The Sanctuary Stone highlights the brutality and callousness of fictitious Liverpool slave traders the Bell family, which continued on their Jamaican plantations for years following abolition. An ancient injustice festers until it explodes into the modern day as a young man from Jamaica seeks brutal revenge against the current generation of Bells.
Central to one plank of the mystery is the issue of sanctuary and whether or not Liverpool offered a safe haven for slaves who had escaped on disembarking at the city’s famous Pier Head. The city’s oldest artefact is The Sanctuary Stone, believed to be from around 1292, and as the story unfolds we learn that it had entered the mythology of slaves as a place to head for should they ever find themselves out of manacles.
Tom Paver, 44, is the youngest of six children raised in what he describes as “a typically Catholic Liverpool household: noisy, matriarchal and clannish.” He was educated by Irish nuns from the age of 3 and didn’t escape their warm embrace until he was 18. Nice people, though a bit handy with the punishment cane, Tom says. He deserved it most of the time, if he’s honest.
He gained a degree in marketing from Manchester Polytechnic, though not before a year in Barcelona growing up quickly. His perfunctory Spanish still comes in handy each year on the family holiday, when he enjoys mangling verb conjugations.
Tom is married with two children and divides his time between Liverpool and London. He has hopes of becoming a world class fly fisherman and of Everton Football Club winning the European Cup, but admits that neither event is likely any time soon. If there were more hours in the day or weeks in the year then he’d actually complete the GR11 path across the length of the Spanish Pyrenees.