Helen Hollick is the author of The Kingmaking which will be released on March 1st by Sourcebooks Landmark. Today, her blog tour stops here at Medieval Bookworm. I’ll have my review of this book up a bit later, but you should know that I really enjoyed it! For this guest post, however, I asked:
How do you see yourself following in the Arthurian tradition with this trilogy? What are you adding? What are you making better?
So, please welcome Helen!
I do not, in fact, follow the Arthurian tradition – not the Medieval tales of Knights in Armour, that is.
I had never liked the traditional Arthurian stories. I could not accept that the King Arthur of those Medieval tales was such a poor King. He fought long and hard to become King, managed to obtain a beautiful wife – and then promptly disappeared in search of the Holy Grail, abandoning his Kingdom and his wife. Surely he would have foreseen the Lancelot/Guinevere affair. I’m afraid I also had no time for Lancelot or those other too-good-to-be-true knights – none of it seemed real history.
I wanted to write what might have really happened.
The familiar stories of the Round Table, Holy Grail and Knights in Armour are all Medieval tales told in the 12th Century. If there was a real Arthur he would have lived circa 450 -550 A.D., – the Dark Ages, at the time of the departure of the Romans, when there was a power vacuum for supremacy and Britain was being settled by the Anglo Saxons – who thus created ‘England’.
I wanted to write my version without the myth, magic or fantasy. There are no knights in armour in my story, no Lancelot or Galahad. There is no magic, no Merlin, no magical sword or ethereal Lady of the Lake.
Instead, there is the passion of a man who fought hard to gain his Kingdom – and who had to fight even harder to keep it. A man who found the woman he loved, but who had a hard job keeping her as well, for passionate people live passionate, highly emotional lives, where ‘true love’ never runs smoothly.
I researched the early Welsh legends of Arthur – and I discovered a very different version of events that turned out to be far more emotionally exciting and entertaining than the tales we are familiar with – for the very reason that possibly, what was told in those early tales, really did happen!
When I first started investigating those early legends they thrilled me. The Arthur of these early tales was so different to the Knight in Armour one. He was far more “earthy” – a rogue, a rebel. Nor was he the chivalric Christian King of the later stories. This Arthur was a war lord who put his Kingdom and his men first (and yes, himself) as it would have been in the Dark Ages when the Christian Church was still newly emerging and Paganism was very much to the fore.
This Arthur also had several sons – but I’ll not tell you any more detail for it might spoil the books!
For an excerpt go to www.helenhollick.net and click on the book covers.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Helen, and for answering my impertinent question!
You can also check out and preorder The Kingmaking on Amazon. Please come back later for my review as we continue the blog tour for this new and exciting book!