#Feature: The Dr DuLac series by Julia Ibbotson @JuliaIbbotson @rararesources #blogtour #guestpost #historical #timeslip #trilogy

By | February 16, 2022

Back in December, I shared the rather lovely new cover for Julia Ibbotson’s excellent Anglo-Saxon time-slip mystery romance, A Shape on the Air – you can find that post here, along with my earlier review. Today, I have the pleasure of being able to tell you about the other two books in the trilogy – I did promise that there was more to come! – The Dragon Tree and The Rune Stone, completing the Dr DuLac trilogy. All three books are now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback – and having enjoyed the first book so much, it’s a series I’ll really look forward to catching up with. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join the tour and for her support.

So, my apologies, no new reviews today – but I do hope I’ll be able to share my thoughts later in the year. Instead, I’m delighted to welcome author Julia Ibbotson as my guest, to tell us more about how one book became three…

I seem to be making a habit of writing trilogies. My first was the Drumbeats Trilogy set in Ghana. This latest one is the Dr DuLac series. I love to take my characters further on their journey together, and when one book ends, I can’t let them go; I’ve got to know them so well and I just have to see what happens next to them. So, one book becomes another …and another …


The books are all linked by the main characters, of course: Dr Viv DuLac, a medievalist and academic, who seems to have a special gift for connecting with the past in order to solve mysteries, and Rev Rory who at least understands what’s happening to her, to an extent. In A Shape on the Air and The Rune Stone, they are mirrored by their early Anglo-Saxon counterparts, Lady Vivianne, the leader of a small Anglo-Saxon settlement, and her beloved Sir Roland. The Dragon Tree takes the story of Viv and Rory on a slightly different tack to Madeira, with a historical shipwreck, a convent, and a mountain refuge.


But all of them reflect my interest in history: not in kings and courts and battles but in everyday lives of ordinary people in ordinary locations. I do a lot of research for all my books, and I really enjoy that aspect of being an author. I love to find out how people lived, how they dressed, ate, and related to each other.


All my books in this series are haunting time-slips (or time travel if you’re in the US), or dual time, and are interwoven with mystery and romance. I’m interested in how echoes of the past resonate through time and into the present, and how lives can somehow intertwine across the centuries.


A Shape on the Air is the first in the trilogy. It introduces Dr Viv DuLac when she is betrayed by her partner and this trauma leads to her reaching through time to Lady Vivianne in 499AD who is being forced to marry the man she hates. Here the mystery is a key and Viv must find out how to unlock the secrets of the past. In the course of her investigations, she meets Rory and they fall for each other.


I wanted to know whether Viv and Rory made it in their budding romance, so The Dragon Tree wriggled its way into my brain and my heart. This story is set in the tropical island of Madeira that I know well and am fascinated by. It takes the ‘historical’ sections into new territory for me, the later medieval period of the 14th and 16th centuries. Viv and Rory have suffered a trauma and loss and they go to Madeira for Rory’s secondment but also to try to recover in the heat and sunshine. Things don’t go to plan, however, and their escape is marred by mysteries from the past again, in the shape of lost artefacts that link two medieval women.


The Rune Stone returns to Lady Vivianne now in 520AD and a new danger and adventure for her. It also returns Viv and Rory to England, to their Derbyshire rectory and an ancient stone in the churchyard with runic carvings and a curse.


Although I loved branching out of my comfort zone into the later medieval period for The Dragon Tree and doing all the historical research needed for it, I enjoyed being back in my favourite Anglo-Saxon period with the third story. That is not to say the familiar territory is static: it’s wonderful to see all the new archaeological research that’s emerging now. Only in the last couple of years there have been discoveries in Northamptonshire, for example, and in Cambridge, where many artefacts have been found that indicate the richness of the culture and everyday lives of the early Anglo-Saxons: brooches, rings, wrist clasps, as well as the expected spears and shield-bosses of battle.


I’m delighted when many readers/reviewers have said throughout the series, that they think the way I set up “the idea of time-shift so that it’s believable and makes sense” and that they feel, that the stories are “woven seamlessly and skilfully between the past and the present and the reader is drawn deeply into both worlds.” That makes all the complex plot-wrangling and the deep extensive research, well worthwhile!


Thank you so much, Anne, for hosting me again on your lovely blog today. It’s much appreciated.

