|Picture by Tony Wait|
For those who aren't familiar with my novel Sons of the Wolf, it is a historical novel set in 11thc England; you can read a brief synopsis here and an excerpt here. It follows the fortunes of an English warrior, Wulfhere and his Lord, Harold Godwinson. The theme which runs through the book is centred around a blood feud between Wulfhere and his neighbour Helghi. Both characters have been brought to life from the Domesday Book, William the Conqueror's survey of England in 1086. They are the names of the men who owned the land around Little Horsted, near Uckfield in Sussex. In the Domesday Book you can find information about their landholding and their property, but the book does not contain any more information about them other than what they owned. There is nothing that tells us what sort of characters they were, who their wives were or whether or not they had children, so I have used an author's creative licence and invented a story based on them and the area in which they lived.
The Wolf Banner continues on from where Sons of the Wolf left off. For those who have read the first novel, you will know how it ends but for those who haven't I shall not spoil it by saying anymore; however, The Wolf Banner covers more of both Wulfhere's and Harold's lives, and the feud between Wulfhere and his nemesis Helghi deepens. Helghi's desire to destroy Wulfhere takes on a more ominous dimension and threatens to spill further into the lives of the two communities in which they live, Horstede and Gorde.
The storyline also broadens and will take the reader back into Wales where we meet again the characters only touched upon in the first book: Gruffydd, the Welsh King, Alfgar, his daughter Aldtih and Burghred, his son. Burghred is desperately caught between his loyalty to his father and his King. They flesh out the plot and will, I hope, enhance the plot with more exciting threads to follow.
Throughout the series, the wolf, an emblem of Wulfhere's ancestry, is evident in its subtlety, like wallpaper hidden behind curtains and other wall decorations. It is present in their names, Wulfhere, Wulfric and Wulfwin. It is like a theme that runs through a symphony, ever present but only around the periphery, coming into its own when it is time to play its part. So what is the importance of the Wolf? The wolf was a feared animal, a representative of battle--the corpse eaters, who came at the end of the fight to feed off the carcasses of the fallen along with those other eaters of the dead, the ravens. To possess the spirit of a wolf was to harness its strength to give protection; thus the wolf, to Wulfhere and his people, was not only to be feared, but also revered. Wulfhere's ancestors once wore the skins of wolves in battle, to imbue them with the spirit and power of the animal and also to make them appear more fearsome to their enemy. To the enemy the wolf was a harbinger of death.
Wulfhere's daughter, Winflaed, finds and repairs an old banner that belonged to her grandfather and his fathers before him, and just as Wulfhere is readying to ride off to fight the invading Vikings again, she presents it to him. He takes it with him, proudly displaying for all to see as he goes to into battle to defend the homeland that his forefathers, the Sea Wolves, created for him.
|picture by Gayle Copper|
The Wolf Banner will be published this spring by Gingernut Books LTD.
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Other places to find me: Sons of the Wolf
The Wolf Banner
Sons of the Wolf is a winner of the Indie BRAG medallion 2012