‘The Order of the White Boar’

Welcome! To all new members of the Order!

The group of friends who have sworn lifelong loyalty – to each other and to their good lord, King Richard III.

Read about their adventures in The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man (out 26 May 2018). The paperback and ebook can be ordered from Amazon at myBook.to/WhiteBoar and mybook.to/TheKingsMan, from Blurb at http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8167813-the-order-of-the-white-boar and http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/8770224-the-king-s-man or by contacting AlexMarchant84@gmail.com.

The Order of the White Boar follows the adventures of Matthew Wansford, 12-year-old page to Duke Richard of Gloucester, at Middleham Castle and in Westminster, from the summer of 1482. The King’s Man picks up the story in the spring of 1483, as the Year of the Three Kings unfolds . . .

 

Order Of The White Boar_3d-book            The book on white background

And don’t forget, if you and/or your young people enjoy the book, please leave a review on Amazon, GoodReads or elsewhere – thank you!

 

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*Special Offers!* on 5⭐️ #HistoricalFiction & #ChildrensBooks – and more…

For 2 weeks both ‘The Order of the White Boar’ and ‘The King’s Man’ will be on special offer on Kindle

From Tuesday 31st March for one week ‘The Order’ will be only 99p/99c to download (FREE on Kindle Unlimited)

And from Wednesday 8th March for one week, ‘The King’s Man’ will also be only 99p/99c to download (FREE of Kindle Unlimited)

An ideal chance to add it to your e-reader – or to that of a friend or family member who may be looking for something new to occupy them during these difficult times

And watch this space for details of online readings from the books, and – coming soon (if I can organize the technology and if anyone’s interested!) – personalized virtual readings and Q&As.

Do you know anyone who’d appreciate such a phone or video call? Maybe your children are off school and a half-hour ‘author visit’ might help break up their day? Or an adult Ricardian who might welcome the diversion – or you? Let me know!

Stay safe and stay sane!

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

Chill with a book The Order of the White Boar by Alex Marchant

 

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

mybook.to/GrantMetheCarving

mybook.to/RightTrusty

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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Escaping to the fifteenth century?

It’s been a month since my last post, and I must apologize. But I’m sure most of you will appreciate the likely reasons why. It’s been a busy time for so many of us – and not necessarily in a good way.

If ever there was a time in my lifetime when it seemed desirable to escape back into a previous century, this is perhaps it. With elderly parents, other relatives with ‘underlying health conditions’, and a daughter about to graduate as a doctor and move up to the ‘front line’ of the National Health Service (in the, hopefully, hyperbolic in the words of the UK’s prime minister), it’s a worrying time.

But, of course, my century of choice as a historical fiction author – the fifteenth – had its own share of major health traumas. And most of them were probably a deadlier risk to the population as a whole than Covid-19. Life expectancy at birth in the 1400s was between 30 and 40 years, and while endemic disease was probably the main reason for this, epidemics also played their part.

The most notorious pandemic of all during the medieval period was of course the Black Death. Appearing in Europe in 1347/8, it swept through the continent over the next couple of years, killing between a third and a half of the population and changing the face of society and the economy in profound ways. In England the feudal system was fatally wounded as a massively reduced labour force suddenly had more power. Plague reappeared regularly in Europe and the Mediterranean throughout the next few centuries. In the past 200 years its appearance has been intermittent, and modern medicine has resulted in a vaccine and more effective treatment, although plague still occasional wreaks havoc, as in Madagascar in 2014 and 2017.

Citizens of Tournai bury plague victims

The year 1485, one of the main years in which my books are set, had its own epidemic – in England known as the ‘sweating sickness’ (or the ‘English sweating sickness’ after the place where it was first recorded, though it soon spread to continental Europe too). No one is quite sure what the disease was caused by, only that its onset was preceded by a sense of apprehension, followed by one to three hours of cold shivers accompanied by aches and fatigue. After this the hot and sweating stage began, along with rapid pulse, delirium, headache and intense thirst – often followed by general collapse and death. One attack could be survived, but provided no immunity to a second or third, which could then prove fatal.

It’s often been suggested that the sweating sickness may have arrived in Britain with the mercenaries who accompanied Henry Tudor from France on his invasion which culminated in the Battle of Bosworth. It was even claimed in the Croyland Chronicle that Lord Stanley used the sickness as his excuse not to join King Richard’s army in the build-up to the battle. The first outbreak in London occurred soon after Tudor arrived at the capital following his victory. There were even rumours at one stage that Tudor himself had died from the illness. By the time the disease disappeared later in the autumn, several thousand people had succumbed to it.

