Quest for the will be published on Kindle shortly and I’ve been asked a few questions by other bloggers and Templar fans that I’ll quickly answer today – this being a day of rest and I can finally get my brain round these things. So, a few FAQs about Quest for the True Cross.
Is it going to be another Dan Brown?
No! This story will be rooted completely in the Templar period – that is the twelfth century and you’re going to feel as if you’re there, in the Middle Ages with the Knights Templar. Of course I delve in to the mysteries of the Order but, I hope, with complete authenticity and backed up by a mountain of research.
Where is the action set?
We start during the Second Crusade in Jerusalem but my main character is forced to leave outremer (the collective name given to all the crusader kingdoms) and return to England. He then gets in to all kinds of trouble in England before ending up on crusade against the Moors in Al-Andalus. So you get taken on something of a tour of medieval Europe!
Have you researched this properly?
Absolutely. The book will acknowledge the academics and experts who have helped me along the way. Most of my research was done on the ground in Israel, Spain and Portugal and England. I’m very grateful to three or four museums for patiently explaining a few things to me and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to one member of staff at St George’s castle in Lisbon who opened my eyes to a lot of details about the period that have gone in to the book. I also have two cousins who are history teachers and they put up with my nagging questions – poor them!
Is this a one-off?
It’s not – it’s the first part of a five book series. I’ve already mapped out the story going forward and it will take my main character – Sir William de Mandeville – to the Holy Land, the Baltics and Constantinople.
Were the characters in your book real-life people?
Yes – but you can excuse some artistic license in the telling of their stories. Sir William de Mandeville – the hero – was the third earl of Essex. The fate of his father – which is mentioned early in the story – was something I first read about in the brilliant work The Knights Templar in Britain – in fact, it’s from this book that I got a lot of background facts for the part of my story set in England. When we go to Portugal and the fight against the Moors of Al-Andalus, I bring in King Afonso of Portugal and his sidekick Geraldo the Fearless – both real people. I’ve given them personalities that I’ve guessed they had from my research.
Is this your first book?
No, it’s not. In recent years, I’ve brought out two well received biographies through Aurum Press and one of them was shortlisted for the UK Sports Biography of the Year in 2011 – a book called No Place To Hide. The other biography was the life story of Neville Staple, lead singer in 80s band The Specials – the book is still on Amazon and called Original Rude Boy. History is my first love and obsession so this book and the ones that will follow are a dream to write – and I hope you enjoy them too!