Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Prince Dead: The Setting

Just a reminder… Prince Dead is still on sale for $.99 on Amazon. As always, it is free to read for members of Kindle Unlimited.

Once I had a character outline for my hero, I knew I needed to decide on the setting of the novel. My Viking would be invading… somewhere… sometime. I just needed to know where and when. I turned once again to my copy of The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings.

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, on June 8, 793 AD, “the ravages of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindisfarne, with plunder and slaughter”. Subsequent raids in England between the late 8th century and the first half of the 9th century were sporadic and seemingly unorganized. After that, however, the attacks intensified until in 869, the Vikings killed King Edmund and conquered East Angles.

I wanted to set the novel within this time frame, when the Viking were known and feared in the British aisles, but before they gained a true stronghold. I was not sure, however, that I wanted the novel set in England. That story, it seemed to me, had been told.

Between 795 AD and 824 AD the Vikings attacked Rechru, Innis Patraic, Do Chonna, Inishmurray, Roscam, Ulaid, Clew Bay, Howth, Cork, Skellig, and Etgal. They plundered, killed, razed monasteries and villages, and kidnapped women for hostages and slaves. From thence forward, the attacks in Ireland only intensified, just as they had done in England.

I personally never knew much about this and I suppose it is because, in an ironic turn of events, American students are generally given English history almost as their own prior to Christopher Columbus arriving in North America. We focus on English history, I suppose, for the simple reason that we can read it. So, while I was vaguely aware that the Vikings had raided throughout the British Aisles, Ireland was not the first place that jumped to my imagination when I thought of Viking invasions.

For this reason, I decided to set the novel in Ireland. It fit just enough with people’s preconceived notions (Americans’ at least), but would offer a bit of a fresh take. So, half my characters and my hero were to be Vikings. Now, I decided the heroine and the other half of the characters were to be Irish.

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