wander slowly with Peter Maughan through the gardens of his imagination. Our time together ended far too soon, but by the end of it I felt my soul had healed a little.'
S. Kay Murphy, On Being Simply True blog.

'... Everyday events are touchingly chronicled in this book of short stories. Life, death, and all that lies in-between. It is a treasure, the kind you read in a comfortable chair with a cup of hot tea, and after each little story is read, you close the book and your eyes, and think about it all, before beginning the next.' 
Shannon Lastowski, (The Great Midwest), Vine Voice. 

                                            Under the Apple Boughs

A journey through the seasons of a West Country year. From a valley in the iron grip of a January morning, to the first healing colours of spring cutting into the land, through summer and autumn to the voice of Nathaniel, and a Christmas Eve in his memory when it was believed that at midnight the cattle knelt in their stalls. A voice speaking of a village England that was young still when he was.

                                            A Year's Beginning

All night the vixen had screamed down the burning fields of frost, under a sky chiming with January stars, running under a moon and the wild white hair of trees. The barking of a dog fox led on and on across the valley in search of her, until their clamour died in the hot-throated distance, and the pulse of the morning star dimmed like a weakening signal over the land.
     The moon was full and sitting above the tall pines now, above the road that falls into the valley, its ringing light striking the blue frost-bright slate of the village, echoing down the headlong High Street, fading away into silences where the shadows had drifted, piled like soot.
     The village crossed the border of two counties, high on a valley side, arranged as if by a child's hand around shop, church and pub. Only the light from the telephone box burned in the lampless High Street, shining with a busy toy redness outside the post office and shop.
     From clear across the valley, a farm dog barked into the no-man's-land between night and morning, and a tawny owl glided across the village, its flight as silence and as remote as a dream. 
Fluttering for a hold on top of a telegraph pole, it folded its wings, its blunt head moving in sweeps as it searched for small scurries of movement from shadow to shadow below, and finding none sang about it, the long-drawn, quavering notes sounding under the moon like a ghost story told to a child.
     From the terrace of farm cottages in the High Street, a baby howled damply at the world, and a light came on in a bedroom, as the owl beat its way down through the village to the wood below, its swift, sharp call in flight a fingernail drawn across the frosted glass of dawn.
     Other lights shone in the village now. In the post office and the shop where newspapers, hot from the London train, were sorted for the bin outside. In the kitchen of George Perry, coal merchant, waiting for the weather forecast and hoping for the worst. In the bedroom of Miss Holsworth, village spinster, dressing to the frivolous notes of a horn concerto on Radio 3. And in the farmhouse at the top of the High Street, where breakfast steamed the windows, and the lights went on in the milking shed. 
     Udders swinging, the hunched shadows of the cattle were herded from the stalls, the cobbles of the yard brittle with silver under the moon, the dung-heavy smell almost as warm as breath.
Bales of last season's hay in the Dutch barn were tossed down onto a trailer for the stock in the fields, sweetening the air briefly with the scent of an impossibly remote summer. The tractor headlights swept across the yards, petrifying a returning barn-hunting cat, and turning into the High Street, rode off the hill into the quenching dark of the valley.
     Battered and cooling, the moon settled above the Norman tower of the church, the black and gold clock fingered with elegant shadows, a smell like damp burnt paper on the raw air as the first fires of the morning were lit. And from the farm in the High Street a cockcrow flared with sudden petulance, as if in protest at the cold and grudging dawn, its light spreading above the hills in the east like a stain.    
     Dug in across the farmlands the creatures of the day felt its tug, but in the weather that had sent the owl home early slept on as if waiting for spring. Rooks  in the grounds of what was once the squire's house, stirred, moving in the tops of the horse chestnuts, preening and bickering. And in the wood below the village, pheasants scratched, squawking, for food,  raucous with complaint at the ungiving earth, and pigeons broke through the trees with a clatter of wings, and turned blindly towards the fields. 
     Like the slow unclenching of a fist, the dawn gave up more light. A hard, clay-heavy light, worked into the sky as if with a palette knife. And birds sang, stray thin winter notes as the last of the night broke up over the valley, and the light above the hills gathered into a new day.

Under the Apple Boughs
Available in a kindle edition on AmazonUK & AmazoUS