A little bit of news about my current writing project – the Stonehearted series of novellas set in the Hundred Years War.
I’ve now about to finish the first draft of volume 4, which will be titles For a Heart Made of Stone. This will be now the final volume of the series! I have enjoyed writing the books, which are a face-paced action-adventure historical fiction set in the Middle Ages, but I am also looking forward too to moving onto other things!
Once For a Heart Made of Stone has been edited, I will announce some more information about publication dates.
I am pleased to announce that For a Life Forgotten has now been published and is available in eBook and Print Book formats!
The concluding volume 4 is nearing completion and should be out in the summer.
For a Life Forgotten by Mark Lord
When the cut from the blade runs deep – You need a heart of Stone
The English army commanded by Robert Knolles has reached Paris – the capital and the honour of the French kingdom is under threat. But against the backdrop of war another drama plays out – will Eolande find her father, who was captured by the French? Will Richard seek the redemption he seeks after the terrible killing of his brother, and what will be the fate of the amoral Minsterworth, a captain in the English army, but only interested in his own gain?
Meanwhile secrets about the fate of Eolande’s father will be revealed.
For a Life Forgotten is the third part of the Stonehearted series, a fast-paced medieval adventure story set during the epic Hundred Year War between England and France.
I haven’t managed to post much recently – mostly because I’ve been pretty busy on stuff – which can only be good news right?
As well as editing part 3 of Stonehearted, I am also working on the plot for parts 4 and 5 and how the series will end – it’s exciting stuff and I’m really enjoying deciding what will happen with the characters. For most of the series I’ve just written it from the seat of my pants, but I’ve decided now that I need to tie everything together.
From a gaming/hobby point of view I have been working on a fortress for Hobbit Strategy Battle Game – using the templates from the LOTR rulebook. This is made out of foamboard, and I have pretty much finished the cutting out and sticking together phase. The fortress is going to feature in a mini-campaign about an attack on the Shire and a case of mistaken identity when orcs try to find Bilbo and the ring, but end up going after someone completely different. The fortress is an old Kingdom of Arnor construction that will be the centrepiece of the final battle of the campaign.
The picture above is the WIP so far.
And finally I have dug out some old Warhammer scenarios for the RP and Battle game that I wrote when I was a kid – some of them seem quite good! So I’m going to type them up and post on this site somewhere.
Hopefully will post something most substantive next week – possibly an article on Medieval Football I think.
You can now grab a copy of the short story Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure for free from most major eBook stores.
Chivalry is the first story I wrote featuring the character Jake Savage. Jake goes onto feature as one of the main characters in my novel Hell has its Demons and also in two other short stories: Bring on the Night and The King of Britain’s Head. I have another short story featuring him in the works and more to come.
Just wanted to update you all that I am currently working on putting together a new collection of my short stories. The title will be Through a Distant Mirror Darkly and it will collect all my short fiction set in a Medieval setting. Here’s the blurb and cover:
Not all is as it seems in this collection of dark tales from the Middle Ages.
Mark Lord, the author of By the Sword’s Edge and Hell has its Demons, weaves five Medieval short stories to excite, scare and enthral you. From the vicious struggle of the Hundred Years War, to legends of werewolves and rumours of necromancers and ghosts, to the bitter conflict of a castle under siege, the action and adventure never stop. These five fast-paced short stories will keep you on the edge of your seat and turning every page until you reach the end. In “Stand and Fight” Richard Hope must overcome treachery to defend the castle of Montmal from the French. Jake, an English archer in “Chivalry” must choose between his comrades and the path of honour. In “Bird Talk” a young priest discovers the woman he loves may also be a necromancer. Frederick II, the “Stupor Mundi”, the wonder of the world, is haunted by the ghost of his dead chancellor. And in “Bisclavret” a French noblewoman discovers there is more under the skin of her English husband than she could imagine.
A new research paper, Diaspora and identity in the Viking Age, published in the Early Medieval Europe journal by Lesley Abrams looks into the terminology and evidence for a ‘diaspora’ amongst the Vikings in the early medieval period. There are a number of issues involved:
Is diaspora an appropriate term – is it friendlier than colonialism for instance, and is the use of it by historians intended to present the spread of the Vikings in a particular way.
Are all Scandinavian people Vikings? And if so, is Viking a good term, or should Norse be used?
What nature did the spread of the Vikings take? Was their a consistent approach and did the different communities maintain links with each other?
