Palaces and bishops

Thank you to Pembroke Dock Library for such an enjoyable event last week when I presented my new novel, The Drowned Court, and talked with the audience about medieval life and the process of writing historical fiction. And thanks too, to Bob, my ‘muse’, for driving me around Pembrokeshire again, so that we were able…

Hnefatafl -Viking boardgame

Since characters in Dublin who appear in my novel trilogy, Conquest, play the Viking boardgame, hnefatafl, I was excited to see a 9th century set of glass pieces from the game in a fabulous exhibition of medieval glass at the Cluny Museum in Paris this week. I am giving illustrated talks on the Conquest novels…

Library Talks – Historical Fiction

My new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is published tomorrow by Impress Books. It covers the years 1107-1121 and focusses on the tumultuous lives of the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys, and the Norman king, Henry I. I am giving a number of library talks in November in Norfolk and Pembrokeshire to celebrate the new…

History Questions

My new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is published next week and a guest post by me on writing the novel is up today on Tony Riches’ blog, The Writing Desk. ‘I approach writing all my novels by asking questions that I have, after researching the historical evidence.’ The questions that drove my writing in…

As the drawbridge came down, I ventured in

      Publication Day for my new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is approaching. The novel continues the story of Nest ferch Rhys and King Henry I in 12th century Wales, England and Normandy.         A review of the first book in the trilogy, Daughter of the Last King: ‘As the…

A Norman feminist?

King Henry I was the third Norman king of England, after his father, William the Conqueror, and his older brother, William II. Henry reigned in England and most of Wales for 35 years, keeping a peace there, but he struggled with frequent outbreaks of rebellion in Normandy, where he was Duke from 1106. It is…

Flying Far and Wide Through Words

‘I had looked out upon the wide kingdoms of the Earth as if I were caught up in ecstasy, flying far and wide through words …. Now, however, I will return exhausted to my black-clad life,’ declared the monk historian, Orderic Vitalis, who lived and worked in a Norman monastery in the 12th century. The…

Medieval Wales

Above is an artist’s impression of the Welsh fort at Carew that preceded the Norman stone castle occupying the site today. The sketch is based on findings from archaeology digs in the 1990s. The stone cross at the entrance to the site, inscribed with the name of the 11th century king Maredudd ap Edwin, is…

Into the Map

For the last few days I have been putting together maps to help readers envisage the action of my latest novel set in the 12th century, The Drowned Court. The characters travel from Dublin, to Wales, to England, and into northern France. Poring over old maps and, as far as possible, walking the terrain myself…

Posts from a Castle – Carew (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, I recounted the early story of the royal Welsh fort at Carew and the coming of the Normans, telling the story of Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of the last Welsh king in south west Wales, and Gerald FitzWalter, the minor Norman lord who held Pembroke and Carew at the end of…