My absolute pleasure Julia – let’s take a closer look at all three books (just click the title to be taken to the Amazon purchase page for each)…

A Shape on the Air (Book 1)


A haunting Anglo-Saxon time-slip of mystery and romance.


Can echoes of the past threaten the present? They are 1500 years apart, but can they reach out to each other across the centuries? One woman faces a traumatic truth in the present day. The other is forced to marry the man she hates as the ‘dark ages’ unfold.


How can Dr Viv DuLac, medievalist and academic, unlock the secrets of the past? Traumatised by betrayal, she slips into 499 AD and into the body of Lady Vivianne, who is also battling treachery. Viv must uncover the mystery of the key that she unwittingly brings back with her to the present day, as echoes of the past resonate through time. But little does Viv realise just how much both their lives across the centuries will become so intertwined. And in the end, how can they help each other across the ages without changing the course of history?


For fans of Barbara Erskine, Pamela Hartshorne, Susanna Kearsley, Christina Courtenay.


The Dragon Tree (Book 2)


A haunting medieval time-slip.


Echoes of the past resonate through time and disturb medievalist Dr DuLac as she struggles with misfortune in the present. She and Rev Rory have escaped to the island of Madeira on a secondment from their posts, yet they are not to find peace – until they can solve the mystery of the shard of azulejo and the ancient ammonite. Viv’s search brings her into contact with two troubled women: a noblewoman shipwrecked on the island in the 14th century and a rebellious nun at the island convent in the 16th century. As Viv reaches out across the centuries, their lives become intertwined, and she must uncover the secrets of the ominous Dragon Tree in order to locate lost artefacts that can shape the future.


For fans of Barbara Erskine, Pamela Hartshorne, Susanna Kearsley, Christina Courtenay.


The Rune Stone (Book 3)


A haunting time-slip mystery of runes and romance.


When Dr Viv DuLac, medievalist and academic, finds a mysterious runic inscription on a Rune Stone in the graveyard of her husband’s village church, she unwittingly sets off a chain of circumstances that disturb their quiet lives in ways she never expected. Once again, she feels the echoes of the past resonate through time and into the present. Can she unlock the secrets of the runes in the life of the 6th century Lady Vivianne and in Viv’s own life? Lives of the past and present intertwine alarmingly as Viv desperately tries to save them both, without changing the course of history.


For fans of Barbara Erskine, Pamela Hartshorne, Susanna Kearsley, Christina Courtenay.


“A rich and evocative time-slip novel that beautifully and satisfyingly concludes this superb trilogy. The story is woven seamlessly and skilfully between the past and the present and the reader is drawn deeply into both worlds. Her portrayal of the 6th century and its way of life are authoritative, vivid and memorable” – Kate Sullivan

About the author

Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and the concept of time. She sees her author brand as a historical fiction writer of romantic mysteries that are evocative of time and place, well-researched and uplifting page-turners. Her current series focuses on early medieval time-slip/dual-time mysteries.

Julia read English at Keele University, England, specialising in medieval language/ literature/ history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. After a turbulent time in Ghana, West Africa, she became a school teacher, then a university academic and researcher. Her break as an author came soon after she joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme in 2015, with a three-book deal from Lume Books (Endeavour) for a trilogy (Drumbeats) set in Ghana in the 1960s. She has published five other books, including A Shape on the Air, an Anglo-Saxon timeslip mystery, and its two sequels The Dragon Tree and The Rune Stone. Her work in progress is the first of a new series of Anglo-Saxon mysteries (Daughter of Mercia) where echoes of the past resonate across the centuries.

Her books will appeal to fans of Barbara Erskine, Pamela Hartshorne, Susanna Kearsley, and Christina Courtenay. Her readers say: ‘Julia’s books captured my imagination’, ‘beautiful story-telling’, ‘evocative and well-paced storylines’, ‘brilliant and fascinating’ and ‘I just couldn’t put it down’.

You can find her at:

Amazon | Author website and blog | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramPinterest | Goodreads

2 thoughts on “#Feature: The Dr DuLac series by Julia Ibbotson @JuliaIbbotson @rararesources #blogtour #guestpost #historical #timeslip #trilogy

    1. Anne Post author

      My absolute pleasure Julia – and thank you for the lovely guest post. Sorry I couldn’t review this time – but I’ll look forward to catching up…

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