Review of small press and independent books.
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Just a quick note to thank Rachel for her review of 'The Ice King' - both Mike and I were delighted to get such a favourable reception from a real archaeologist (we were just two-a-penny volunteers...)
As we said in our reply, neither of us is writing fiction at the moment, though I do have ambitions to emulate Patrick O'Brien and start a second writing career in later life. Almost twenty years ago I married the lady who made my first proper historical re-enactment costume (yes, she got my measure very early on). Now I'm convinced there's mileage in a novel with (quality) re-enactment as a background.
Two reasons: because
a) re-enactment tends to reveal people's REAL personalities and
b) because it brings together enthusiasts and experts of all ages (3 to 93) from widely different and often rather unlikely backgrounds - which avoids the need for yet another story/drama set in a hospital, a doctor's surgery, or a police station...
I'm very happy to have found this site and look forward to reading (and enjoying) other books that are now as far off the beaten track as 'Ice King'...
A good fighting weekend is as close as you'll come to Valhalla while you're still alive. Load up the minibus and go somewhere scenic - the Ravens always used to go to Borrowdale - fight each other all day, defend the hillfort, take the river crossing, the Rhegedians have to catch the Saxons running off with the plunder-log, that sort of thing, then build a fire, get riotously drunk together, sing... and get up in the morning and start all over again.
If you enjoy Patrick O'Brien you will probably have already heard of the Historical Maritime Society, who do an excellent job of bringing the British Navy of his period to life. (Otherwise I would be glad to give details!)
Nice to find such an active and supportive forum - reminds me of the Pieria writers' group, which 'sort of grew' out of the Oxford SF group. That produced several talented and very productive writers - including Mike Rohan (who probably wouldn't include himself), Rob Holdstock and Garry Kilworth. (Not to mention a couple of superb editors like the late, great Richard Evans who helped us get published.)
Amazingly, Kay, I still have my own teeth (considering the way I abuse them) but I'm haunted by the image of Cohen's plates (and can't help wondering about Discworld dental technology...!)
As for period, Borrelpeff - I met my wife, Rosemary Muntus, when I joined a Wars of the Roses re-enactment group called The White Company. (I'd been playing crumhorn with a renaissance band, and was kidnapped by a bunch of very nice girls who wanted a musician. I was nearest thing they could find.) At the time Rosemary was also the costume director at Kentwell Hall, where she tried to ensure that 300-odd people all turned up in Tudor outfits that would pass muster as authentic at close quarters. 20 years on she's still doing it, and knows more about the period than most - so the Tudor period doth have its charmes...
Anyone for Royal Tennis? (If so, I'll watch... )
I like the idea of these things being run by people with some background. I still haven't got over spotting a monk with trainers on at a Tudor times educational day at a Hever Castle - and when a TV presenter asked a kid to give him some background on his costume, he said, "my mum got it off E-Bay." Not his fault, but you know, one could wish...