"Best battle description ever!"
1056...England lurches towards war as the rebellious Lord Alfgar plots against the indolent King Edward. Sussex thegn, Wulfhere, must defy both his lord, Harold Godwinson, and his bitter enemy, Helghi, to protect his beloved daughter.
As the shadow of war stretches across the land, a more personal battle rages at home, and when it follows him into battle, he knows he must keep his wits about him more than ever, and COURAGE AND FEAR MUST BECOME HIS ARMOUR…
I have always wanted to write an epic historical fiction story as long as I could remember, but my journey into writing only began fifteen years ago when I was in my forties and doing my nurse training. The spark that had been there for many years was finally triggered when I attended a re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings. It's not that I had never realised the importance of this great battle and pivotal moment in our history, it just hadn’t ever got under my skin until that day. So my obsession began and I found a book called 1066: The Year of the Conquest by David Howarth which discusses events of that year from the perspective of a village in Sussex known as Horstede and today known as Little Horsted where Mr Howarth lived.
I had found my inspiration, my lead character, and the setting.
Before I start, The Wolf Banner is book 2 in the Sons of the Wolf saga.
Little Horsted could not really be described as a village today, more of a Hamlet, with, according to Mr Howarth, a similar population when he was living there in the ’70s to the time of the Norman Conquest. It is set in the heart of Sussex, not far from the town of Uckfield. Listed in the Domesday Book the land was held from the king by a man called Wulfhere before 1066. Holding their lands from Wulfhere, were 9 villeins and 6 cottars. Between them, they owned 7 and a half ploughs with a team of 8 oxen each and 1 with a half team of 4. Now-a-days, besides a single row of houses, a parish church, and a school, there is also a Golf club and a hotel. Surrounding the place there are farms and fields. There is even a roundabout called the Little Horsted roundabout but nothing much else is there.
A lush green meadow and farmland in Little Horsted, Sussex.
Nothing is known about what sort of man Wulfhere was, what his deeds were or who his family were. Things like that were not recorded for simple folk in those days. However, I hope that if he were alive today, he would not be offended by the life I created for him. Equally, Helghi of Gorde also was a man of the Domesday. Again, I hope I have not offended him too much by my villainous portrayal of him. But this is a fictional interpretation, and their story is my telling alone. I believe it is how life might have been for men and women of this time and although I have written from a twenty-first century point of view, I have tried to create an Anglo-Saxon mindset as a framework for the story. When all is said and done, these were people like you and me. They laughed, they cried, they loved and hated – They were much like us after all.
Paula Lofting is the author of two volumes in the Sons of the Wolf series of which she is working on her third instalment. She has been a prolific reader all her life, inspired by authors like Rosemary Sutcliffe, Mary Stewart, and Sharon Penman. She is a psychiatric nurse by day and writes in her spare time whenever she can. Mother of three grown-up children and two grandchildren, she lives in Sussex and is also a re-enactor of the late Dark Age period.