It is with the greatest of pleasure that I welcome Historical Fiction author, Mary Ann Bernal, on to the blog to day. Mary Ann is going to share with us the inspirations behind her latest book...
The Briton and the Dane: Timeline
Dr. Gwyneth Franger, a renowned expert in early medieval England, is set upon learning the truth about the death of Lord Erik, the last descendant of the powerful House of Wareham. Her quest becomes an obsession, a condition that began with the discovery of a portrait of the tall and valiant warrior with which she forms an extraordinary and inexplicable bond.
Digesting troves of mildewed scrolls and source documentation only enhances her belief that Lord Erik was brutally assassinated by a cabal of traitors in the pay of William the Bastard, shortly before the onslaught of the Norman Invasion.
On an archeological dig in Southern England, her team unearths an Anglo-Saxon fortress, a vast citadel built during the reign of Alfred the Great, which she believes was Lord Erik’s stronghold. In the midst of her excitement, she is awakened one night from her slumbers by a disconcerting anomaly emerging from the site.
Dr. Franger finds herself transported back to the Dark Ages and at the side of the noble Lord Erik who commands an army of elite Saxon warriors, a swift and mobile force able to deploy quickly throughout the kingdom to ward off invaders.
Witnessing the unrest firsthand, Gwyneth senses that her instincts had been right all along, and she is determined to learn the identities of the treacherous blackguards hiding in the shadows, villains who may well be posing as Lord Erik’s friends and counselors.
Will Gwyneth stop the assassins? Is she strong enough to walk away and watch her beloved Erik die? Or will she intervene, change the course of history and wipe out an entire timeline to save the man she loves with all her heart?
I have always been fascinated with the days of old, when Vikings terrorized the countryside and knights defended the realm after having seen such Hollywood blockbusters as The Vikings, Knights of the Round Table, and Ivanhoe, to name but a few.
Becoming obsessed with King Alfred the Great and the Great Viking Army, The Briton and the Dane trilogy brings to life my view of how life might have been during such violent times. My characters exhibit every emotion known to mankind, behaving just like us, but in a different age. My imagination went wild with the numerous “what ifs”, and what started out as My Erik the Viking novel exploded into a trilogy; so many characters demanding their story be told.
The Briton and the Dane: Timeline was born out of guilt, that’s right. The original Erik and Gwyneth storyline was overshadowed by the supporting cast, which, essentially, took my main characters out of the limelight.
Those old enough might remember the old Erik the Viking cigar commercials – It was this vision that kept alive my proposed novel until I had time to set cursor to blank screen.
With this vision in mind, I decided to give Erik and Gwyneth another chance at having their story told, even though they are not the original Erik and Gwyneth of the first novel.
My decision to have a “modern” Gwyneth going back in time was based upon the “what if” premise, what if a decision changed the course of history?
As in real life, nothing is ever easy, as Gwyneth quickly discovers. Seeing the beauty of the world before technological advances has to be mind boggling and humbling. Could a modern person return to an ancient time and not corrupt its inhabitants? One could argue mankind doesn’t need extra help to become corrupt!
In my opinion, it is easier for a modern person to travel back in time then vice versa. It is also much easier to change history when one allows emotions to dictate one’s actions. And that is Gwyneth’s dilemma. Who will win? The heart or the brain?
My thoughts return to Elizabeth I and her relationship with Robert Dudley, and how his wife’s mysterious death affected their liaison. If Elizabeth ruled with her heart, like the behavior of her nemesis, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and married Robert Dudley, she could have lost her crown over the scandal. Putting the nation first, Elizabeth did not allow her emotions to dictate her behavior, and temporarily removed Robert Dudley from serving at Court.
On the other hand, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, scandalous behavior with Lord Darnley and the Earl of Bothwell cost her the Scottish throne.
These women inspired my interpretation of events surrounding Gwyneth’s behavior throughout the novel.
Being an incurable romantic, I would like to think that love conquers all, but, alas, history contradicts happy endings. But that’s okay, as long as one is truthful to one’s passion, the ending can be whatever one’s heart or brain desires.
Links to purchase
About the author
Mary Ann Bernal is a family oriented, community activist participating in programs supporting the United States military. A guest on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS affiliate in Omaha, Mary Ann was also interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her achievements.
All of Mary Ann’s novels and short story collections are dedicated to fallen military heroes who gave their lives defending our freedom. A prolific writer originally hailing from New York, Mary Ann now resides in Omaha and has traveled for pleasure and research to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Greece.