Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys

Book One : Watchers

When dreams come true and myths are real, anything can happen…and it certainly does in this tale of magic, mystery and dark intrigue….

What would happen if you blended The X-files with Lord of the Rings, added a pinch of Eragon and a few drops of Harry Potter? Most likely you’d get Watchers!

And, you might be forgiven for thinking that Watchers, the first book in the Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys series, is one of those classics that has been around forever and that somehow it’s only now you’re getting around to reading it. That’s the peculiar thing about this book: it just has a sort of presence, like it has always been there, whispering its secrets to you from the dim recesses of your book shelf.

Maybe that’s in part due to the nature of the story itself. Like the world we live in, there are many levels to this book and many parallel realities that flicker in and out of existence. Nothing is ever quite as it seems and there are wheels within wheels as the plot reveals its hidden secrets.

The rough story is as follows: The UK is straining under the pressure of the global war against terror. In the cities, school children live in fear of knife attacks and rampant pandemics. When a flood threatens to devastate London, twelve year old Tilly Greenway and her stepbrother Zack are evacuated to a creepy manor house in Wales.

Their lives are turned (even more) upside down when they find out that the world itself is controlled by a sinister organisation called ISIS who are in league with a group of shadowy alien entities. ISIS wants nothing less than to microchip the population with nano-brains that give them complete control over every human being on the planet. And they will stop at nothing to get their way.

Tilly and Zack soon discover that they have a big part to play in thwarting ISIS’s plan. They must decipher a series of ancient riddles in order to unlock the secret locations of the mysterious ME Keys, objects of power that were hidden by an Egyptian Princess more than three thousand years ago.

On their journey they come across the Guardians of the Earth, a secret society committed to keeping alive the secrets of long ago. The Guardians help Tilly and Zack to locate the last twelve dragons, who are buried beneath England’s hilltops. Then they must find and activate the first ME Key.

But ISIS and the calculating Director of Terror are hot on their heels. With their department of remote-viewers, they track the children’s every movement, setting up a nail-biting finale on the peak of Glastonbury Tor…

The great thing about this book is that it has all the pace and intrigue of a Dan Brown thriller, whilst at the same time giving the reader many moments of respite (and humour) in quiet scenes that take the reader into the heart and soul of the countryside.

Magical creatures appear from the mists of time. Sacred sites are brought to life in ways that make them relevant for the modern reader and the real beauty of the world becomes a vital presence in the book, giving the children a deeper understanding of what it is they are fighting for.

Rarely does a book live up to its billing, but Watchers really is the exception to the rule. And the great thing is that the landscape of Tilly Greenway is real. You can visit every location (well, except for the scary ones, maybe)!

If you like epic fantasy, magic and myth, suspense-filled thrillers, or X-Files-type conspiracy stories…this is the book for you!

Tilly Greenway You Tube channel – Tilly Greenway

Buy Now at amazon.co.uk


In the News

Stranger than fiction: Bristol girl turns heads at Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway.

From : This is Bristol March 22 2012

When eleven year old Afra Parsons from Bristol walked in to the Cribbs Causeway branch in Waterstones on Sunday March 18th last, author in residence for the day Essi Tolling was amazed.

“I looked up,” he said, “and there standing in front of me was this girl who looked exactly like Tilly,  the heroine in my book! It was like she had jumped out of the pages. I couldn’t believe my eyes!”

Afra Parsons from Bristol at Waterstone's Cribbs Causeway
Afra Parsons from Bristol at Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway

Tolling’s book, Watchers is the first book in the mystery adventure series Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys.

He continues: “When you create and develop an imaginary character, you don’t expect them to exist in real life, but Afra is a real eleven year old girl who now has a twin in the world of fiction.”

Described as a Da Vinci Code for children of all ages, Watchers is a story that blends real British locations with age old mysteries, ancient myths and modern conspiracy. The heroine Tilly and her stepbrother Zack have to face down a shadow organisation who are plotting to microchip the population and hand it over to an alien group, poised to take over the planet. To succeed, they have to work with an ancient order of guardians who introduce them to a world very different to the one they thought they knew. They find that myths and legends hold hidden truths and that sleeping dragons lie hidden in the British countryside waiting to be called into this battle to save humanity. Real locations abound in this book, and the children visit places such as; Glastonbury, the South Downs, Avebury, Skenfrith, Conwy Valley and more, during their quest.

The book is very popular with children and adults alike and, as Essi Tolling says: “My dream is that the Tilly Greenway series will be made into a movie and now that I’ve seen Afra, I can only hope that this happens within the next couple of years as she would be absolutely perfect for the role of Tilly!”

Luckily Afra is an aspiring actress and already attending acting classes so maybe Essi’s dream can become a reality!

Essi Tolling was in the Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway store and will be making a return visit  in May.


Eleven year old Afra Parsons from Bristol

Simon Monfredi from Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway with author Essi Tolling



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