‘Ozias, Prince in Peril’–Nearing the Finish Line

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Will King Ozias finally claim his throne? How hard will Maressa fight him for it?

I don’t know if I can do it in a week, but I’m this close to finding out. Traitors have been betrayed, civil war looms, and I know how the story ends but of course I dare not tell you. I’m working hard to get there.

I offer a tip of the hat to Thomas B. Costain, whose histories of the rise and fall of the Plantagenet dynasty have guided me along the way; and to Jack Pullman and his brilliant screenplay for I, Claudius. Edgar Rice Burroughs taught me how to keep the chapters flowing.

The lesson for aspiring writers is easily stated: read. The more you read, the more you can write. I’d be here all day if I saluted all the writers whose work has inspired my own.

Using History to Write Fantasy

Top 10 Castles | English Heritage

I have taken Thomas B. Costain’s English histories as a guide to lead me into and through the story of Ozias, Prince in Peril.

The events to be told in this book occurred some 2,000 years before those in my earlier Bell Mountain books: which means the land of Obann, its people, and their way of life are quite different from what’s described in the other books. I have to find a way of accomplishing this while I keep the story flowing.

Costain’s histories, focusing on the Plantagenet dynasty of English kings and queens, guide me into a late medieval world leading up to the birth of our modern age. I describe a country of Obann somewhat similar to England in the 14th and 15th centuries. Intervening between this book and the others is a modern era, a total destruction, a Dark Age, and Obann’s slow recovery.

So things are different. It’s the same fantasy world I created years ago, but with a very different culture. Prince Ozias’ world has not yet had its Dark Age.

I’m not copying. Rather, I read Costain in search of a tone. And I think I’ve found it: Obann’s monarchy at the height of its achievement, just before it failed. But the failure of the monarchy unleashed creative efforts that led to a kind of modernity.

(I dunno–does that sound boring?)

But don’t worry. There’ll be plenty of adventures, betrayals, heroic deeds, cunning plans, and vivid characters too busy making history to realize that they’re making history.

I don’t know if I’ll finish before the winter shuts me down… but I’ll try.

Lee’s Homeschool Reading List (4)

Mass Market Paperback The Last Plantagenets by Thomas B. Costain (1983-01-03) Book

The Last Plantagenets by Thomas B. Costain (1963)

I first read this book when I was 14 years old. My mother read it first and had high praise for it: nothing she liked better than lively, well-written history.

This history is as colorful as it gets. The Wars of the Roses and Richard III; the Peasants’ Revolt; Henry VI sinking into lunacy; William Caxton setting up his printing press–they’re all here in glorious technicolor. And Costain isn’t afraid to admit it when his passions get involved. Nor is he afraid to dip into historical enigmas and controversies–did Richard III really murder his nephews?–weigh the evidence on either side, and try to find the truth.

Many young people think of history as a collection of boring and irrelevant trivia; but The Last Plantagenets is anything but that. It just might whet your appetite for more.

Recommended for ages 12 and up.