Offcuts from research

This month, I’m working on the final rewrites for my next historical novel, The Anarchy. The book will be published on 2 June and you can preorder it here. 

In the course of researching my books, I’m forever having to keep the story focused and leave out some of the fascinating characters and facts from history. However, I will be writing a series of posts and articles on them instead.

Alongside the publication of my last novel, I wrote a post for the English Historical Fiction Authors blog on Nest’s pioneering husband, Gerald of Windsor, who foiled the Welsh siege of Pembroke Castle with a fake letter and a lot of bravado, and who escaped from another castle under attack by wriggling down a medieval toilet chute. 

Keep an eye out for forthcoming posts and articles on the ‘offcuts’ from my current research including:

medieval murder

Devious medieval murder methods 

Was King Henry I a proto-feminist? How much are we are wishfully ‘reading back’ into history on issues such as gender, or are we rediscovering events that have been buried under later attitudes and propaganda?

Is there any weight to the controversial argument that the Welsh warrior princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffudd ap Cynan could be the author of The Four Branches of the Mabinogion – the famous Welsh medieval stories? 

Uncovering the motivations of the treacherous Welsh prince, Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd ap Cynan (Gwenllian’s brother) who tried to displace his brother by invading with Dublin Vikings; collaborated with the Normans; and was very likely behind a string of brutal murders of other Welsh princes.

Inside the slippery intricacies of the mind of Bishop Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen, who thwarted Henry’s ambitions to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry was a papal legate embroiled in Vatican politicking and was an avid relic collector. He swapped sides repeatedly and impactfully in the civil war between his brother, the king, and his cousin, Empress Matilda. 

The mummified hand of St James, a relic that Henry of Blois ‘borrowed’ from Reading Abbey for 19 years

[*Amazon is currently giving November as the publication date but we are working towards a June release.] 

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