I am an award-winning author, artist, filmmaker, and screenwriter with over 27 novels, novellas, and short stories. Writing and oil painting are my passions and fantasy my forte.

"I believe a book should be memorable enough that it passes from one generation to the next."

Thread of a Spider by D.L. Gardner

Following an ambush at the Upton Rail Station in 1921 Ireland, British troops burn Ailis' home to the ground and arrest her fiancé, Liam, for murder. She and her younger brother Paddy flee to an enchanted glen. Lured by a haunting song, Paddy is abducted by forest folk. Perilous obstacles, and a questionable stranger, hinder Ailis' attempts to find her brother or free her fiancé until her only hope for survival rests on the magic of the Fae.


D.L. Gardener is both a talented author and a fine artist – a sensibility she brings to all her books. The chiaroscuro of light and dark, faerie and mortal, combine with the richness of history to delight and entice her readers into her worlds, which often feature portal fantasies and mystical doorways between realms. – Anthea Sharp



  • "Thread of a Spider is an absorbing story that smoothly combines key elements from both history and fantasy. Author D. L. Gardner (also a fellow contributor at Amazing Stories) has created a magical little world filled with courage and charm set in an unlikely stage of war and terror."

    – Review from Amazing Stories Magazine
  • "D.L. Gardner's Thread of a Spider was a pleasure to read - most of all because the author celebrates love of country, family, friendship, courage, sacrifice, and honor. Traditional values - in other words. And those are rare treasures, today."

    – Amazon review
  • "Wow, I just went to Ireland. The sights, the sounds, the smells were all around me and I felt like I could actually reach out and touch the things described in each scene. DL Gardner's writing is so vivid you are there with the characters, running, hiding, fighting and weeping. Thread of a Spider is such an amazing story, I had book depression when it ended. I wanted to go back to Ireland and spend more time with these wonderful characters and roam in this amazing country."

    – Amazon review



Chapter 1 The Abduction

Paddy opened his eyes. He wasn't much into sleeping—not in the woods and atop sharp, jagged stones and pine needles. He'd only dragged himself to the fort tonight because Tommy had begged him to. He'd much rather have been home with Da loading shells and getting the cache ready. Rumor was British were sighted near Kilbritteny. Da expected a confrontation as early as this week. Besides, he worried about Ailis, his sister who'd been gone too long riding dispatch.

But Paddy'd do anything for thirteen-year-old Tommy, his sandy-haired friend, two years his younger. Tommy had an imagination as wild as hedge roses swallowing the castle in Dunberry, and just as unpredictable, too. The boy slept curled up in the hawthorn and maple leaves piled high at Paddy's feet. Peaceful—as if nothing rocked his world.

Maybe nothing did. Tommy was an orphan, so he'd already lost everything to the war. He'd nothing left but his imagination, and tonight his imaginings brought the two of them into the glen in the hills behind Paddy's house, a secret fort where they'd pile logs into a lean-to, and where Tommy swore, he'd seen Fae folk. Paddy went along with him, like a loyal friend should.

Not that Paddy didn't believe in the Fae. Everyone did in these parts. And he wanted to see them almost as much as Tommy, even though the stories Grandda told were frightening. The Fae were thieves and robbers, and boy children were their favorite plunder. Maybe that's why he couldn't sleep. What with the moon casting ghostly shadows in the woods, and leaves rustling above. He shivered and kicked his friend gently. Tommy groaned.

"Won't see Fae if your eyes are shut tight," Paddy whispered, trying to sound older and wiser, but really wanting someone else awake with him. "'Cept maybe in your dreams."

Tommy shot upright, blinking and brushing twigs out of his hair. "Did you see them?"

"No. But I hear something. Listen." Paddy bent his ear to the whisper on the wind.

"I hear it too. Singing." Tommy's eyes grew wide.

"Maybe." Paddy shook the fear away. "Just Puck Creek babbling over the stones, probably." And then came a haunting intonation unlike that of anything he'd ever heard. A soft and pleasing voice, the lyrics so clear it would be impossible to deny.

Thread of a spider,

Weaving of ties,

Cloak for the human,

Whose service will rise.

Babes in the cradle, and lads in the woods

'Tis Fianna we're seeking with periwinkle

Paddy's skin tingled as he absorbed the meaning of the words. Seeking lads in the woods? He was certain Tommy didn't know about the Irish Fianna, the young soldiers who collaborated with the Volunteer Army and whose ranks he had recently joined. But whoever was singing knew about them. He shuddered.

"Fae!" Tommy blurted excitedly.

"Wait!" Paddy reached out, but the boy had already jumped down, picked up his cap and followed the music. Paddy would have pulled him back—would have told him to be careful—if the lad would have listened. But Tommy defied caution, and this was not the time for an argument. Paddy followed, his heart pounding like a drum.

Stumbling over roots and sliding precariously down the bank into the creek, Paddy's long legs and awkward torso were no match for the speed of Tommy's wiry frame. Soon the boy's fair hair, illuminated by the moon, was all Paddy saw of his friend.

Suddenly, a brilliant golden glow like the light of a thousand fireflies lit the woods.

Paddy froze. Fear stopped his heart and his mouth dropped open. Before he could find the words to cry out, Tommy was surrounded by the light.

As abruptly as the glare had appeared, the light dissolved. Darkness penetrated the woods again, leaving spots in Paddy's eyes and a hole in his heart. His friend was gone.

"Tommy!" Paddy choked, tripping through the brush toward where he had last seen the boy. "Tommy!" The lump in his throat swelled. But there was no Tommy. The boy's footprints smudged into the mossy ground at Paddy's feet. There were no other signs of him. Not in the brush, nor the trees, nor across the brook. Paddy held his breath, listening, his heart aching, but even the breeze had subsided. All was quiet. A deep sense of aloneness befell him.

As a single cloud passed in front of the moon, strengthening the darkness, Paddy noticed a small piece of fabric glowing at his feet. Periwinkle in color, it shimmered with its own light. Paddy picked it up, awed at how the color seemed to transfer into his hand, penetrating his flesh.

"Magic," he snarled. "Fae!" He crumpled the cloth with his fist and shoved the fabric into his pocket. "I'll find you Tommy, I swear. By the sword of Saint Michael, I'll find you and bring you back home."