Medieval Great Britain

The Proud Sinner or How I Tried to Channel Agatha Christie by Priscilla Royal

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, Medieval Great Britain | 2 comments

One of the criticisms often leveled at historical mystery fiction writers is that we emphasize the history rather than the mystery in our books. Not so, in my less than humble opinion. Several historical mystery writers do very well with both, a conclusion that is probably shared by most of us. That said, I freely admit that my series tends to be very character driven with a background of, I hope, historical surprises. So when I came to write The Proud Sinner, my thirteenth book coming out this month, I challenged myself to be more devious in plotting. Learning to develop my inner...

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The Unexpected Ally by Sarah Woodbury

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Featured Book, Historical Tidbits, Medieval Great Britain | 2 comments

  Stephen de Blois came to London, and the people received him and hallowed him to king on midwinter day. But in this king’s time was all dissension, and evil, and rapine; for against him rose soon the rich men who were traitors. Then was England very much divided. Some held with the king and some with the empress; for when the king was in prison, the earls and the rich men supposed that he would never more come out, and they settled with the empress, and when the king was out, he heard of this, and took his force, and beset her in the tower. By such things, and more than we can...

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The High Council of Britain by Sarah Woodbury

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in Featured Book, Historical Research, Medieval Great Britain | 1 comment

Within British (and by that I mean Welsh/Cymry/Celtic) legend, a High Council—a Parliament of a sort—existed in the Dark Ages to choose a “high king”.  One of these high kings, according to legend, was King Arthur.  Later, during Arthur’s reign, he instituted his ’round table’, a gathering of equals, to discuss the troubles in his realm.  Or so the story goes. But did this High Council ever exist? The answer is ‘yes’—certainly during the reign of the last Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.  In 1282 when Edward I of England wrote his letters to...

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What was so special about the Longbow? by Sarah Woodbury

Posted by on Mar 7, 2016 in Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits, Medieval Great Britain | 2 comments

My new book, Masters of Time, the tenth book in the After Cilmeri series, opens with an attempted murder using a Welsh longbow. What’s significant about this use is that it occurred in France, where bows had given way to crossbow—a far easier weapon to use for someone who didn’t have the long training Welshmen put into learning the bow. The Welsh became so very good at the bow that the use of Welsh bowmen is one of the reasons King Henry won the battle of Agincourt. It is also one reason that the Welsh were able to hold off the Norman conquest of Wales for two hundred years before finally...

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LAND OF SHADOWS by Priscilla Royal

Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 in Featured Book, Medieval Great Britain | 6 comments

Long series, and I’ve been lucky enough to write one, have their dilemmas, but historical ones include issues that can trouble modern readers. Among these problems is early mortality. In my latest book, Land of Shadows, I realized that Prioress Eleanor and her family must suffer a generational shift. King Edward I had been on the throne for seven years, but her father, a carryover from the reign of Edward’s father, was still head of the Wynethorpe family. As much as I liked Baron Adam (Tyrant of the Mind), I knew it was time for him to die. His son, Hugh, and his daughter, Prioress Eleanor,...

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King Arthur—Fact or Fiction? by Sarah Woodbury

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Featured Book, Historical Research, Historical Tidbits, Medieval Great Britain | 5 comments

Historians are not in agreement as to whether or not the ‘real’ Arthur—the living, breathing, fighting human being—ever existed. The original sources for the legend of King Arthur come from a few Welsh texts. These are: 1) Y Goddodin—a Welsh poem by the 7th century poet, Aneirin, with its passing mention of Arthur. The author refers to the battle of Catraeth, fought around AD 600 and describes a warrior who “fed black ravens on the ramparts of a fortress, though he was no Arthur”. 2) Gildas, a 6th century British (that is, Welsh) cleric who...

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