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#HistFicThursdays - Clement: The Templar's Treasure - Craig R. Hipkins - Guest Post

It's #HistFicThursdays again, and this week I'm thrilled to be sharing a guest post from Craig R. Hipkins ,   as part of his  Coffee Pot Book Club  tour. Find out what research drew him into the world of Clement and Dagena, Viking exploration, and linguistic adventures... Blurb Clement & Dagena return for another action packed adventure. From the cold and dreary shores of Greenland to the fabled land of Vinland. The legendary treasure of the Knights Templar awaits. Clement: The Templar's Treasure  is available via this Universal Link Guest Post Clement: The Templar’s Treasure is set in the middle of the 12th century. This was at the height of the age of chivalry when the troubadours sang their poetry and martial tournaments were the rage over all Europe. Although the first book in the Clement series concentrated on historical elements related to the continent, the second and third installments took Clement far away from the kingdoms of Europe. However, chivalry, a commo

#HistFicThursdays - Horrible Histories 5 - Owain Glyndŵr

 I absolutely love this song! I don't know whether it is that I know more Tom Jones and Welsh songs which the Owain Glyndŵr song calls on, or whether it is just more my sort of music, or that - which I think is another consideration - this is about a historical figure who drifts into the realms of legend.

At the moment, I am rereading my family saga and I came across this line:

That man will be a legend until the day he dies, and an inspiration beyond.

When I decided to write today's blog on Owain Glyndŵr, this quote fitted rather well. The man being discussed in the book was not a real figure from history but - after sharing more than 400,000 words with him during the course of my family saga - it certainly feels like I know him better than any of his real-life contemporaries!

When I was researching Owain Glyndŵr for this blog, I was surprised to find just how long his reign lasted. I had assumed it was almost a flash-in-the-pan uprising, similar to those we had in Scotland several years later, but Glyndŵr managed to hold the English at bay for several years. From the beginning of his campaign to his supposed death, he managed 15 years without succumbing to his enemy and - also in great contrast to many of the Scottish heroes - he was never betrayed.

But the thing which grabs me the most is Glyndŵr's ending. Most notably that it does not end. As a historical fiction writer, lives which are filled with heroics are like gold. But those which feature mystery are priceless. Drifting into the realms of legend and myths, Glyndŵr was clearly a man who inspired others, and remains one of those semi-ethereal individuals whose return people await, like the highly disputed and romanticised King Arthur. I had something a little bit similar when I began writing The Year We Lived: I knew exactly how the story would end (but there's a massive spoiler right on the very last line, so I'm not sharing it here!). The interweaving of myths and legends as well as dollops of superstition - which were commonplace at that time - was so intricate in the formation of that web: the white hart; the birdlore; the changeling. But people believed it so entirely. I can't help but wonder whether our heroes today, in their fleeting faddy nature, can compare to those of the past.

Heroes are an integral part of history, and are certainly a crucial part of the way I write historical fiction. But heroes are not necessarily warriors, or men of arms. In fact, they are not necessarily men at all! For the first time in almost five years(!), I have just reread Day's Dying Glory and there is a line in there which goes like this...

Imogen looked up at her mother once more and ignored the rest of the conversation. What would she have made of such a fuss over a hero? Undoubtedly she would have declared that the man was a hero because there was no one else to fill the position of a leader, and she and Major Tenterchilt would debate the importance of heroes to the common people.

Owain Glyndŵr is a hero in every sense of the word - filling a position which was needed at the time, and a leader to those around him. He sought to establish a rule which put his people not ahead of the English, but on an equal footing with them, able to decide their own laws and govern themselves. But a hero needs to be more than their actions: they have to be an inspiration. What greater test of inspiration can you get than someone who - hundreds of years on - people are still superstitiously believing will come to their aid?

And his inspiration is not linked to times and places. We see Glyndŵr appearing as a heroic character in Shakespeare's work as well as - and this is one of my favourites! - William Blake's incredible Visionary Heads. Over the years, Britain absorbed Owain Glyndŵr as their own hero, even going so far as to name military ships after him. The cynic in me believes this was a hope to extinguish a uniquely Welsh aspect to the man, but Glyndŵr's name remains synonymous with Welsh culture and nationalism.

There are few other characters from history who measure up to the heights which Glyndŵr reached. He remains an enigmatic figure and a dream come true to the realms of historical fiction. But then why leave it there?

Y Mab Darogan is The Foretold Son. Perhaps his return is on the horizon...


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