Was there a ‘real’ Arthur?

Was Arthur a real historical figure? Many believe that buried beneath the legend is a real sixth century leader of Briton resistance to the settlement of Anglo-Saxons.

Tim Walker’s compelling book series, A Light in the Dark Ages, reaches its climax with his telling of Arthur’s story, based on historical evidence of an early sixth century warlord who unites Briton tribes in opposition to Anglo-Saxon colonisation.

The legend of Arthur grew in the years after his death, becoming grander and more exaggerated with each telling. By the ninth century, monk Nennius attributed 12 winning battles to Arthur in his ‘History of the Britons’.

In the Middle Ages, the legend was further embellished with the addition of Christian virtue, the search for the Holy Grail, knights in shining armour, a round table, Camelot, and a love triangle involving Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot.

Arthur Rex Brittonum, Tim Walker’s new telling of Arthur’s story, launched on 1st June 2020. The paperback edition can be ordered here:
http://mybook.to/ArthurRexPaperback

order the ebook of Arthur’s story here:
http://mybook.to/ArthurRex

Tim Walker Introduces PERVERSE – a collection of short prose and verse

Re-blogging Linda’s Book Blog – featuring my new book, Perverse…

Linda's Book Bag

Perverse cover2

Approximately once a year Tim Walker hops onto Linda’s Book Bag and I’m delighted to welcome him back today with a slightly different post, introducing PERVERSE – a collection of short prose and verse, his brand new collection of short stories and poems, and sharing a poem with us.

Lat time Tim was here we were sharing an extract from Arthur Dux Bellorum. Tim has introduced his book Uther’s Destiny in a post you can see here, as well as  previously writing a fabulous guest post about fiction and fear when the second book in his A Light in the Dark Ages series, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, was published, and you can read that post here.

Tim will be back on 1st June so don’t forget to pop back then.

PERVERSE – a collection of short prose and verse is available in ebook and paperback

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The Third Dai and Julia Omnibus is out Today!

This is a great book series…

Working Title Blogspot

‘Dying to be Born’ is one of the exclusive bonus short stories The Third Dai and Julia Omnibus by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook which is out now!

The Insulae Nero was in the poorer end of Viriconium. One of a number of squat blocks with an external staircase leading to each floor’s front balcony. In some attempt to create an impression of a pleasant environment, the blocks were set out in quadrangles around what might have once been central gardens, but which now had the odd broken piece of playground equipment and banks of overgrown weeds with litter blowing through like tumbleweed.
Had this been in Londinium, Dai would have regarded it as decent enough non-Citizen accommodation. Indeed both himself and Bryn had lived in insulae not so very different from these in their time there. But here in Viriconium, it was anything but. They had parked up on…

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A Gripping Re-Imagining of the Arthurian Legend

Arthur Dux Bellorum is the first part of Tim Walker’s two-part imagining of the story of Britain’s greatest legendary figure – King Arthur.

There are enough mentions of King Arthur, a sixth century leader of Briton resistance to Saxon colonisation, to allow for the enticing possibility that a real historical figure underpins the man of legend.

Tim Walker’s carefully constructed narrative is influenced by evidence from early writers of the listing of the battles of Arthur, and speculation from historians as to where these battles may have taken place.

Here’s a recent reader review of Arthur Dux Bellorum that summarises and captures the tension and intrigue of the novel…

“Arthur Dux Bellorum, is book number four in the, ‘ A Light in the Dark Ages’ series but can be read as a standalone story. Tim Walker gives the old Arthurian legends a fresh look and by, “combining myth, history and gripping battle scenes”, writes a thrilling novel full of adventure.
The story is based in fifth century Britain, in the ruins of post Roman rule, and focuses on a warrior emerging to unite the troubled land, dealing with tribal infighting and invaders.
At the beginning of the book King Uther is dead and his daughter Morgana has taken the crown for her baby son Mordred, whilst Merlyn presents Arthur as the true king as Uther’s son. This leads to teenager Arthur being taken to prison but with the help of friends manages to escape. Arthur has to deal with his pursuers, Saxon invaders and a harsh and unforgiving landscape but quickly gains a reputation as a fearsome warrior and gains the skills needed as a ‘dux bellorum’, a lord of war.
This is a fast paced story, well written and it gives a new look at the Arthur legends. I read it as a standalone novel happily.”

JennyG

Buy the ebook or paperback here:-

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Is Science Killing our Legends?

Reflections on Legends by Tim Walker

I recently appeared via Skype (taking the place of Mary Anne Yarde who was unable to take part) on a Sky UK Television studio panel discussion (YouTube link below). The programme was appropriately called ‘Round Table’, and this edition was concerned with discussing the relevance of legends in contemporary times, given that scientists are now claiming to have disproved the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Has science killed Nessie? …And, by extension, can it kill off our favourite legends?