Arthur Tudor, who may have died from sweating sickness in 1502

The next major epidemic to hit Europe was syphilis, thought to have been brought back from the Americas by the first European visitors following Columbus. It ultimately became endemic within the population, becoming one of the largest – and most shameful – health burdens throughout Europe.

Always, of course, between these major apocalyptic waves of disease, there was the steady killing of people of all ages and station by the less spectacular illnesses. Until the twentieth century and the advent of antibiotics and relevant vaccines, tuberculosis (also known as consumption) was the biggest killer across the age and social spectrum. High profile deaths from TB include Emily Brontë, maybe her sister Anne, Frederic Chopin, Simon Bolivar and perhaps, Queen Anne Neville, wife and consort of King Richard.

Anne Neville portrait.jpg

Queen Anne

Epidemic and endemic disease has long stalked the land. In centuries past it was an almost constant companion. We in the twenty-first century, especially in the West, are lucky that, with huge advances in medicine and science, it has receded a little more into the distance. The Covid-19 crisis shows that we mustn’t be complacent. None of us knows quite how it will turn out, the effects it will have on us and our communities. But, while I might myself escape from this situation for a while into my sanitized version of the fifteenth century – where my well-to-do characters usually have enough to eat and need fear only the odd traitor and battle – I know where, in reality, I’d rather be.

Stay safe everyone – and, if you’re self-isolating or just shut in most of the day, I hope you manage to stay sane too. And don’t forget this from Matthew Lewis:

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Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

mybook.to/GrantMetheCarving

mybook.to/RightTrusty

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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Review of ‘Right Trusty…’ in the #RichardIII Society ‘Ricardian Bulletin’

A lovely review of ‘Right Trusty and Well Beloved…’ appears in this month’s ‘Ricardian Bulletin’ of theRichard III Society.
Image may contain: possible text that says 'శ Ricardian Bulletin The magazine of the Richard II Society RARE RICHARD Ⅲ GOLD HALF-ANGEL REVIEWS OF NEW BOOKS HICKS AND PENN AND RICHARD I's PARLIAMENT ROBERT WILLOUGHBY'S MISSION March 2020'
For those of you who aren’t members of the Richard III Society, it says the anthology is ‘very entertaining’, a ‘mixture of ghostly reminiscences, tales of Richard’s time as a boy and king, and some even set in our present time’.
Isabel Moore says ‘I can recommend it as interesting reading for fans of Richard III, and especially for those who would like different versions of the story’.
It’s always great to have recommendations from the horse’s mouth (so to speak!)
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The anthology can be found at: http://mybook.to/RightTrusty

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

mybook.to/GrantMetheCarving

mybook.to/RightTrusty

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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A #DiscoveringDiamonds review!

My blog posts may seem rather few and far between of late (to you and me both – apologies!), but sometimes even I just have to down tools on other chores to share something with you.

And today that something is a fabulous review of Right Trusty and Well Beloved… from Discovering Diamonds – and indeed from DD’s founder Helen Hollick herself, no less.

Helen calls the book ‘an excellent and entertaining series of short stories  and poems … some are exciting, some amusing, some tragic and will make you cry…. I read much of my copy while waiting for an appointment. I was so absorbed I almost missed my name being called…’

Helen also gives a special mention for ‘Corners of my Mind’ by Richard Tearle, ‘the raw emotion in the story made me cry’.

The rest of this fantastic review can be read at:

https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/2020/02/a-discovering-diamonds-review-of-right.html

Copies of the book itself can be bought at: mybook.to/RightTrusty – or direct from me (see contact page)!

DD’s previous reviews of The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man can be found here:

https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-order-of-white-boar-alex-marchant.html

https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/2019/01/a-discovering-diamonds-review-of-kings.html

Thank you to Helen and her colleagues for the review! And Happy Mardi Gras (if that’s an appropriate greeting!)

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Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

mybook.to/GrantMetheCarving

mybook.to/RightTrusty

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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‘Another string to my bow?’ – my latest blog post for#AuthorsElectric

Here’s this month’s blog post for Authors Electric, with – unusually – not a word about Good King Richard III – and hardly one about writing…

Why not take a look and see just what it is about…

https://authorselectric.blogspot.com/2020/02/another-string-to-my-bow-by-alex.html

 

 

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). She’s also available for panto … 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

mybook.to/GrantMetheCarving

mybook.to/RightTrusty

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

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Seven years ago today… the great reveal of King #RichardIII – and a great deal of inspiration!

