The Sheriff's Catch

A man forced to join the Spanish Armada must flee fatal capture in 16th Century Ireland

Army deserter Abel de Santiago has all but avenged his murdered wife, when he is captured and sold as a galley slave. As the Spanish Armada sails for Calais Roads in May 1588, there cannot be a soul aboard more reluctant than him. After a crushing defeat to the English fleet, the Spanish ships are battered by extraordinary storms. Santiago soon finds himself washed ashore in Ireland, a country terrorised by men that the natives call Sassenachs. Santiago’s faint hopes of survival appear dashed when he is captured by the brutal Sheriff of Sligo, who has orders from Dublin to torture and kill all Spanish castaways.  

An unlikely twist of fate leaves Santiago fleeing Sligo with a jewelled ring worth a King’s ransom. His escape leads to a desperate chase across a strange and stunning land, where danger lurks at every turn...

About the author

The Sheriff's Catch is the first in The Sassana Stone Pentalogy: James Vella-Bardon's sprawling five-part historical fiction series. It is the product of nine years of intense rewriting and research.

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Why We Like It

  • A rip-roaring, myth-busting page-turner; this is historical fiction at its most compelling
  • Excellently researched, this is both an enlightening and entertaining read
  • An exciting first instalment in the highly-anticipated Sassana Stone Pentalogy

How it works

The book will be delivered in 11 instalments (or staves), one every day. The instalments are delivered to your Pigeonhole bookshelf on your IOS or Android app, plus you can read on our web reader. You will receive an email letting you know when each stave is available.

We believe that shared reading leads to new ideas and connections. That’s why we have a dynamic commenting system which allows in-text discussion between our readers. Post a comment and all your fellow readers will be able to respond. You can also choose to receive notifications (customise them here) when someone responds to your comment, or, additionally, whenever a comment is left in the book.

As you read you will see round purple icons at the edge of certain paragraphs – tap on these to reveal behind-the-scenes extra content!We kindly ask that you help us spread the brilliance of this book and support the author by leaving an Amazon review at the end the serialisation. The full book will be available on your Pigeonhole bookshelf for one month for you to read at your leisure.

Any questions? Drop us a line on laurence@pigeonholepublishing.com.


James Vella-Bardon

James was born and raised in Malta. As a boy he often caught a rickety old bus to the capital of Valletta, where he would hover around the English bookshops to check out the latest titles in fiction.

Growing up he was an avid reader and a relentless day-dreamer, with his standout subject at school being English composition. He also won a couple of national essay competitions. Although he spent seven years studying and obtaining a doctor of laws degree, this did not cure him of his urge to write stories. 

So after emigrating to Sydney in 2007 he resolved to have a proper stab at writing his first novel. The result of this decision is an epic, sprawling five-part historical fiction series called The Sassana Stone Pentalogy

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