My Books

Buy one of my books... Available above at Amazon. Also available at SmashWords, Barnes & Noble and iTunes

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Story Buried for 1000 Years

Today I am pleased to publish my 15th guest blog post. You too can have a post published on my blog. Just read the guidelines HERE. In the meantime, enjoy..

A Story Buried for 1000 Years
By: Martin Lake

I have written all my life but fifteen years ago I decided to combine my love of writing and history and try my hand at writing historical fiction.

I wrote a couple of novels and started and put down a few more as well.  Then I discovered a subject which has kept me enthralled.
I started to write ‘The Lost King’ series of books some while ago.  In fact, to my surprise, I’ve have found a draft from as far back as December 2004.

So what made me spend so long writing about this man and his history?

It goes back way beyond 2004.  I’ve been fascinated by the Anglo Saxon period since childhood when I got a Ladybird Book about Alfred the Great.  I can picture it still.

Later on in life I read a book by Frank McLynn called ’1066: The Year of Three Battles’ and was fascinated to find out that more had taken place in that troubled year than merely the Battle of Hastings.
The more I delved into it the more I realised the extent to which the Norman Invasion transformed the whole of English society in a truly catastrophic manner.

In the course of my reading one name came up repeatedly but always marginally; that of Edgar Atheling, the grand-nephew of King Edward the Confessor.  Edgar was a footnote to history and I viewed him in much the same way.  Yet Atheling is a term which meant throne-worthy and was the equivalent of the French Dauphin or British Prince of Wales.  It meant that Edgar and not Harold Godwinson had been designated by King Edward as his heir.  And certainly not William, Duke of Normandy.

When I read Steven Runciman’s ‘History of the Crusades’ I found Edgar cropping up again, but this time not as a mere cipher but as a skilful leader who was making an impact in a terrible war.

I began to research a little more and found out a strange discrepancy between different accounts of the Atheling.  It soon became clear that his tale had been virtually erased from history.

I decided to write his story in the form of a novel.

What I found most remarkable is that although Edgar spent much of his life leading the resistance to William the Conqueror and his successors he was never punished in the way that other rebels were.

I wondered why.  Was it that the Norman Kings feared to do him harm, that they felt guilty because he was the legitimate king or that he was very lucky or very intelligent?  In the end I have come to believe that all these factors help explain the inexplicable.

So successfully did the Normans erase mention of Edgar that there is still, a thousand years later, very little information about him.
There an article called The Last Æþeling by Betty Hale, a short biography in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, passing references to him in textbooks and a few entries in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  And not a lot more.

He is a gift for a novelist.  A person who spent the whole of his life in the eye of the storm but with only the barest facts recorded about him.  What great opportunities this offers.  It was even better when I came to realise the astonishingly eventful life he led.
I hesitated a long time whether to write the novel as a third person or first person narrative.  It soon became clear to me that Edgar’s voice which has been so long forgotten would be one well much worth listening to.

I have written two novels in the series (‘The Lost King: Resistance’ and ‘Wasteland’) and am about to publish the third: ‘The Quality of Kings’.  They are all available as e-books world-wide.

About Martin Lake: Born in London, brought up in the Midlands, lived in the south-west of England. I went to a Secondary Modern school where I was fortunate to be taught by three gifted English teachers. I studied English and History at the University of East Anglia, missed lots of Malcolm Bradbury's classes but got a lift in his Jag. Worked most of my life in colleges and ran my own training business. After a pretty bad accident I had time to focus on my life-long passion for writing. Ten years ago I met the woman I should have married when we were 18. We now live on the French Riviera.

Martin's Blog: Martin Lake
Martin on Twitter: @martinlake14
Martin on Facebook: Martin Lake

Follow Paul Dorset:      

No comments:

Post a Comment