Tuesday 26 April 2016

Guest Post - Up Close And Personal With Jasper Tudor. @tonyriches

 Please give a warm welcome to historical fiction author, Tony Riches.  Tony writes the most spell-binding stories set in the Middle Ages. His latest work focuses on one of the most complex and fascinating families of that time - The Tudors.
His first book in The Tudor Trilogy series, takes a look at the lesser known, Owen Tudor. I had the pleasure of reviewing "Owen" last year and it was truly captivating.
 His latest release is about the man who was pivotal in helping to place Henry Tudor on to the throne of  England. His name was Jasper Tudor.
Before I had the blog over to Tony, let's take a quick look at...
Jasper - Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy.
 'Without the heroic Jasper Tudor there could have been no Tudor dynasty.' 
Terry Breverton, author, historian and Television Presenter. 

'Jasper Tudor was the greatest survivor of the Wars of the Roses. Whilst almost all his contemporaries suffered often brutal and bloody deaths, Jasper persevered against all the odds. That's not to say it was easy, as you will discover...'

   Nathen Amin, Author of Tudor Wales.

Following the best-selling historical fiction novel  OWEN – Book One of The Tudor Trilogy, this is the incredible story, based on actual events, of Owen’s son Jasper Tudor, who changes the history of England forever. 
England 1461: The young King Edward of York takes the country by force from King Henry VI of Lancaster. Sir Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, flees the massacre of his Welsh army at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross and plans a rebellion to return his half-brother King Henry to the throne.
When King Henry is imprisoned by Edward in the Tower of London and murdered, Jasper escapes to Brittany with his young nephew, Henry Tudor. After the sudden death of King Edward and the mysterious disappearance of his sons, a new king, Edward’s brother Richard III takes the English Throne. With nothing but his wits and charm, Jasper sees his chance to make young Henry Tudor king with a daring and reckless invasion of England.

Set in the often brutal world of fifteenth century England, Wales, Scotland, France, Burgundy and Brittany, during the Wars of the Roses, this fast-paced story is one of courage and adventure, love and belief in the destiny of the Tudors.
Following in the footsteps of Jasper Tudor.

The skyline of the picturesque seaside town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales, close to where I live, is dominated by the towering spire of the medieval church of St Mary. Inside, close to the altar, lie the effigy tombs of Thomas White and his son John, both Mayors of Tenby, who in 1471 helped Sir Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, and the young Henry Tudor escape from the soldiers of King Edward IV. After hiding in his cellar, Jasper and Henry used secret tunnels under Thomas White’s house to reach a ship in Tenby harbour and fled to exile in Brittany. Fourteen years later they returned to seize the English throne, so there might never have been a Tudor dynasty without Thomas White.
As part of the research for JASPER I was shown the cellar and tunnels by the manager of Boots the Chemist in Tenby, which now occupies the site of Thomas White’s house. Reassured to learn there are no rats living down there, we started in the extensive basement cellars, now used as store-rooms by Boots, and it’s easy to see how Jasper and Henry could have remained out of sight for as long as they needed to.
We entered the tunnels, deep under the street, and were plunged into darkness, having to rely on torches. I saw how the roof of the tunnel closest to the entrance had been rebuilt with bricks, and discovered the remains of a fireplace, complete with chimney. This seemed an odd luxury to have in a tunnel and could be further evidence for its use to hide people who might need a fire for warmth.
Further down the tunnel the roof was roughly hewn through bedrock, with several other exits bricked up. This looked to have been done centuries ago, as there was calcification of the surface, which takes a long time to form. After emerging back into the Tenby sunshine I went to pay my respects to Thomas White. Visiting the church and looking into his sculpted face reminds me he was a real person, who left his mark on the town and helped change the history of Britain.
Jasper Tudor doesn’t seem more than five centuries away as I walk in his footsteps from the church in the high street, down the same narrow lane with uneven stone steps. I pass the timber-framed Tudor merchant’s house, now a Tudor museum, and see men preparing their boats in the sheltered harbour. It is easy to imagine Jasper and Henry sailing to safety from here, on their way to change history.
Two years of research led into this book, so the names, dates and locations are based on the best sources I could find. I was particularly impressed with Terry Breverton’s book Jasper Tudor: Dynasty Maker, and am also grateful for the support and advice of Nathan Amin, founder of the Henry Tudor Society who travelled in the footsteps of Jasper and Henry in Brittany. I am now planning a trip to Josselin myself – and looking forward to seeing the Chateau at Suscinio which has been well preserved for over five hundred years since Henry and Jasper Tudor stayed there.
I have also become involved in the campaign to erect a statue of King Henry VII outside Pembroke Castle (last summer they had a Dalek where the statue is planned to be sited!) as well as the development of a Tudor Heritage Centre to provide a focus for understanding the history of the area.
Tony Riches
Pembrokeshire, Wales UK

Where can I purchase The Tudor Trilogy?

Owen - Book 1 

Jasper - Book 2

About the author 
Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling historical fiction and non-fiction books. He lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sailing and kayaking in his spare time. His latest novel, JASPER – Boo Two of The Tudor Trilogy, can be found on Amazon UK  Amazon US and Amazon AU. For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and his WordPress website and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx