Fifteen hundred years have turned history into legend…
Frustrated with living in the shadow of the elder warriors, Gawain dreams of glory in a time of peace. After three generations of struggle against a flood of ruthless invaders, Britain has finally clawed its way back within reach of security and prosperity.
Across the sea, Rome is crumbling under an onslaught of barbarian attacks, internal corruption and civil war. Desperate for allies, Rome’s last great emperor looks to Britain and the rising fame of her High King, Arthur.
Events sweep Gawain along in a tide that takes him far from his home in Britain to a terrible war in Gaul. Intrigue and betrayal vie with loyalty and valour in an epic adventure at the last, bright flash of light before “The Dark Ages”.
The Retreat to Avalon is the exciting beginning of a new Historical Fiction trilogy exploring the origins of the Arthurian legends, anchored in the events of the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
1) What inspired you to write this story?
After watching the movie, Excalibur, my future bride asked me some questions about King Arthur and his knights, so I proceeded to go full history nerd on her. I described some of the theories, including Geoffrey Ashe’s, and wondered how it might have played out in history if true. I wished that someone would write a story about it and it occurred to me that I should puzzle it out.
2) What do you find fascinating about King Arthur?
I love the mystery of the Dark Ages. The history surrounding Arthur’s era is fascinating, with the Roman Empire collapsing in the west, tribal migrations, wars and new nations forming. Most people have never read the original stories about Arthur and his warriors, before the Knights of the Round Table and other later legends developed. Did you know they were more likely to fight giants than dragons?
3) How hard is it to bring real historical events to life in an Arthurian novel?
It’s not easy. There are very few records from the time period, and much of what exists is fragmentary or contradictory. Timelines are especially frustrating, partly because everyone used different dating schemes then, or guessed at dates. Historical references to Arthur are very sparse.
4) Did you discover anything about Arthur and the knights of the round table that you didn’t expect?
There is so much! One is that some of the older legends portray some negative aspects about Arthur. A very surprising bit of research into the legends and backgrounds of different characters showed that some details about St. Illtud, one of Arthur’s knights in early legend, might have had some seed of truth to the story.
5) Can you tell us a little about the next book in the series?
The consequences of the events of the first book take shape in the second book. While the first book covers a bit over a year and has much to do with the main character’s journey, the next story covers many years, is more personal, darker, grittier. Tragic, but heroic, like an epic should be.