London beyond time and place London beyond time and place,Talks beyond time and place Episode 05: Stephen Saleh | Topic: Dark Lines of London

Episode 05: Stephen Saleh | Topic: Dark Lines of LondonEpisode 05: Stephen Saleh | Topic: Dark Lines of London


Stephen is the author of “Dark Lines of London“, a time-travelling, supernatural and historical comic that he wrote together with Tony Lee, with graphic design coming from newcomer Mariela Malova. The story of “Dark Lines of London” is set in two time periods: One story is set in 1589 when Queen Elizabeth I is at the end of her reign and the so-called “School of Night” makes plans for the future of the British Empire. The group consists of Francis Walsingham, his daughter Frances, Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Harriot and of course Doctor John Dee, who is one of the main protagonists of the comic.

Stephen Saleh – Dark Lines of London

The other story is set in 2019. The English Literatures graduate Sam Carter finds a message in an ancient copy of Dee’s “Monas Hieroglyphica” that warns him of the School of Night’s plans to destroy London in 2020. He finds a way to converse with Doctor Dee in the past and together they plan to save the world.

In “Talks beyond time and place”, we talk about the comic, John Dee, the ley line from Mile End to Blackheath that Stephen discovered, and Marillion.




00:00​​​ London beyond time and place Intro

01:00​​​ Introduction

04:17​ Are you a born Londoner?


06:01​ Researching the story: Have you always been a London historian?

08:09​ How and when did you start writing the story?

12:05​ Did you always intend on doing it as a comic or did you want to publish it as a novel?

15:00​ About the ley line in the comic that starts at Queen Mary’s College in Mile End, goes through Hawksmoor’s St Anne’s Limehouse, the Isle of Dogs, Greenwich and ends at All Saints church on Blackheath Common.

21:09​ Doing a walk along the ley line with a paranormal investigation team in May 2019

22:08​ From the nuclear test reactor in Queen Mary’s College to 666 pews within All Saints church in Blackheath: The connection of the ley line to John Dee and his “Monas Hieroglyphica”

31:05​ The line is also crossed by the meridian. Were there time anomalies in the Greenwich foot tunnel when you did the walk?

32:16​ The basic theory in the comic is that John Dee conjured a spirit at the Isle of Dogs and so made it the location of the origin of the British Empire: About the fascination with Doctor John Dee

37:14​ How and why did Christopher Marlowe and the “School of Night” enter the story?

39:49​ How did you come up with the present-day story in “Dark Lines of London” and the characters? Were there real-life inspirations for Sam, Sophie and Guru?

41:53​ The original inspiration for “Dark Lines of London”: The George pub on the Isle of Dogs with the Masonic symbol

43:18​ The art of the comic: The magnificent drawings of Mariela Malova

45:22​ Is the “Bar Fugazi” in the comic a reference to the band Marillion?

47:48​ Is “Dark Lines of London” going to be continued?

48:44​ What are your other projects going to be about?

51:05​ What is your favourite place in London?

51:59​ How do you personally view London? Has it shaped you?

53:41​ Can you name three Londoners that you would have dinner or a drink with?


Dark Lines of London Cover
Dark Lines of London Cover

Buy the comic here: Dark Lines of London*

The ley line

The PDF with the walk and all the images shown by Stephen can be found here!

Philipp Röttgers is a German whose knowledge on London’s history is unsurpassed by most local experts. His new book, written in conjunction with Dorothee Schröder, showcases his authoritative knowledge on Jack the Ripper and brings the enduring legend to a new audience.

Stephen Saleh about my German book “Jack the Ripper – Die Whitechapel-Morde 1888: Eine Chronologie”


Talks beyond time and place” is a series of online conversations by author Philipp Röttgers of “London beyond time and place“. Philipp and his guests chat about how London influences their lives. In every episode, they cover certain topics, depending on the individual guest. Among his guests are scholars, historians, tour guides and more and the atmosphere feels like a conversation in a pub.

Music by Bryan Kolarczyk

Philipp Röttgers Talks beyond time and place
Philipp Röttgers Talks beyond time and place

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