Very excited to let you all know that The Northumbrian Saga will soon be available in paperback form through Amazon.com I really wanted this to have been finished last November in time for the 1150th Anniversary of the first recorded … Continue reading
Special updated edition of The Northumbrian Saga marking 1150 years since the first recorded Viking attack on York in 866 is now available for download on Amazon and Smashwords. Save
Seasons Greetings! Here’s to the end of 2014 and an even better 2015! Continue reading
As part of my plans of outlining aspects of early medieval life I was going to write a post on Trade. In The Northumbrian Saga, Leodgar and Aethelwin are both traders of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria and with the invasion of the Vikings comes a whole new orbit of trade and trade partners, including Thorstein. As usual I ended up with more information than I knew what to do with and when I re-read my notes that I had made from the amazing Regia Anglorum site, I realised that I would be saying pretty much the same thing. So instead of plagiarising and copying word for word what has already been written, I have added a short extract with a link for further information. It really is a great site so check it out.
In the early middle ages, as in other periods of history, trade was an important part of life. If a farmer had a surplus of livestock or produce, he would take it to the nearest market and exchange it for any one of the many things that would be needed around the farm: iron, salt, lead, hone and building stone, wine, fish, flax, antler, etc.. Common sense shows us that many commodities were unavailable on the ‘average’ estate, whether it was in Britain, Ireland or Scandinavia. Some of these things could only be found in a few areas. A class of professionals soon appeared who would carry these commodities from their place of origin to the markets – the merchants.
Some of the commodities traded in the early middle ages did not have to travel far, for example fish. Most had to make a longer journey, such as the iron mined in Kent and the Forest of Dean, the lead mined in Bristol, or the salt obtained from pans in Droitwich and Cheshire. More ‘exotic’ items came from overseas, including quern-stones from the Rhineland that have been found in York…
For more of this article, go here.
This week I am involved in another blog tour, this time looking at the main character of my novel. I was invited to join by Edoardo Albert, author of many fiction and non-fiction books including “Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom” which … Continue reading
Even though Bamburgh is only ever mentioned or hinted at in the background of The Northumbrian Saga, it is an important part of the storyline and integral to the history of Northumbria. It is the seat of power for the King of Northumbria, Aethelwin’s uncle, and later becomes the seat of resistance against the Vikings for her brother Wulfstan and the remnants of the Northumbrian survivors. In the sequel that will hopefully be finished by the end of the year, Bamburgh will play a larger role, with even a few scenes centred within the hall there. With this in mind I wanted to share a bit of what I have learnt through researching this centre of medieval power. The more I researched, the more I realised just how important and often overlooked it has been.
Today, visitors to Bamburgh castle are confronted by a large Norman style castle perched atop a distinctive rock of dolerite that overlooks the Northumberland coast. It is a grade 1 listed building popular with tourists and boasting its own museum. Despite its Norman and late medieval appearance, the site is quite ancient. Since at least the first century BC there is evidence for continued habitation at the site until very recently. In fact the surrounding countryside holds evidence for human habitation for 6000 years. Continue reading
Since finishing the edits for The Northumbrian Saga, I have thrown myself into writing the sequel (which I am still calling TNS2 at the moment). It’s strange being at this stage of the writing process again. The setting is still … Continue reading
Just a quick message to let you all know that The Northumbrian Saga is now available for 99c on Amazon for all of December. An early Christmas present for those who may have been a little undecided on whether to buy it or not.
A H Gray
A lot of what we know about the history of the Dark Ages comes from written documents of the time such as land grants, wills, sagas, chronicles and annals either written during the period under study or soon after. For the information i need when writing historical fiction and blog posts i try and use these documents as much as other books and websites and i thought it would be a good idea to share some of these so that when i mention that we know so and so through the writings of such and such, you will know what i am talking about and hopefully understand a little bit about how we know so much about this time period, or more accurately so little. Continue reading