Today is publication day for the Kindle version of Tim and Cathy Walker’s latest collaboration, Charly in Space, so I have been asked to read and review it. About the Book Schoolgirl Charly Holmes has an out-of-this-world experience! Charly in Space is an adventure story for young readers involving British schoolgirl, Charlotte Holmes (called ‘Charly’ by […]#BookReview Charly in Space by Tim and Cathy Walker @timwalker1666 #PublicationDay
A Light in the Dark Ages is a book series conceived and written by British author, Tim Walker. It began in 2015 as a reflection on a question that popped into his head on a visit to the site of a Roman town (Calleva Atrebatum/Silchester) – how would the Briton tribes have reacted to the end of nearly 400 years of Roman occupation?
The first book, Abandoned, was published as a short novella in 2015, but was extensively re-written an re-launched as a novel in 2018. The narrative is loosely based on Geoffrey of Monmouth’s description of the politics of post-Roman Britain in his 1136 work, The History of the Kings of Britain, but supplemented by scraps of researched historical opinion.
Picture shows the author at the Roman wall remains at Silchester.
Although widely dismissed by historians as at best, wildly inaccurate, and worst, a work of fiction, Geoffrey has been credited with accumulating and working from source material, including a mysterious ‘text in a native tongue’ that remains undiscovered by historians. More recently his work has been re-evaluated with attempts made to try to understand why he moved historical figures and events around in his timeline in a sort of Middle Ages cut-and-paste job. Historian Miles Russell offers an interesting attempt at ‘decoding’ Geoffrey’s work in his Arthur and the Kings of Britain (2019).
Certainly the figure of Arthur, plucked from early Welsh folktales and mentions by church clerics such as Nennius in his work, History of the Britons (820), has been embellished with the deeds of other heroic leaders to create Britain’s first superhero. The deliberate creation of an heroic Briton leader who defeated the hated Saxons in battle is thought to have been done to please his Norman readership and sponsor. So there is a backbone of researched historical facts (and earlier mythology) in Geoffrey’s work, although it fails as a history due to the creative embellishments and the switching around of events and people to plug gaps in his timeline – and, presumably, to make his book a more enjoyable read.
Abandoned is followed by Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017). Both high kings Vortigern and Ambrosius Aurelianus are believed to be genuine historical figures in mid-fifth century Britain, due to mentions from a range of sources. This book charts the intense rivalry between these two figures that ultimately resulted in defeat and death for Vortigern, and victory and renewed hope for the Britons with Ambrosius.
Ambrosius is followed by Uther’s Destiny (2018), a story that is also based around Geoffrey’s tale of Uther, Merlin and the birth of Arthur. Uther’s name, ‘Pendragon’ is a title that literally means ‘The Head Dragon’. This may have been the title given to kings of Gwynedd in North Wales, some historians believe, hinting at a possible base for a historical ‘Uther’. But no early king of Gwynedd has this name, leaving historians with another puzzle to solve.
Arthur Dux Bellorum (2019) is the fourth book in the series. This covers the early life of Arthur, from late teens to late twenties. The idea for the plot came from an article historian David Ford Nash, who wrote an article on his best-guess for the locations of Nennius’s twelve battles of Arthur. He believes that Arthur first three battles may have been fought in Lincolnshire, in East England.
Other battles could have take place around York and further north in Northumberland and the Central Lowlands of Scotland, including Cambuslang – now a suburb of Glasgow. So, my young Arthur travels north from Winchester, though Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to Northumberland and Hadrian’s Wall, where he is based at the old Roman fortress of Vindolanda. From here, he leads his men into battles north of the wall, in the Caledonian Forest of Celidon and further north at Cambuslang. Distance wise, the journey from Winchester to Hadrian’s Wall is less than 300 miles, so perfectly achievable over a number of weeks on horseback using Roman roads.
This book is followed by Arthur Rex Brittonum (2020), covering the remainder of Arthur’s life – from thirty to his late forties. Again, following Nash Ford’s speculation on the possible locations of Arthur’s battles, he leaves the north and travels to the Welsh borders and, finally, to the West Country. The author has opted to locate Mount Badon near Bath, and Camlann at Avalon in Somerset in the West Country.
This series is fiction, loosely based on scraps of historical evidence, and the author remains fascinated by this ‘black hole’ in British history. What really happened in the 200 years between the end of Roman rule and the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms? Perhaps one day historians and archaeologists will find the missing pieces in our historical jigsaw puzzle.
