Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Join us as #HistoricalFantasy author Nancy Northcott is chatting about altering History for her Boar King's Honor Trilogy #AlternateHistory @NancyNorthcott @cathiedunn

The King’s Champion

The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy

by Nancy Northcott

*New Release Book Spotlight*

Publication Date: May 1st, 2023
Publisher: Falstaff Books
Pages: 378
Genre: Historical Fantasy with romantic elements

The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy:

A wizard’s misplaced trust

A king wrongly blamed

A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name.

Book 3: The King’s Champion

American reporter Kate Shaw and English Major Sebastian Mainwaring clash from the moment they meet on the beach at Dover. Kate has just escaped the hellscape of Dunkirk with a troop of English soldiers when Sebastian turns up, seizes her camera, and refuses to give it back. Kate needs the photos inside to prove to her boss back home that England’s fight against Hitler is a story worth covering and that she, woman or not, is the reporter to write it. Sebastian sympathizes, but controlling information about the war is his job.

Then Sebastian discovers that he and this infuriating American have a deeper connection and a mutual strength that could turn the tide of the war. Like Sebastian, Kate is a descendant of the Mainwaring line of powerful English wizards. Adopted at birth, she is Sebastian’s distant cousin. But unlike Sebastian, she has never known her miraculous flashes of “intuition” are something much more. She’s a practical farm girl who thinks magic is a fairy tale. Somehow Sebastian has to convince her to acknowledge and develop her gifts so together they can save the world.

The King’s Champion concludes Nancy’s Northcott’s exciting Boar King’s Honor Trilogy.

Altering History

Adding fantasy to a story set in an historical era changes history. The author must decide how big such alterations should be and how to use the events of the era. Is the history just a backdrop that doesn’t affect the characters’ choices?  Or should real historical events affect the story’s direction? Should actual people of the era be part of the story, and if so, how big a part? 

Because a trilogy has to be consistent from book to book, I made most of the decisions mentioned above with the first book of the Boar King’s Honor trilogy. The release of The King’s Champion, the concluding volume, has spurred me to look back over the way I used history throughout the trilogy. 

The stories take place in three different eras. Except for inserting my characters and their magic, I planned to stick close to the actual events of each period most of the time. I did use a few historical figures but didn’t have most of them interact with my characters. I also used actual events for plot points that drove the stories.

The trilogy’s springboard is a mystery. What happened to Edward IV’s sons, who’re known as the Princes in the Tower? The traditional view, heavily reinforced by Shakespeare,  holds that their uncle, King Richard III, murdered them. In recent years, new interpretations of the available evidence have challenged that theory. 

The absence of an ironclad explanation opens the way for a fictional one. So I created a wizard, Edmund Mainwaring, who unwittingly helped agents of the Duke of Buckingham murder the boys. Buckingham wanted to keep their claims to the throne from blocking the one he asserted  in rebellion against Richard III in the fall of 1483. King Richard was wrongly blamed for his nephews’ deaths, but speaking up while the Tudors ruled would’ve cost Edmund his life. Tormented by guilt, he cursed his family line so that his heirs wouldn’t rest in life or death until they cleared the king’s name. The Mainwarings’ efforts to do so run through the trilogy and reach a conclusion in The King’s Champion. This quest, set up in backstory, isn’t the core of the books, though. Each volume has members of the family confronting a larger historical problem.

In the first book of the trilogy, The Herald of Day, is set in 1674. A wizard travels back in time from that year and changes English history to create a dictatorship of the magically Gifted. This deviates sharply from the actual history, of course, but I still tried to stay true to the period in general. The villain chooses a key event in the seventeenth century to alter, and the changes roll forward from that until they overtake the story’s present. A Mainwaring earl, his friends, and an inexperienced seer have to figure out what’s happening and how to put the timeline right. If they can’t, the grim new reality will become permanent. 

The next book, The Steel Rose, takes place during the hundred days between Napoleon’s escape from Elba and the Battle of Waterloo. As I read about Waterloo, I found the readiness of so many people to flock to Napoleon’s banner intriguing. He’d bankrupted France and cost the flower of a generation their lives, yet men flocked to his standard. Perhaps there could be a magical explanation? Coming up with one let me tie in one of my favorite historical figures, which was a delight. It also created trouble for the heroine, an accomplished seer, and the hero, a wizard scholar and spy.

The King’s Champion presented a different challenge. The book opens with the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940 and ends during the London Blitz that autumn. It’s the only one of the trilogy based on events living people would remember or would’ve heard about from those who witnessed them. This creates additional pressure to get things right, but it also means there’s a wealth of information out there. This is one of my favorite eras, and I loved exploring it further.

After Dunkirk, England stands alone. Germany is massing boats for Operation Sealion on the French coast. The heroine, a photojournalist and fledgling seer, and the Mainwaring hero, an army officer who’s an accomplished seer, work with other wizards to stop the invasion—if they can. They also try to end the Mainwaring curse. Will they succeed, or will it continue to doom the family’s heirs?

Anyone who has looked into this era knows there’s enough material on it to fill several libraries. I resisted the urge to dive into the Battle of Britain or the Blitz because only their broad outlines figure in the story. For Dunkirk and Operation Sea Lion, I needed more detail. 

Although I spent a lot of time on the evacuation, I didn’t find many descriptions of different units’ movements. I’m sure books detailing those are out there, but I didn’t run across them. I needed a unit to go through the Dunkirk Perimeter and arrive at the beach on a specific day. If The King’s Champion  had been focused on the evacuation, I would’ve kept digging. Since it wasn’t, I decided to take advantage of the fact that it’s fiction and make up a unit that would go where I needed them to go when I needed them to do so.

I’ve had a great time playing in these worlds. I’m sorry to say goodbye to them and to these characters, but there’s always another intriguing era to research—and to alter if need be.

*The Herald of Day (Book 1) is FREE on Kindle*
May 24th-26th, 2023

All books in the trilogy are available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

The Herald of Day - FREE

Universal Buy Link

The Steel Rose

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The King’s Champion

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The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

Nancy Northcott

Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance.
Nancy earned her undergraduate degree in history and particularly enjoyed a summer spent studying Tudor and Stuart England at the University of Oxford. She has given presentations on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III to university classes studying Shakespeare’s play about that king. In addition, she has taught college courses on science fiction, fantasy, and society.   

The Boar King’s Honor historical fantasy trilogy combines Nancy’s love of history and magic with her interest in Richard III. She also writes traditional romantic suspense, romantic spy adventures, and two other speculative fiction series, the Light Mage Wars paranormal romances and, with Jeanne Adams, the Outcast Station space mystery series.

Connect with Nancy:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram

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