Saturday Book Review, Autumn 1066

Not a lot of people know this, but I wrote a sci-fi story about the Battle of Hastings.

It can be found in the book 1066 Turned upside down. I was asked to contribute by Helen Hollick and was pleased to do so, although I must admit to feeling out of my depth in such an august company of Historical Fiction authors.

In my contribution, I played safe, stuck to what I knew.  I didn’t try to create the atmosphere of the times, I cheated and wrote a time travel story involving the events of October 1066.

People seemed to like it, one reviewer said, Richard Dee was another new author for me, but his submission stood out for a couple of reasons. Unlike his fellows, Dee put a bit of a sci-fi twist on 1066 and wrote a story that is set largely in the modern world. It was a dramatic shift and it threw me at first, but looking back I think the submission one of the strongest pieces in the anthology. I thought it was fun, I thought it was creative, and I liked how it allowed the reader a unique vantage point and perspective.

I wisely left the historical details to the experts.

Experts like Jack Eason, who has written a very clever story about what happened leading up to that fateful day, about the events that had as much effect on the result as anything else.

In Autumn 1066, I learn that Harold was beset by enemies and shifting alliances, yet the story I remember from my childhood was shy on the details, involving only what happened at Hastings and not mentioning much about Stamford or the effect it had on the battle-weary men who crisscrossed the country to face William on the South coast.

Jack has done us a service by bringing their story to life. We live with the rank and file of the Fyrd, as well as the scheming nobility. We learn of the mistakes that cost dear, through the eyes of those who watched it all unfold.

The descriptions are engaging, mixing fact and fiction in such a way as to hide the join. Care has been taken in using the language of the times, researching the words that might sound unfamiliar to us. Using them in the right places. It all helps to reinforce the sense that every effort has been taken in getting it right.

My only complaint is that it finished long before I wish that it had.

My verdict,

A well researched and very entertaining glimpse on a pivotal moment in history.

Jack Eason has woven a short but compelling tale around the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings, the end of the Saxon times in England. It’s a story of ordinary folk, as well as the rulers of the land, and how the decisions they made shaped the times. Full of well-researched detail, the vivid picture he paints puts you in the centre of the action. Recommended reading for anyone interested in the events of 1066

I won’t be on the blog hop on Monday, I’ve been too busy with editing my next Cosy Mystery. More about that instead.

Have a great weekend.


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