Order the book series HERE
A story of an imagined, historical Arthur, freed of the glitz and glamour of the Camelot legend.
No round table – instead Arthur hosts his councils of tribal chiefs in ‘Arthur’s Roundel’, the Roman ampitheatre at Caerleon.
No Holy Grail – instead the pre-Christian search for the Treasures of Britain, and an encounter with the ‘talking’ Head of Bran.
Arthur is accompanied by Welsh folklore (pre-Medieval) knights, Bedwyr, Kay, Lucan and the sons of Gawain – Agravane, Mador, and Gaheris, who all belong to the earliest incarnations of the Arthurian legend.
Arthur’s peers are ‘real’ historical tribal kings and chiefs of the late 5th/early 6th centuries, including, Meirchion Gul; Owain Ddantgwyn; Cadwallon; Geraint; Vortipor; Cyngar and Caradog.
Arthur’s enemies are names plucked from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – Cerdic; Octha (son of Hengist); Icel King of the Angles, and, for a bit of fun, Beowulf, the legendary Angle warrior and slayer of monsters.
Father (later Saint) Asaph is Arthur’s chaplain, and literary monk, Gildas, appears as a dour novice.
To mark the launch of Arthur Rex Brittonum on 1st June, its two preceding books covering Arthur’s childhood (Uther’s Destiny) and youth (Arthur Dux Bellorum), have been discounted to just 99c/99p each this week!So indulge yourself with three novels covering the imagined life of Arthur for less than $5 or £4…
Uther’s Destiny: http://mybook.to/Uther
Arthur Dux Bellorum: http://mybook.to/Arthur
Arthur Rex Brittonum: http://mybook.to/ArthurRex
Available in #kindle #ibooks #kobo #nook #scribd #tolino #biblioteca #hoopla #vivlio #overdrive #bakerandtaylor #barnesandnoble
So, I’m now touting myself as an indie author. The world is my lobster. I can write at my leisure, agonise, review, and get a second opinion from a copyeditor. I juggle my writing windows around essential life maintenance, medical appointments, and when I feel the vibe. Blogging, research, planning and writing together form a pleasurable, solitary home-based activity that suits me just fine at this stage of my life.
Amazon kindle is a gateway to low-cost independent self-publishing, and suits a whole raft of ‘amateur’ writers who are unwilling or unable to make a commitment of time and money to pursue the Holy Grail of a publishing contract. Why bother? You can put your work out there and let the World come to you. To date, about 100,000 authors have done so, and there are approximately 2 million titles in the English language floating around in cyber space.
Sales of my first e-book, Thames Valley Tales, have been flat-lining following the initial surge of downloads from family, friends and fellow writers. I don’t like the idea of giving my work away for free. It has a value – my time, thoughts, experiences and creative ability. That’s worth at least £1.99 of anyone’s money. I’m also finding out that most of my publicity efforts have been met with a wall of indifference. Most people don’t read books. Of those that do, only a small number have become e-book readers. Casual readers can find plenty of free e-books to download and read, and may even stumble on something that will engage them. This wall of low-level interest or just plain indifference can drive any writer insane.
Readers are heavily courted by e-book sellers who try to bully authors into discounting their titles in FREE promotions. A loss-leader with a high number of reads can help an author build up a following, the marketing guys tell you. Well, maybe, but it’s still a scam to sucker authors into giving their work away for free. It de-values the effort that has gone into it, and becomes a product of the internet’s insatiable appetite for free and cheap offers that are aimed at getting more visits to websites, in the hope that other products can be sold to the unsuspecting browser. Amazon are experts at this. We have been unwittingly sucked into this world of free online information and cheap cyber deals, a kind of sweat shop for star-struck authors.
My efforts to direct people to my e-book through social media – Twitter, WordPress and Face Book in my case – are like a mouse squeaking in the Albert Hall, a weedy noise lost amidst all the incessant chatter and sales pitches. Everyone’s talking and no one’s listening. So, why bother?
Well, to answer my own question, I bother because I’ve got something to say, whether anyone wants to hear it or not! I’m alive and kicking, and have amassed some interesting and varied life experience. I am participating in a number of ‘live’ social experiments, including the National Health Service, the Multicultural Society, Western consumerism, being a remote single parent and supporting a struggling football team (it’s the hope that kills you!); all of which provide me with a series of different coloured prisms through which to gaze on our insane world defined by the extremes of capitalist greed and crushing poverty.
I’m not discouraged and working on my next book… This mouse is still squeaking.