A DORSET author has written a novel partly set in Sherborne.

Brian Woolland's book The Invisible Exchange features an extended episode set in what was then Sherborne Lodge, now Sherborne Castle.

Most of former lecturer Brian's novel takes place in London between 1611 and 1613.

He was inspired to write The Invisible Exchange after coming across 'an extraordinary story' while lecturing in 17th century theatre at Reading University.

Brian said: "This extraordinary story that inspired several plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries became the greatest scandal of the Jacobean age.

"A passionate love affair, courtly intrigue, a cast of diverse characters from every walk of life, a very public murder trial. But this story had more. And the mystery at the heart of it is still unsolved."

After several of Brian’s plays were professionally produced, he decided to leave his university post and develop a second career as a writer and theatre director. He has now had 10 plays produced professionally.

The Invisible Exchange tells of Matthew Edgworth, employed by Viscount Rochester as a spy and a fixer, and to enable his master’s affair with Frances Howard.

When Frances seems impressed by Matthew’s unusual skills, he imagines that he can work for them both – until he realises that Frances is as cunning and ruthless as he is. But a servant with a store of secrets is a dangerous threat.

Sherborne Lodge, the beautifully proportioned house that Sir Walter Raleigh had built to his own design, inspired its own 'extended episode' of the novels.

Brian said: "In The Invisible Exchange, Rochester asks Matthew Edgworth to secretly bring Frances Howard to Sherborne Lodge, where they can continue their affair away from the gossips at court and out of sight of Frances’s husband."

The Invisible Exchange is Brian's first historical novel. It will be published at the end of July when it will be available in paperback from all bookshops and as an e-book.