I have been tagged by the talented M.J.Logue in a Meet My Main Character bloghop, giving me a golden opportunity to introduce you to Adam de Guirande, protagonist of my upcoming series set in 14th century England. As an aside, it is interesting to note that M.J.Logue’s Hollie Babbitt lives through times of uncertainty and fear (his story is set during the English Civil War) very much because of an inept king. My Adam has the same problem – a kingdom with a weak leader is a kingdom that quickly sinks into the quagmires of rebellion and unrest.
Adam de Guirande is very much a creation of my fertile mind, but the historical events he lives through are anything but, a mere decade in which England was rocked by a power struggle of gigantic proportions between Edward II and his disgruntled barons.
Adam was unfortunate in his parents, but was luckier in his lord. A young Baron Mortimer discovers a badly beaten Adam one night at Ludlow Castle, and decides to take the lad into his household, first as a rather scruffy page, then as a somewhat more useful squire, and, finally, as a belted knight – Mortimer’s man through and through.
Being Mortimer’s man in the early 1320s come with its drawbacks – like being honour-bound to participate in a rebellion against the king that eventually fails. In consequence, things very quickly spiral out of control for Adam and his wife, Kit.
Very briefly, Edward II had problems with his barons for most of his reign, to a large extent due to his tendency to fall under the sway of one male favourite after the other. In many ways a tragic figure, Edward II was a man whose many talents did not include kingship, and he made quite the mess out of things – further exacerbated by his Plantagenet temper and his disregard for promises made to his barons.
When my story opens, Edward II has a close relationship with the Despensers – father and son, plus the wife of the son, who also happens to be Edward’s niece. The Despensers and the Mortimers are implacable enemies, out to feather their nest at each other’s expense. Hugh Despenser and Roger Mortimer are both extremely capable, both intelligent and ambitious. In many ways, they’re both ideal royal servants, but instead of harnessing them to his cause, Edward II offers preferment to Despenser – now and then at the expense of Mortimer.
Mortimer doesn’t trust Hugh Despenser further than he can throw him – a sentiment returned in full. After a year of provocation, Mortimer has had enough, and at the head of an army of disgruntled barons, he mows through Despenser land, creating havoc as he goes. He rides all the way to London, where his camped army is a sufficient deterrent for Edward II to agree to Mortimer’s terms which are, simply put, to pardon Mortimer for his rebellion and exile the Despensers.
At the time, Edward has no choice to comply, but as we all know, revenge is a dish best served cold, and Edward has no intention of letting Mortimer win. Ever. And so the stage is set, dear people, for a bloody conflict that will ravage England for years.
As I think you’ve gathered by now, Adam’s story involves a number of historical figures, first and foremost among them Baron Mortimer, Prince Edward, Queen Isabella and Hugh Despenser. But centre stage is taken by Adam himself, accompanied by his wife, Kit. Not that Adam particularly wants to take centre stage. In fact, Adam has no hunger for fame, no desire for more land – all he wants is to be left alone to live out his life in peace. Not about to happen when a kingdom is collapsing around you – even less so, if you’re as capable as Adam is, a natural leader of men.
In the Shadow of the Storm is the first of a planned series about Adam and Kit. It is planned for publication late autumn 2015.
Well, that was a bit about my WIP. I would now like to pass the baton to Prue Batten (nice rhyme, hey?), Irina Shapiro, Linda Root, Paula Lofting and Barbara Gaskell Denvil.