Book Title: King’s Warrior
Series: The Owerd Chronicles, Book #3
Author: James Gault
Publication Date: 18 July 2023
Page Length: 294 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
In 11th Century England, King William has achieved almost total domination of the Englisc and turns his attention to Scotland. Owerd, possibly the last of the Britons to be deemed ‘lord’, faces powerful enemies from all quarters. He seems to hold the king’s favour by a thread, which only serves to encourage others to try and bring him down.
Treachery abounds as he tries to juggle multiple roles and prove himself and his men worthy warriors for the Norman king. But will his lust for a woman finally prove his undoing?
“King’s Warrior” is the third in a series about Owerd, a decent but unsophisticated 11th century Briton who has struggled out of poverty by dint of courage and good fortune (“wyrd” if you will). The series came about by accident, initially intended as a single volume to bring Charles Kingsley’s classic novel “Hereward the Wake” into a more digestible form for the contemporary reader. That attempt proved impossible – one cannot, I found, tinker with a classic, however challenging its rather antiquated prose. Hence a new character set in the same period of a land beset by inequity, strife and a Norman invasion. In this book Owerd, having already established his credentials as a loyal subject and “Sea Lord” returns to the role he fills best, that of warrior.
I now invite you, dear reader, to contemplate the dilemmas facing a writer when addressing issues of sex and violence, especially in historical fiction. In the time and place when “King’s Warrior” is set, the land was a violent place – riven by invasion, rebellion and near-anarchic conditions where might was right. It is inevitable that any realistic portrayal of the characters in the relevant story includes exposure to and participation in very violent events. Similarly, the men and women of the time had the same desires and passions as they do today. Sex is and was inevitable – it is what keeps the planet populated. A variation from todays’ world, though, is how universally indifferent society then seems to have been to the place of women. Basically, women were ignored, or at best tolerated simply for their necessary reproductive functions.
The two issues, in my view, demand careful balancing act between realism and undue detail. There is far too much blood and gore depicted in daily news to be over-exposed to readers again in what is intended to be a piece of escapist literature. Equally, realism demands that such violence and bloodshed need be depicted. The same applies to depictions of sex. Only the most prudish of readers would happily ignore its omission from a tale of the daily life of the characters being described. My own approach has been to minimise lurid detail unless it is essential to the picture being painted and avoid what I would call gross excess. Equally in sexual encounters, my characters spend much time in their bed-chamber but without the depictions extending anywhere near erotica.
Professional publishers would advise writers to “pick their audience”. That leads me to a question of reading age. The UN defines a “child” as a person under 18 years and I would be quite happy for my 17YO grandson to read “King’s Warrior” (he might learn a few new words). So, is it a children’s book? Well, no! Does one then describe it as “adult”, which in our modern world has connotations verging on the pornographic? Again, no! I would suggest, dear reader, that “King’s Warrior” might fit into that murky description of “PG” (Parental Guidance).
This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4A27gp
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0CC5VH6BM
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CC5VH6BM
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0CC5VH6BM
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0CC5VH6BM
James is a semi-retired Naval Captain with an abiding interest in storytelling and history. He has written a few contemporary fiction stories and a history text but lately has concentrated on historical fiction. He lives in a small coastal town in SE Australia – which provides quite a challenge when addressing medieval England with the aid of an old school atlas.