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Andrew's historical fantasy novel based on an ancient Welsh tale, 'The Fairy Wife' (working title) is accepted for publication!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Doe-Dragon: King Arthur’s Family

Doe Dragon SmallI’d always wanted to write a story based around fifth century north north Welsh myths, which resulted in ‘The Doe and the Dragon’.

My background is in the novel’s time and place, and it was important to me both to get the legends right, and to write something historians would find at least plausible.  Blending the mixture of history and legend, and also getting the ‘facts’ straight, was one of the most enjoyable parts of the writing.  Getting the people right was particularly fun.

The story is placed in the generation before King Arthur, and features those Arthurian characters who also appear in the rich Welsh legends.  So, which characters who Arthur would have known, are included?

  • Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father.  I ‘used’ Einion of Gwynedd, who is a a shadowy figure from the fringes of history.  As he lived around the right time, and has the epithet ‘Yrth’ (‘the Impetuous), Einion Yrth has been tentatively equated with the similar ‘Uther’ by some historians. 
  • Merlin.  The wizard plays an important part on Welsh stories, and surprisingly is one of the few Arthurian characters likely to be based on a real person. 
  • Igraine.  Any story of Arthur’s parents without his mother would be unthinkable, but sadly she doesn’t get a mention in Welsh stories.  I get around this by having a character (Breena, from my imagination) affectionately nicknamed Y Grawn (Welsh for ‘doe’) which is near enough to allow Breena to become Igraine!
  • Vortigern.  Okay, not strictly an ‘Arthurian’ character, but great fun as the period’s traditional bad guy and at least one story links him with Merlin.  Almost certainly a historical figure who was important at the time, so Arthur would have heard of him and it’s not inconceivable they’d have met, although Arthur would have been very young and Vortigern near the end of his days.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review – ‘Reconquest: Mother Earth’

Reconquest-Mother-Earth_cover11I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I enjoyed Carl Alves’ ‘Two for Eternity’ so I was happy to make a rare journey into the genre to try his ‘Reconquest:  Mother Earth’.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Despite not knowing one end of science fiction from the other, I found this story of humans coping with the aftermath of an alien invasion really easy to get into.  That’s probably because the ‘science’ is largely there in the background.  The story is about a struggle to survive, and as such was about a character and plot rather than about the genre.

I also found that man’s – Mitch – struggles engrossing.  Although he is larger than life in a sometimes Conan-esque way, he is above all human and with human flaws, aims and desires we’d all recognise.  That made him the sort of hero I could identify with and I found myself rooting for him as he fought his battle against the odds.

That doesn’t mean the plot is secondary – the background of alien invasion ties in well and gives a background to Mitch’s struggles to survive as well as driving him on.  The secondary characters are also well presented and rounded.

But the best bit?  The ending.  The easy route would have been to set a big, final battle between alien and human forces.  However, Alves has taken a different approach, and the story is much more satisfying for it.

In all, I thought this a good read.  In this case that’s a particular compliment because I haven’t come across many science fiction books that have kept me hooked throughout.

Carl is at: http://www.carlalves.com/

‘Reconquest: Planet Earth’ is available from Amazon.