Seven years ago today, the world held its breath as a press conference got underway in Leicester, a smallish city in the English Midlands.

Well, I held my breath anyway, and from the reaction at the end, it appeared that plenty of other people had too.

For several months, since two previous press conferences in the city in August and September 2012 – the first to announce an archaeological dig, the second to proclaim that a grave had been found on that dig – I’d been waiting for what I rationally knew would be announced. Because everything pointed to the same conclusion, even if some of us (well, me anyway) preferred to wait for the science of DNA analysis to confirm it.

And that conclusion was, of course, that the grave of King Richard III had been found – ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

Briefing-the-press-Philippa-Langley-Richard-Buckley-Richard-Taylor-and-Councillor-Piara-Singh-Clair-Credit-University-of-Leicester

Philippa Langley at that famous press conference

The press conference erupted into applause, #RichardIII began to trend on Twitter, and some of those watching had a tear or two in their eyes because we had long thought that perhaps the King would never be found. Not so Philippa Langley, John Ashdown-Hill and their colleagues in the Looking for Richard team of course, who were pretty sure they knew where to search and had spent several years persuading others to actually do that searching, while also tracking down the last female-line descendant of Richard’s mother to ensure that, when he was found, there would be DNA to test to prove it was him – beyond reasonable doubt.

LFR

The Looking for Richard Project team: left to right: Dr David Johnson, Wendy Johnson, Philipa Langley and Dr John Ashdow-Hill (Photo (c) copyright Philippa Langley)

 

Well, all that hard work paid off royally (if you’ll excuse the pun). And not only was there now a full DNA profile and a facial reconstruction (unveiled later that evening in the accompanying documentary ‘The King in the Car Park’), but we also knew without question that King Richard was not a ‘hunchback’ as the Tudors had always claimed, and had been accepted without question for centuries. Nor was there any sign that he had had a ‘withered arm’.

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What had been discovered was that the King suffered (and I use the word advisedly) from scoliosis – a lateral curvature of the spine, not to be confused with kyphosis, which indeed presents as a ‘hump’ on someone’s back. Scoliosis is a far from rare condition which often becomes apparent during adolescence, but is not generally noticeable to others. Only the King’s most intimate attendants, closest friends and family members would have likely been aware he had the condition. It can cause pain but is not necessarily disabling, and nowadays is eminently treatable. Nowadays.

In the case of King Richard, the curvature was quite severe and, had he lived longer, might well have had more of an effect on him. But it’s thought that at most it would have meant one shoulder was a little higher than the other (which could easily be disguised with well-tailored clothes given the fashions of the time). And it’s certain that the condition didn’t stop him riding into battle and fighting on foot – as we know that even his enemies credited him with ‘fighting manfully in the thickest press of his enemies’ in his final battle at Bosworth Field. The battle wounds that left their horrendous marks on his skeleton are testament to the truth of those words.

Matthew Lewis Bosworth

King Richard at Bosworth (Photo (c) copyright Matthew Lewis)

 

Since the discovery of King Richard’s scoliosis, many of us have become more aware of others who have the condition – among them some very famous people who haven’t let it define them or get in the way of anything they’ve set themselves to do. Perhaps the most famous is champion sprinter Usain Bolt – fastest man on earth, winner of umpteen gold medals. Others include film stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rene Russo and Liza Minelli, rock legends Kurt Cobain and John (‘Johnny Rotten’) Lydon, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and General Douglas MacArthur.

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Usain ‘Lightning’ Bolt – of course!

Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, in 2018 married in a specially designed wedding gown – specially designed to show off the scar from the operation she had as a teenager to correct the curve in her spine caused by her scoliosis. She did it to raise awareness of the condition and of the great work being carried out by surgeons and other health professionals to improve the lives of people with this condition  Princess Eugenie is, of course, King Richard’s great-great-great-etc. grand-niece too.

Princess Eugenie shown in her wedding dress from the back

Princess Eugenie.Copyright PA

 

Earlier that year, in February 2018, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the announcement that King Richard’s grave had been found (and the inspiration it gave me to finally write my books about the King for young readers – The Order of the White Boar and The King’s Man – see my previous blog post ‘Five years ago … the impact of King Richard’s discovery’), I made available a short story I’d written titled ‘The Beast of Middleham Moor‘.  There are no prizes for guessing who makes an appearance in it.

