Now I See The True Old Times Are Dead

But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
Clothed with his breath, and looking as he walk’d,
Larger than human on the frozen hills.

Morte d'Arthur, Alfred Lord Tennyson

Having finished reading Harry Blamires' The Kirkbride Conversations, my interest took a little turn and I pulled Hope Muntz's The Golden Warrior out of the stack of books I want to read. It is a good, sturdy-looking book, hardback and royal blue, dedicated (to my heightened interest) to none other than "The Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill." I plan on reading such works as The Conquering Family and When Christ and His Saints Slept, so I thought it would be logical to start the race off with Harold and William. I am told that the beginning (which this is, strictly, not) is a very good place to start.

This is strictly not the beginning of the saga. Enormous figures have already strode across the haunted hills of England and the prologue, which I am in the midst of, is summing up the imprint of those giants. I have a suspicion that, if anyone cared, you could do a sort of Godfather-styled retelling of Earl Godwin and his family, but perhaps that is a proposition for another day... Now, in the Earl's confiscated hall at Guildford King Edward and his cousin Duke William Bastard (an un-charming if accurate appellation) have sat down to dinner and, under the natural genius of the hall's former owner, have fallen back on accounts of Godwin's heavy-handed dealings. I already know a little bit of all this so I was jigging slightly in my chair, reading along with an eye to get to the Hector of the tale (don't hit me, Abigail), when the Norman Achilles, a dark, terrible kind of figure, says darkly of the exiled Godwin:

"He is a man who will dare all things."

I am always on the look-out for inspiration. You never know where it might show up and you have to be ready for it. This, on the other hand, was a summing-up (far better than I could have done, though I tried) of my own Plenilune antagonist. Across nine hundred forty-something years I could still feel the fear, not of some over-bearing villain, but of a foe to be reckoned with. As I pen-stab at my own story, trying to translate it out of my own mind into ink, I feel among the lords of Plenilune that same worry: that the wolf, which does not sleep, will come out of the dark, and will dare all things.

So here is to Hope Muntz, and Duke William, and Earl Godwin for that matter. What a horrible time of horrible men! They make good models for stories, even if they made bad men. Well, with histories like these, who needs novels?

"I smell a rat."
Centurion of Darkling-law, Plenilune

15 ripostes:

  1. Don't you love it when someone has already said what your heart longs to say? It makes things so much easier. :D That is such an inspiring line though: "He is a man who will dare all things." Profound, really. :)

  2. Isn't it? Ooh! it sent thrills of coldness down my spine to read it. And isn't it a relief to find someone who says just what you've wanted to say? It is like trying to learn how to write, and the letters are always wobbly and cross, and then someone comes along and takes your hand and helps you sign just perfectly... My letters (poor long-suffering Anna!) always wind up with diatribes about my novels, at the moment about Plenilune, and what a trial it is to try to convey the pomp and colour and splendour of the images I see running wildly through my head! It is like riding the tail of a comet! And I don't know about you, but riding the tail of a comet is never conducive to legible hand-writing. "He is a man who will dare all things." All in a single phrase I see the face and heart and soul and genius of my antagonist. Gives me the shivers, it does.

    Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,
    And so was England born!

  3. And what's up with that villainous last name? I just watched the Kenneth Branagh version of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" last night (and L<3ved it. :) and there is a Don John the Bastard in there....I guess it was just a popular insulting name? (And there was probably a bit of truth in it in his case...)

  4. My husband and I watched that production just recently. We enjoyed it too. :) And I don't know about the appellation "Bastard." Obviously people of those times were used to using occupations or personal traits as a sort of surname, but I have no idea if Duke William would have used the title himself, true as it was. I would probably have to ask Daddy. So far as I can tell, it certainly hasn't come down to us as a last name. "FitzRoy" has, which, Daddy tells me, was a common title for illegitimate children of the king. But there, I can't give you the answer until I've read the book. I have read most of the book "1066" (bet would can't guess what that is about), but it is a history and got a little dull and sloggy in places so that I bogged down and haven't finished. I would certainly like to, and I probably will. It is such a pivotal point in history. I don't mind facts, of course. I don't need everything novelized. The problem is that facts can easily be made into dull facts, and that isn't any fun.

    Dullfax. He was a Norse history teacher.

  5. This was lovely, and I may have to pick up this book and read it myself.
    I finally received "The Shadow Things," and I had to tell you - it was AMAZING. I LOVED it. It was far better than Rosemary Sutcliff, everything was handled PERFECTLY. And the funny thing was I bought it used off, and I received a SIGNED COPY! I was so excited!!!! I cannot WAIT until you publish another book; please, please hurry!!

  6. Winston Churchill is my ultimate favourite British Prime Minister!!

  7. Jenny,
    I was trying to find the proper place (here it is!) to say I finished The Shadow Things. It was beautifully written and absorbing. As historical fiction, it is so credible. As a woman author, you brought to life a real man! Not easy to get in and stay in that point of view. Blessings on your achievement! Indi's growth in faith was a wonder.

  8. Mirriam, Maria, thank you both! I am delighted to have delighted you, to discover that my labour has not been in vain. Mirriam, you say you can't wait for me to publish another work. That makes two of us! Lord willing, The Shadow Things will not be the only one of my novels to whisk you away to challenges and high deeds and goodness.

    Londongirl, while I have not read them myself, my father highly recommends "The Last Lion" biographies of Winston Churchill: Visions of Glory and Alone. There was meant to be a third to make it a trilogy, but the author William Manchester died before he could complete the third installment. They are quite large, but if you are very interested in Churchill I would recommend snooping in among those pages.

  9. Jenny, I'm positive it won't. You have such a gift - I eagerly await the day I hold a new copy of Plenilune in my hands!!

  10. Jenny, I'm looking foward to Plenilune too!
    Today I read something that reminded me of your work, and applies to those in this conversation. Dr. Michael Haykin wrote in this weekend's devotional in Tabletalk, "The Lives of the Saints":
    "The eighteenth-century English Baptist Caleb Evans was spot-on when he said, 'Every Christian out to be a good historian.'"
    This is so true!

  11. This was meant to read 'ought to be,' not 'out to be'! I don't usually use the term 'lol', but lol.

  12. Ah, I read it as you meant it. But while I certainly won't discourage excitement for Plenilune, I must warn you that it will be a long time before that is done. Wait for Adamantine first, and hopefully Plenilune will be behind it.

  13. And here I have commented too quickly for myself. I meant to say how good I think that quote, Maria. Considering the unbarred relationship Christians have with the one who made history, I heartily agree that they, of all people, should have the greatest interest and best knowledge of it.

  14. Adamantine will be amazing, I'm positive. I can't wait! Honestly, it must. get. published. SOON. =D

  15. Jenny, I'll wait for Adamantine then, with Mirriam!
    Yes, this quote is a good one. Because we are His children, we of all people should eagerly study history and ongoing history. It's a story of infinite variety, with the same ultimate themes.