Monday, April 27, 2015

I Feel Vindicated

Excerpted from Ancient Origins

“… Memphis once carried the name Ineb-hedj, meaning ‘White Walls’…”

  Artist's depiction of the white walls of the Great Temple of Ptah at Memphis. (Public domain)

Way back, in the early 90s, when I started my research for KHAMSIN (without the help of Google-search), I had a devil of a time to find the earliest name for Memphis. Even a museum curator (or his assistant) replied to my query with a disappointingly obtuse answer.

At last, glancing through some old accounts of Manetho, I think (it coulnd’t have been Flinders Petrie or Howard Carter because they wrote about Memphis as Menefer, etc.), I settled on Ineb-hedj, City of White Walls (and have often since wondered if I was wrong in doing so).

Then, I subscribed an the excellent blog entitled Ancient Origins. It has all sorts of astounding facts about our history. But today, it featured an article that made me grin all over my face: Russian Archaeologists Unearth Legendary White Walls of Memphis.

Writing about Ancient Egypt is tricky if you want to adhere to the original names without confounding the lay reader. After all, a historical fiction novel should be entertaining; but if one learns something in the process that is based on fact (provided it is well researched), the better, I say.

I think I’ll sleep well tonight knowing I got at least one thing right.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

James M. Hockey, Author of Dark Age Novels

Launch of Edith Fair as a Swan
(Book 3)

James M. Hockey was born in a Ham Stone cottage set on the side of an Iron Age Hill Fort. This is known as Ham Hill and bears the evidence of ancient British and Roman occupation. It is in the west country of England, King Arthur country. In other words, his birth put him smack into the middle of his stories – it just took him a few years to find his inspiration to write 

The Tales of Bowdyn series:

The Axe the Shield and the Triton (Book 1)

The Axe the Shield and the Halig Rood (Book 2)

Edith Fair as a Swan (Book 3)

I pressed him for details how he came to write his trilogy, and he told me this:

I had always thought I would like to write stories but everything I wrote was pretentious claptrap and ended life in the bin. Until I became tied to a particular area of the west country of England that is steeped in history. However, it took nearly sixty years when, on a nostalgic visit, I came across the story of the Holy Rood. I decided to write the story of a cross of ill omen and how it came to be buried on St. Michaels Hill.

What I didn't know was that as the story developed I would not only write The Axe the Shield and the Triton, Bowdyn Volume 1, 450+AD but then found myself writing The Axe the Shield and the Halig Rood, Bowdyn Volume 2, 500+ADfollowed by Edith Fair as a Swan, Bowdyn Volume 3, 1066+AD.

As if that weren’t enough, I am now working on Atland the Lost, Bowdyn Volume 4, 6500 BCE; with the final volume Wothans Army, to be Bowdyn Volume 5, covering a period from the Dark Ages up to the 17th century.

The series spans the history of a people over eight thousand years. Of course many scholars would consign it to the bin but it is just fiction after all. The research would have taken a lifetime if I had to rely on libraries and written works. Fortunately we live in a golden age for the writer of historical fiction, for we have Google, dare I say it, Wikipedia and, through my library card, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography not to mention the Oxford English Dictionary for finding words for the earlier volumes with an Old English origin.

For book descriptions, reviews by his readers, and purchase options,
visit James Hockey’s 
Also check out his website:

Read Historical Novel Society Reviews of all three books on their site:
Tales of Bowdyn-HNS Reviews