Today on the blog, I’m delighted to welcome Mary Anne Yarde to the blog, talking about the setting for her Du Lac series, and in particular, the fourth in the series, the Du Lac Prophecy. I’ve also got an extract to share with you, and whet your appetite, once you’ve read more about that fabulous setting (there’s even a Poldark reference)…
The Island of Tin and King Arthur
By Mary Anne Yarde
“The waves were shadows, snakes under a quilt, creeping in almost unseen until they emerged in milky ripples at the water’s edge.”
Winston Graham, Ross Poldark.
From the breathtaking beauty of the coast.
To the enduring Standing Stones whom for thousands of years have sat in watchful silence on Bodmin Moor.
Cornwall. A kingdom within a nation. A place where one step can take you on a journey the likes of which you could never imagine. This is a land of wild seas, myths and legends.
In the 6th Century, Cornwall was very much her own nation, just like she had always been. She was separated from the rest of mainland Britain by not only her language and her customs, but also by a spirit that refused to bow down to imposed authority. Whether that be Roman or Saxon.
My series, The Du Lac Chronicles, is set in war-torn South-West Britain, Brittany and Frank. But for today, I am going to talk about Cornwall, or the Kingdom of Cerniw, as she is known in my series.
Cornwall is my secret love affair. If I could choose to live anywhere in the world, it would probably be there. Not only does she have the most staggeringly beautiful countryside and sea, but her history is also something to admire, and her legends… Well, they are just my cup of tea.
Cornwall has an intriguing past. Now we all know that Emperor Hadrian built a huge wall to divide the North of the country from the South because the North was too wild to be conquered. But nothing is ever mentioned about the little kingdom in the far South-West of Britain. The Roman occupation of Cornwall is very intriguing. It has been suggested that the Roman’s stopped at Devon. There are a few milestones and evidence of Roman occupation in Cornwall, but not on the scale of the rest of the county. Why? What was it about this little kingdom that stopped even the Roman Empire in its tracks?
Cornwall had something that the Roman’s wanted, and I think they kept their independence because they knew what they were doing when it came to commerce. In fact, Cornwall had something that everyone wanted. Tin. The history of mining for tin in Cornwall goes way back, far before the time of Winston Graham’s Poldark series. Cornwall was known as The Island of Tin. Silver has also been found in Cornwall. The land is rich with treasure for those who know where to look. And trade means money, and money… I heard that makes the world go round.
Fast-forward to the time when my books are set in, and once again Cornwall is standing strong against a foreign aggressor. Rome did not best her and nor would the Saxons.
I am fascinated by the Saxon invasion, and it is something that I explore in my series. In particular, I am interested in the Saxon, Cerdic of Wessex, and his journey to being crowned High King. While other kingdoms fell by the wayside and became incorporated into the Wessex realm, Cornwall held her ground. Cerdic landed in Hampshire in c.495. By 519, Cerdic had conquered the South of England, with the exception of Cornwall. It wasn’t until the Battle of Hingston Down, in 838, when Cornwall finally lost her independence to the now vast Kingdom of Wessex. Cornwall repelled the Saxons for almost 350 years. Now, that is impressive.
As the water settles over Dozemary Pool and when the sun sets over the grass covered ruins of Castle Dore, it is easy to believe in the stories this land inspires. If King Arthur was not born at Tintagel Castle, then he should have been. If Arthur did not fall at Slaughter Bridge, then where did he? This is the land of King Arthur. This is the land where his reign began, and this is the land where it ended. If, you believe the stories that is.
Arthurian Legend and Cornwall have a relationship that spans over a thousand years. My series explores what happened after the death of King Arthur, and therefore Cornwall is a fundamental backdrop to my series.
About the Du Lac Prophecy…
Two Prophesies. Two Noble Households. One Throne.
Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac. Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Without the knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.
If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.
“I feared you were a dream,” Amandine whispered, her voice filled with wonder as she raised her hand to touch the soft bristles and the raised scars on his face. “I was afraid to open my eyes. But you really are real,” she laughed softly in disbelief. She touched a lock of his flaming red hair and pushed it back behind his ear. “Last night…” she studied his face intently for several seconds as if looking for something. “I am sorry if I hurt you. I didn’t know who you were, and I didn’t know where I was. I was scared.”
“You certainly gave me a walloping,” he grinned gently down at her, his grey eyes alight with humour. “I think you have the makings of a great mercenary. I might have to recruit you to my cause.”
She smiled at his teasing, but then she began to trace the scars on his face with the tips of her fingers, and her smile disappeared. “Do they still hurt?”
“Yes,” Merton replied. “But the pain I felt when I thought you were dead was a hundred times worse. Philippe had broken my body, but that was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. Without you, I was lost.”
“That day… When they beat you. You were so brave,” Amandine replied.
Her fingers felt like butterflies on his skin, so soft and gentle. He closed his eyes to savour the sensation.
“I never knew anyone could be that brave,” Amandine continued. “You could have won your freedom and yet, you surrendered to their torture to save me. Why? I am but one person. Just one amongst so many.”
“Why do you think?” Merton asked shakily, opening his eyes to look at her again, hoping she could see the depth of his love in his scarred and deformed face.
“I gave you these scars,” Amandine stated with a painful realisation, her hand dropping away from his face. “You are like this because of me,” her voice was thick with unshed tears.
“No, not because of you,” Merton immediately contradicted. “My reputation, Philippe’s greed, Mordred’s hate, and Bastian’s fear, gave me these scars—”
“I should not have gone back to your chamber. If they had not found me there, then they would never have known about us. If they had not known, then you would have had no cause to surrender. Bastian would not have taken your sword arm.” Amandine touched what was left of his arm. “Philippe would not have lashed you.” She touched his face again and shook her head. “I am to blame.” She sat up and her eyes filled with tears, her hand fell away from his face. “I am to blame,” she said again as a tear slipped down her cheek. “How can you stand to be near me?”
About Mary Anne
Mary Anne Yarde is the multi award-winning author of the International Bestselling series — The Du Lac Chronicles.
Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were a part of her childhood.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/