Laid to “Rest Eternal”

leicester

Even in death, Richard III, one time King of England, is not getting any respect.

Rather than bury him where he would have preferred… Where Kings normally get buried, or beside his wife, or with his family, or in Yorkshire where he spent much of his time, the disrespectful British government is going to plant his last mortal remains in Leicester.

A spokesperson for the Leicester Cathedral said (with a straight face, mind you) that since he had laid so long in Leicester that he should continue resting there.

Leicester University officials agreed. “Reinterment on the nearest consecrated ground is in keeping with good archaeological practice. Richard has lain in the shadow of St. Martin’s Cathedral, Leicester, for over 500 years.”

Yes, it sounds fairly good on the face of it, doesn’t it?

However, the official forgot to include the rest of the “good archaeological practice” to say that is what is done with John or Jane Doe and not with someone who has been identified. When a person has been identified, the usual custom is to bury the remains where the remainder of their family is OR, if such wishes are known, where the person him- or herself has desired to be buried.

In the case of Leicester, it was the closest place Henry VII could find to dump the carcass with a half-hearted nodding respect for a ruler of England.

Leicester is not near and dear to the heart of the deceased and in fact the only thing of importance in his life that concerns the town is the monumental defeat he suffered nearby.

Apparently, the current government of Britain prefers to keep that reminder forefront in their treatment of the doomed king.

Jeez, they could have saved themselves the trouble if they just dug a trench at Bosworth and dumped the bones there as an eternal reminder of his defeat.

He garners no respect even at this late date.

Poor Richard.


Introducing Robin Hood… no, not THAT one!

Robin Hood, the famous “outlaw” of the middle ages, has always fascinated me.

I read the early stories, saw the movies (yes, even the one with Kevin Kostner), and studied the history of the era to try and find the real, true, robber of the rich, giver to the poor.

What I found had nothing to do with Richard the Lion-Heart and the battle against the wicked Prince John, who was running the country while his noble brother was out “getting the bad guys”. It seems that John was not even running the kingdom while his brother was away, their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, was keeping the place running smoothly.

But there was evidence of an early outlaw named Hereward the Wake and many of the elements of his tale entered into the corpus of Robin Hood, even though Hereward was active against William the Conqueror in 1066, the century prior to Richard the Lion-Heart.

Oddly enough, there is documentary evidence of a Robin Hood who had apparently been outlawed early in the reign of Edward II, around 1312, another century later. And the records show that when Edward was marching toward Scotland, he parked his army to the east of Nottingham and journeyed westward, into Sherwood Forest. He returned with a young man he had pardoned. The man was Robin Hood, and he became a member of the king’s household.

Now, how would the king know this guy well enough to stop his march northward long enough to invite the lad into his own household staff?

And that was the starting point to my novel, Longshanks. Of course it does not start with Edward’s meeting with Robin Hood in the forest, it starts with Edward’s father, while still heir to the throne, meeting his own Robin Hood, the grandfather of the famous outlaw. The story of the outlaw’s legend required some foundations and that is what I started with.

And since I had to create the history of my characters in parallel with the authentic history, I had to study the people, places, and times well enough to give my Robin Hood ample opportunity at adventure.

And, yes, the entire series of tales was outlined before I started the first volume. Otherwise, the character could not look back across his long life and recall his adventures on crusade, his dalliances with various noble women of the highest class, his wayward adventures with Marco Polo and family to Cathay, and even a sailing trip across the western ocean to visit the place the vikings called Vinland.

All these other adventures are not written, just the first volume. I figured if I could not get it published, what would be the point of writing the rest?

Yes, yes, I know, I know! It’s what writers do but I… well, I didn’t want to “waste” my time. Although now that the first volume is published, I wish the remainder were ready to go out as well.

But, that still leaves me with more fun to be had.

And if the history is tweaked just a little along the way (although less than you might imagine) I guess we’ll just have to live with that.

This is for art’s sake, after all.