Lesley Abrams matches the characteristics of the spread of the Vikings against Robin Cohen’s Global Diasporas summarized as follows:
dispersal from an original homeland to two or more foreign regions;
expansion in search of work, in pursuit of trade, or to further colonial ambitions;
a collective memory and myth about the homeland, real or imagined;
an idealization of the homeland and a collective commitment to its thriving;
a movement to return to or at least maintain a connection with the homeland;
a strong ethnic group consciousness, maintained over time;
a troubled relationship with the host society;
a sense of empathy and co-responsibility with co-ethnic members in other countries;
the possibility of an enriched creative life in the host country.
And she concludes that in the end the was a diaspora of sorts:
Broadly speaking, however, we might already be able to speculate that for a period the dispersed Scandinavian communities of the Viking Age acted like a diaspora, retaining, synthesizing, and expressing a sense of collective identity and constructing a common cultural discourse, while new circumstances generated innovations and developments which flowed back and forth between them. ‘Diaspora’, then, is arguably not just a buzzword, nor simply a fashionable synonym, but an exploratory concept that offers a new perspective on the Viking Age. Its adoption should give the overseas settlements a greater cultural profile and a more significant role as agents of change, both in their new environments and back home.
I have been experimenting with some video capture software recently and recorded this brief video of the Battle of Agincourt from Medieval 2 Total War. The game version of the battle is actually pretty accurate.
This is the moment when the French cavalry wings charge the English and are defeated quite easily by the English longbowmen fire! By the way there is not supposed to be any sound!
I am thinking about paying for the full version of the software so I can record longer clips!
I have started a new series of articles about Medieval warfare off in the Medieval (Middle Ages) History and Literature section of the site. It’s a subject which has always fascinated me, and which I think is often misunderstood – we tend to either think of glorious knightly cavalry charges or heroic yeoman archers and maybe that’s it. What I hope to do is get behind some of the myths that circle about war in the Middle Ages.
When a bishop dies the bells ring in heaven according to Matthew Paris. Presumably this was only becayse Robert, Bishop Lincoln was a fairly holy rather than venal example. Indeed this was actually Robert Grosseteste the famous scholastic philosopher and theologian, who criticized the greed of the papacy.
I think it’s interesting that only the friars and priests hear the bells though – the bumpkin foresters don’t! Also it’s interesting that the melodious music is like bells – I guess the link with a place of worship is important here, but is really that the best that heaven could come up with to welcome the bishop?
These are extracts from the Chronica Majora written by Matthew Paris for the year 1253.
Of the music heard in the heavens
During the night in which the said bishop departed to the Lord, Faulkes, bishop of London, heard in the air above, a wonderful and most agreeable kind of sound, the melody of which refreshed his ears and his heart, and fixed his attention for a time. Whilst listening to it (he was at the time staying near Buckdon), he said to some persons standing near him, “Do you, too, hear what I do?” Whereupon they asked him, ” What hear you, my lord ?” The bishop replied : “I hear a supernatural sound, like that of a great convent-bell, ringing a delightful tune in the air above.” They, however, acknowledged, although they listened attentively, that they heard nothing of it, whereupon the bishop said to them: ” By the faith I owe to St. Paul, I believe that our beloved father, brother, and master, the venerable bishop of Lincoln, is passing from this world to take his place in the kingdom of heaven, and this noise I heard is intended as a manifest warning to me thereof, for there is no convent near here in which there is a bell of such a sort and so loud. Let us inquire into the matter immediately.” They therefore did so, and found, as was proved by the statement of his whole household, that at that very time the bishop had departed from this world. This wonderful circumstance, or rather primitive miracle, was told as a fact, and borne evidence to, to the writer of this book, by Master John Cratchale, a confidential clerk to the bishop, one held in great veneration, and of high authority amongst his attendants and friends.
Of the noises of trumpets and bells heard in the sky.
On the same night, too, some brethren of the order of Minorites were hurrying towards Buckdon, where Robert, bishop of Lincoln, was staying (for he was a comforter and a father to the Preachers and Minorites), and in passing through the royal forest of Vauberge, being ignorant of its windings, lost their road, and whilst wandering about they heard in the air sounds as of the ringing of bells, amongst which they clearly distinguished one bell of a most sweet tune, unlike anything they had ever heard before. This circumstance greatly excited their wonder, for they knew that there was no church of note near. When morning’s dawn appeared, after wandering about to no purpose, they met some foresters, of whom, after obtaining directions to regain their right road, they inquired what meant the grand and solemn ringing of bells which they had heard in the direction of Buckdon to which the foresters replied, that they had not heard and did not then hear anything, though the sound still gently filled the air. The brethren, therefore, in still greater wonder went on, and reached Buckdon betimes, where they were informed that at the very time of the night when they had heard the aforesaid melodious sounds, Robert, bishop of Lincoln, breathed forth his happy spirit.