One of the points I was keen to make was that the dictionary definition of ‘legend’ – a traditional story or myth; traditional literature; famous person or event; stories about such a person or event; inscriptions – understates the concept. A legend is a story whose origins are lost in the hazy mists of time, and therefore cannot be conclusively proved or disproved. They endure because their themes are re-interpreted by each age through re-tellings that reflect the values, fears and hopes of that age, and their appeal is partly held by the element of the unknown that add an air of mystery.

English Heritage Magazine Cover_LegendsIn reading about the origins of the King Arthur story, I became fascinated by the blurred boundary between historical fact and storytelling. The oral tradition of remembering great heroes and their deeds, who often protected a fearful community from an external threat, delivered through bardic praise poems, songs and dramatic performance, often has a root in factual events and real people. But by their nature, the feats of the hero are exaggerated and he is ‘bigged-up’ to make for a more engaging story. The bard, after all, was singing for his supper. The feats of an heroic warrior is a recurring theme in many of our favourite legends including Beowulf – the earliest epic poem in the English language; George and the Dragon and Robin Hood.

George and the Dragon is a meshing together of two stories – that of an early Christian martyr and a British folk tale about a brave warrior called Gaarge who is hired by a village to save it from ‘a giant worm’. The story of Arthur was cobbled together by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the twelfth century from mentions of a heroic resistance leader in the fifth and sixth centuries in earlier Welsh chronicles and folk tales, although it is accepted by historians that he piled onto Arthur’s shoulders the deeds of other unnamed heroic figures in a political gambit to create a super-warrior who opposed the Saxons, and thus please his Norman readership.

However, there are echoes of a real Arthur in the writings of a monk called Nennius, accredited with writing The History of the British People in the ninth century, who talks of the twelve battles of Arthur, and describes Arthur as leading the combined armies of the Kings of the Britons against Saxon invaders, naming his opponent as Octha, the son of Hengist (deemed to be a real historical figures) as the King of Kent. Although Arthur, Britain’s first superhero, has a toe-hold in history, the legendary figure was deliberately created by Geoffrey to flatter his Norman lord and sponsor, goading the defeated Saxons with the tale of a noble king who lead the Britons in resistance to the coming of the Anglo-Saxons. In contrast, the dispossessed Saxons built up their own legendary folk hero in Robin Hood, who protected the common people from the tyranny of a Norman lord. There are grains of truth in the half-remembered stories that underpin these legends, kept alive by reflecting the values, fears and hopes of each generation, for whom the stories are slightly customised.

Legends persist because they are part of the fabric of our cultural identity, our sense of who we are. Witness a basic, sixth century warlord Arthur, seized upon by later generations who embellished him with Middle Ages chivalric and Christian virtue, presenting him as a just and devout ruler who kept the peace and protected the people from external (often pagan) threats. These are similar attributes now given to superheroes that have captured the public imagination in our contemporary popular culture. They are recurring themes in human society – the need for justice, order, peace and protection. Arthur, Beowulf, Saint George and Robin Hood provide these reassurances, and that is why they are enduring legends in British culture.

I’ve no doubt that Nessie will survive the glare of science and endure in popular memory and belief, despite scientists declaring that the only non-fish DNA found in the loch is that of eels. So, why not a giant eel? After all, the pre-runner of dragons in early folk lore are ‘giant worms’.

Tim Walker

A Light New Banner x 4 books

Tim Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages book series starts with…
Abandoned
Kindle/Paperback
i-books/Kobo/other
Ambrosius: Last of the Romans
Kindle/Paperback
i-books/Kobo/other
Uther’s Destiny
Kindle/Paperback
i-books/Kobo/other
Arthur Dux Bellorum
Kindle/Paperback
i-books/Kobo/other

YouTube Link to TV Show

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Tim Walker – Author Interview

Thanks to Colin Garrow for this interview…

Colin Garrow

Historical author Tim Walker likes his fiction to be set in Roman Britain, so where did his interest in times long past come from?

Coming from a career that includes journalism, mineral exploration and rugby, how did you end up writing historical novels?

I developed a love for history and literature at school, and my first job after school was trainee reporter for a local newspaper, The Woolton Mercury, in South Liverpool. I jumped at the chance to research and serialise the history of a Grade One listed building in the area, Woolton Hall, and spend many hours in Liverpool libraries doing the research in the days before the internet. I went on to have a career in the back rooms of news publications – marketing, sales, editing, management – and went to Zambia to do voluntary work in educational books development, before ‘living the dream’ and starting my…

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