Fantasy, mystery, thrillers, horror, historical. . .I write it all, and review it too!

May 20, 2013

Medieval Mondays: The Curious Weapons of Henry VIII

Henry VIII ruled England from 1509 to 1547 and was famous for overfondness for eating and bumping off wives. It's often forgotten that he was a capable military leader who turned the British navy into something that would be respected the world over for the next 500 years.

As a man of military interests, he collected a large variety of weapons and armor. Many of them are now in the Royal Armouries, including these two strange weapons.

The first is a what's called a Holy Water Sprinkler, basically a heavy spiked club. This one has an extra feature, though. Included in the head are three short pistols. You can see the touch hole for one of them in this photo.
Another example is this metal buckler with a pistol. Firearms were just coming into their own at this time, developing from the medieval handgonne to superior matchlock and wheellock weapons. The shield is richly engraved and like the Holy Water Sprinkler doesn't appear to ever have been used. In fact, there's no record of these combination weapons ever being issued to troops. They do look cool, though, and are tempting to add to a story sometime!

May 14, 2013

A new historical fantasy novel

Historical fantasy author Sean McLachlan has come out with his latest novel. Called The Quintessence of Absence, it's out now on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. The blurb goes:

Can a drug-addicted sorcerer sober up long enough to save a kidnapped girl and his own Duchy?

In an alternate 18th century Germany where magic is real and paganism never died, Lothar is in the bonds of nepenthe, a powerful drug that gives him ecstatic visions. It has also taken his job, his friends, and his self-respect. Now his old employer has rehired Lothar to find the man's daughter, who is in the grip of her own addiction to nepenthe.

As Lothar digs deeper into the girl's disappearance, he uncovers a plot that threatens the entire Duchy of Anhalt, and finds the only way to stop it is to face his own weakness.

Congratulations, Sean!

May 13, 2013

Medieval Mondays: St Catherine: the saint saved from the wheels

Hello again! As I mentioned before, I've been busy writing The Maze of Mist, my fantasy novel set in the same world as Roots Run Deep. Now that that's in edits, I can get back to blogging.

This fine alabaster carving from London's Victoria & Albert Museum was made in England in the 15th century. It shows angels releasing St Catherine from certain death on the spiked wheel, a particularly nasty form of medieval execution. According to legend the wheel shattered and the flying pieces killed her executioners and the people who had gathered around to watch.

Of course she ends up martyred when another group of executions behead her. This is a common element in saints' stories. The evildoers are punished, but since it's God's will that the saint be martyred, the saint eventually gets killed.

Small alabaster plaques like these were common in churches and private homes during this period. What's unusual with this image is that St. Catherine is shown half naked.

May 3, 2013

I finished my latest book!

Time to celebrate! This morning I finished The Maze of Mist, a sequel to my fantasy novel Roots Run Deep. The action takes place twenty years later and follows the adventures of Metis Itxaron, son of the human King Roderick and goblin Queen Kip. This sequel is a standalone novel and you don't have to read the first book to understand the second. I like loosely knit series like that.

Since I've been revising as I've been going along, this one is just about ready to send off. In the meantime, I'm dancing like the peasants painted by Pieter Bruegel the Younger!

And now that I'm done, I can get back to Medieval Mondays. Stay tuned!