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Friday, January 20, 2017

One Knight in Paradise: The Tale of Sir Hedwyn



I'm not being disingenuous when I say Philip Purser-Hallard is absolutely amazing. He's overseeing the Black Archive series, he created the City of the Saved spinoff series, and his knowledge of areas of literature I'm into far outstrips my own. So when he says something I've done is good, I will take that compliment.

This all started because I had a Black Archive pitch. (More on that when the time comes.) He responded positively and then added, 'Since I have you here...' He was putting together an anthology in the City of the Saved series, focusing on the era in its history known as the Civil War. And after reading my Iris Wildthyme story, he apparently thought I'd be a good fit.

The first pitch I sent -- not a good fit. But he gave me a second go, and both of us were much more pleased with the result. And that's how the Laughing Knight first appeared in my life.

A bit of information on the City, if you're unfamiliar with it:

The City of the Saved is the universe after our own, a galaxy-sized domed civilization where every human, proto-human, and partial human who ever lived (and several who didn't) live eternally in an ever-renewing Renaissance. Sadly, it doesn't go on forever, as a few centuries later things occur that lead the people of the City to become quite killable. A civil war breaks out... and this is the setting in which the newest anthology takes place.

City of the Saved: Tales of the Civil War explores stories arising from that conflict. But not all of the stories are necessarily stories about war itself. Mine, for example, is an Arthurian legend. Erm. Sort of.

The Tale of Sir Hedwyn: Or, the Laughing Knight is inspired by traditional Arthurian romances, especially those of Gawain and Yvain, and the medieval mindset in general. One of the most fascinating things to me about the medievals is their readiness to resolve information that would seem to anyone else to be at odds. And that's a major theme of the story.

Sir Hedwyn is, I hope, someone we all can like: a knight enamored of chivalry, but with no interest in killing. The latter of those leads to his untimely death, and he finds himself in the City of the Saved. It seems for all the world to be Heaven, but what happens when a world of adventure free from death turns violent?

I also toyed with the format a bit in Sir Hedwyn. It's all in prose, but I occasionally slip into meter reminiscent of the Alliterative Revival -- in which Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and other stories were written. There was a blink of a moment when I considered writing the whole thing in actual alliterative verse, but I stayed my hand. It probably would have driven me completely up the wall.

At any rate, that's Sir Hedwyn. He opens out Tales of the Civil War, which features works by six other authors, including a story by Purser-Hallard himself. I do hope you'll give it a look... and not be too grossed out by the second half.

City of the Saved: Tales of the Civil War is now available to preorder from Obverse Books.