Three weeks to go until the 'start'...I still have quite a few details to nail down, but some of these I will not anchor probably until I'm a little way into the book. I find that I don't fully get into the heads of my characters until I'm a few chapters in, until I've said their words for a while. So, for the next week/ten days, I'll be pushing full speed ahead with a concentrated spurt of reading. Which means that this blog is going to be largely dedicated to reviews for that time...
I just finished Marc Morris' Norman Conquest. And by just finished, I mean that it arrived yesterday morning and I was falling asleep last night as I turned the final page. It proved to be just that sort of book. I had some previous with Mr. Morris' work; I read his biography of Edward I, 'A Great and Terrible King' a few months ago, and I had been eagerly anticipating this work – I was not disappointed.
By about a hundred pages in I was totally hooked; I must confess that it did feel as if it dragged a little in the earlier stages, but once Duke William was up to full speed the book followed along. I can thoroughly recommend this not just to anyone interested in the period, but also more generally to those planning on writing fantasy fiction; for it provides an excellent feel for political intrigue, really bringing it to life.
And hey, this line, “England was one of their principal hunting grounds, so individuals abducted from the coasts of Devon, Wales or Northumbria might eventually find themselves labouring under a desert sun to construct a caliph's palace, or members of a sultan's harem.”
Yes, at some point I'm going to write that book. Yes, I was tempted for about ten minutes to write that book now.