The Dragon

ouroboros-svg

I’ve just delivered the manuscript of my next book to my editor at Penguin Random House and to my agent.  The Dragon has some similarities with my Hereward series, and a great many differences.

It’s about another of the three great heroes of England (Robin Hood is the third), in this case King Arthur.  Except it’s not.  It’s set a hundred years or so before Arthur’s legend was supposed to have sprouted, in the dying light of Roman Britain.

The book goes into some very new areas.  One thing I’ve always wanted to do with my writing was push at boundaries.  The danger with that is that readers are very comfortable where they are, thank you very much, and don’t really want to wander off into the shadowy thickets.  But I believe the job of the author is to offer something new – it is a novel after all – and to take some risks rather than to keep ploughing the same old furrow.  But that static approach is not creatively rewarding, to be honest, and I also don’t think it’s playing fair with the reader.

The Dragon is about a particular moment in time when everything changed.  I think…I hope…that it will enrich an understanding of history.  The research has certainly been intense, in a period, at the start of the Dark Age, when the historical record runs somewhere between fragmentary and scotch mist.

When I was writing my last series of books, about the English rebel Hereward who led the resistance against William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion in 1066, I began to think about how legends were formed out of the world around us. Within a hundred years of Hereward’s death, stories were circulating about how he carried a magical sword and slayed giants. Not true, yet true, because it explained what he and his endeavours meant to the people of England in living memory of his struggle. History and symbolism bound together.

This book is about the creation of the legend of King Arthur.  I’ve looked at elements of the Arthurian mythos and how they might have arisen out of the history we know. But the more important question is: why did the legend of King Arthur come about in the first place. Why did we need it? Why do we still need it?

This, then, is an historical novel about the invisible hand of history, the things that can’t be found in the sub-strata, or in the few surviving fragmentary writings. Legends, faith, religion and the need for gods and heroes in a harsh world.

It’s about the dream of King Arthur, and of Camelot, and how it might have formed from the mists by the will of men in an age of destruction and war.

(Here’s the Amazon link – no title there yet – or you can already pre-order it from your favourite bookshop.)

Hereward The Bloody Crown

Here’s the cover:

Hereward 6

Here’s the blurb:

1081. And so the bloody battle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire begins.
In Constantinople, three factions will go to any length…will kill any number…to seize the throne.
Outside the city’s walls, twin powers threaten a siege that will crush the once-mighty empire forever.
To the west, the bloody forces of the most feared Norman warlord are gathering. In the east, the Ottoman hordes are massing and lust for slaughter.
And in the middle of it all, as the sands of time run out, Hereward and his English spear-brothers prepare to make what could be their final stand . . .

Out this July.  Pre-order it now for your favourite bookseller.

Hereward The Immortals – Out Today

Surrounded on all sides by enemies in the Roman Empire, Hereward and the Spear-brothers must fight as never before.  We have a Norman adventurer, as that military force continues to spread its tentacles across Europe.  And have we forgotten England and our friends and enemies there?  No, we haven’t.

This is a turning point in the lives of Hereward and his allies.  Here’s the UK Amazon link.

Hereward V

New Book Deal

As book five of the Hereward saga (The Immortals – more on that soon) winds its way towards publication in July, I thought I should warn the world that I have just signed a new three-book deal with my publishers, Penguin Random House.  Here’s the announcement, as featured in The Bookseller:

Transworld has acquired a new trilogy about the Pendragon bloodline by James Wilde.

Editor Simon Taylor acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the Dark Age trilogy from Euan Thorneycroft at A M Heath.

Taylor said: “The story of Arthur is timeless and has been told and retold many, many times before but James is going back even further to recount an untold story – that of the dynasty that culminated in this nation’s most enduring legend.

“You could call it the prequel to the Arthurian legend if you like – and James, with his unerring ability to bring period, place, people and, let’s cut to the chase here, sword-shattering battles to life, is just the storyteller to do it.

“The Dark Age trilogy is going to be exciting, action-packed historical fiction at its epic best and I for one can’t wait.”

Pendragon, the first novel in the Dark Age trilogy, is likely to be published in 2016 in hardback, e-book and then paperback editions, said Transworld.

A New Era For Hereward

In July, expect to see a brand new Hereward story.  It now has a name – Wolves of New Rome – and it follows on seamlessly from the end of End of Days.

Here’s the blurb:

1072 – The great battle has been lost. King William stands victorious. And for the betrayed and abandoned English rebels, the price of their crushing defeat is cruel: exile.

Cut adrift from family, friends, home, their hopes of survival lie with one man, their leader Hereward. But can even that now-legendary hero navigate a safe course across a world torn by war? Their ultimate destination is the jewelled heart of the Christian emperor in the East, the New Rome – Byzantium. Here the English hope to find gold and glory by joining those pledged to protect the emperor, the elite and savage Varangian Guard. But this once-mighty empire is slipping into shadow. Beyond the vast walls, the endless Turkish hordes plan for an attack that could come at any moment. And within the sprawling city, rival factions threaten bloody mayhem as they scheme to seize the crown.

Here begins a new chapter in the stirring tale of England’s forgotten hero. But now the enemies are hidden, their methods bloodier, the battlefield and weapons unfamiliar and to stay alive in this cauldron of plot, betrayal and murder, Hereward and the English must fight as never before.

I’m now looking at seven separate cover designs, trying to choose the best one – all of them are, frankly, excellent.

 

The Winter Warrior – Published Today

WW

 

Out in the USA today, from Pegasus Books, in hardback and audiobook.

As a note to European readers, this is a retitled version of Hereward: The Devil’s Army, the second Hereward book.  DO NOT BUY if you already have that version, as amazon.co.uk will undoubtedly import it.

The Time of the Wolf, the re-titled first Hereward adventure, is also published in the US in paperback today.