Harrogate May 2018 (2)

 

But the main character in ‘The Beast’ is a boy who has himself just been diagnosed with scoliosis. So it made sense to sell the story to raise fund for Scoliosis Association UK to help young people in a similar position. That fundraising led to first one, then two anthologies of short stories inspired by King Richard, the first of which includes ‘The Beast’. Both are being sold in support of SAUK: Grant Me the Carving of My Name  and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…  and together have raised a substantial amount for the charity.

 

 

So that press conference seven years ago today not only kickstarted the reassessment of of King Richard’s life and reputation, but also prompted quite a change in my own life. Now published author of two novels and compiler of two charity anthologies, I can honestly say my life and career have taken a totally new direction. And that’s all thanks to His Grace – King Richard III. So I will be raising a glass of something suitable to him this evening as I always do on this auspicious anniversary. Cheers!

And if you’d like to spread the word about King Richard, my books and the fundraising for SAUK, please do share this post as widely as you can. As a small incentive, I’ll be popping into a hat the names of everyone who shares on any form of social media – for the chance to win a very special prize: a signed copy of one of my books for you or a loved one, or, if you prefer, a copy to be sent to the school or library of your choice. Be sure to comment below me to let me know you’ve shared! Thank you.

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boaand The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

mybook.to/GrantMetheCarving

mybook.to/RightTrusty 

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

https://www.instagram.com/alexmarchantauthor/

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Catching up …

Once again, I appear to have been neglecting my blog – having posted nothing here for more than a month, except for my Xmas day blog hop post and yesterday’s reblog from Jennifer Wilson.

This is not the first time. of course, and I suppose there have been reasons – primarily the festive season, and before that a holiday I was lucky enough to grab in some Spanish sunshine (and a little rain) before Xmas festivities got underway. This latter meant that I finally got back to Matthew Wansford and his friends, who have been stranded in Dublin for months (there are worse places to spend time, of course, but that’s no reason not to be getting on with their lives… ) At least that trip proved I don’t have writer’s block – 19,000+ words were written … when I had the peace and quiet (and no distractions) that allow me to reintroduce myself to my characters and move events in the 1480s along….

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So I’m slightly nearer completion of my work-in-progress, the third book in the Order of the White Boar sequence. Its working title is still ‘King in Waiting’ – maybe that won’t change, just like that for The Order never did. (Although after The King’s Man, is it wise to have another book with the word ‘King’ in its title? What do you think? Your thoughts on the subject would be most welcome…)

spain

 

Once back from Spain, of course, there was the little matter of the launch of Right Trusty and Well Beloved..., the second anthology of Richard III-inspired stories (and poems) to be sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK), the follow-up to Grant Me the Carving of My Name. This took place a little over a week before Christmas in a very festive York and it was fantastic to welcome so many of the contributors to take part. They came from as far away as North Wales, the south coast of England, and even Pennsylvania, and can be seen in the pics below: Terri Beckett, Wendy Johnson, Kristin Mareska, Liz Ottosson, Brian Wainwright, Jennifer C. Wilson. Each author read from their work and/or gave a talk about King Richard, all of which went down well with the audience at York Explore. And afterwards, those of us who could stay gratefully retired to The Eagle and Child around the corner for a welcome drink… or two.

The two anthologies have now raised around £2,000 for SAUK and I’d just like to say very many thanks again to all the contributors, and particularly those who went out of their way to attend the two launches in York.

So that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of months when I’ve been largely absent from WordPress. Oh, and apart from trying to get with the day job recently, I should perhaps also mention that I’ve made a first step on to another social media platform – this time Instagram. I have yet to figure out how to use it (still being stuck largely in the fifteenth century), but if you’d like a good laugh at my stuttering first efforts, you might like to follow me at AlexMarchantAuthor. Do be sure to say hello!

Who knows what else 2020 may bring?

 

Alex Marchant is author of two books telling the story of the real King Richard III for children aged 10+, The Order of the White Boaand The King’s Man, and editor of Grant Me the Carving of My Name and Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, two anthologies of short fiction inspired by the king, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK). 

Alex’s books can be found on Amazon at:

myBook.to/WhiteBoar

mybook.to/TheKingsMan

mybook.to/GrantMetheCarving

mybook.to/RightTrusty 

My Facebook author page 

My Twitter handle  and Matthew Wansford’s

https://www.instagram.com/alexmarchantauthor/

 

 

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