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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Historical background for The Breaking Dawn

The Breaking Dawn is slowly inching further towards publication. The bulk of the editing has been completed and now we're on to polishing and perfecting the novel!

For this story, I've decided to insert some 'Historical Background' notes at the start, in order to give readers an idea of the cultural and political context of the time. 

Something that readers have asked me, is when exactly was the 'Anglo-Saxon' period? Not only that, but what made it different to the rest of the Middle Ages?

In the 7th Century, England was not as we know it today 

The British Isles were named Britannia (a legacy of the Roman colonization) and split into rival kingdoms: the Kingdom of the East Angles, Mercia, Northumbria, Kent and the East, and West Saxons - as well as the Celtic Kingdoms of Powys (Wales) and Wessex.

The Anglo-Saxon period lasted from the departure of the Romans, in around 430 A.D., to the Norman invasion in 1066 A.D.

However, I've focused on just a small window within the period.

I'm particularly fascinated by the period between the departure of the Romans and the first Viking invasion in 793 A.D – a 300 year period in which Anglo-Saxon culture flourished. So far, I've only set my novels in the 7th Century - from 600-700 A.D.

Why the 7th Century?

These were exciting times. The Kingdom of the East Angles was dominant at the beginning of this century, but gradually diminished under the power of Mercia. The 7th Century saw Christianity make inroads into the British Isles. Famous kings: Raedwald, Penda and Offa ruled during these years, leaving a lasting influence.

The Breaking Dawn is set in 641 A.D., at the height of King Penda of Mercia's reign. It is the year of the Battle of Maserfield (Maes Cogwy in Welsh). In the summer of this year, Powys (Wales) and Mercia united against, and defeated, the Northumbrians.

And very soon, you'll be able to read all about it. 

I will be announcing the publication date for The Breaking Dawn soon, so watch this space!

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