10 December 2015

Historical Fiction Spotlight: Leader of Battles (IV): Drystan, by David Pilling


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Britannia, 491 AD. Twelve years have passed since the British victory at Mount Badon. For the first time since the departure of the legions, Britannia is at peace. The Saxons are quiet in the east, towns and villages once again flourish, and Artorius reigns supreme as High King. 

Yet the hard-won peace is fragile. Trouble flares in the north, inside the Kingdom of Rheged, where civil war threatens to break out over territory and the hand of a royal princess. Artorius once again rides out at the head of his famous Companions to restore order, but the war only exposes tension among his followers. The long peace has bred resentment, and a new generation of warriors grow to manhood who care little for the past. 

While Artorus struggles to maintain order in Rheged, a new and far more deadly enemy rises in the far south-west. Drystan of Kernow, bastard son of King Marcus, slays a famous pirate in single combat. Having earned a glorious reputation, he is sent to Hibernia to fetch back a young bride for his father. The bride is Esyllt, daughter of King Niall. Drystan falls in love with the girl and abducts her, threatening to start a new war that will tear Britannia all to pieces. 

Artorius is forced to move swiftly to save his kingdom. The ageing warlord soon discovers that no man is invincible, and suffers defeat, betrayal and personal loss in his fight against Drystan. Meanwhile, as the British kingdoms falter, the shadow in the east continues to gather strength. 

Book Four of the Leader of Battles series follows the tale of Drystan and Esyllt, better-known as the doomed lovers Tristan and Isolde. This version sets their romance against the harsh, unforgiving backdrop of post-Roman Britannia, where treachery is rife, and darkness closes over the head of the High King.

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About the Author

David Pilling is an English writer and researcher, addicted to history for as long as he can remember. He spent much of his childhood dragging his parents up and down ruined castles in Wales, and the medieval period has always held a particular fascination for him. David is also interested in the Roman period, the Dark Ages and the British Civil Wars of the 17th century. His first published novel, Folville's Law, followed the adventures of Sir John Swale during the dying days of Edward II's reign. His stand-alone novel, The Half-Hanged Man, was told from the perspective of three characters and focused on the mercenary Free Companies that plagued Christendom in the latter half of the 14th century. The White Hawk is a 3-part series set during The Wars of the Roses, chronicling the adventures of the Boltons, a family of minor Staffordshire gentry, as they attempt to survive this treacherous and bloody period of English history. Caesar's Sword tells the story of Coel ap Amhar, King Arthur's bastard grandson, and his adventures in the glittering, lethal environment of Constantinople and the Late Roman Empire. David has also written four volumes of an Arthurian series, titled Leader of Battles, that act as loose prequels to Caesar's Sword. Fireship Press have released Nowhere Was There Peace, a tale of espionage and power politics set during The Second Baron's War, just after the Battle of Evesham. He is currently working on a new series titled Soldier of Fortune, chronicling the adventures of John Page, an English soldier and poet in the early 15th century, and contemplating a textbook on Robin Hood and other medieval outlaws. David has also written a series of fantasy novels with his friend and co-writer, Martin Bolton. They are set in the fictional universe of The World Apparent, and to date two books have been released: The Best Weapon and Sorrow. A third book is planned and underway, with perhaps more to come. Find out more at David's website www.davidpillingauthor.com and find him on Twitter @RobeH2.

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