I love historical fiction and am thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for The Fate of Kings by Mark Stibbe and G. P. Taylor today. With such a rich history to call on, I always wonder how authors select the period of time they are going to write about and create their characters. I have a wonderful piece from Mark Stibbe explaining how protagonist Thomas Pryce emerged for this new series.
Published by Michael Down on 3rd November 2017, The Fate of Kings is available for purchase here.
The Fate of Kings
1793. As the Terror begins to cast a great shadow over France, Thomas Pryce, the new Vicar of Deal, crosses the Channel to find the missing parents of his beautiful French wife. Facing grave dangers, he makes his way to Brittany where he not only discovers the fate of his in-laws but also uncovers a plot which threatens to topple the British monarchy. Fighting against a sinister secret society in a race against time, Pryce battles to thwart the plans of a Parisian spymaster and his agents in London.
The Fate of Kings is the first in a series of gripping spy thrillers that will engross readers of C.J. Sansom, Dan Brown, as well as the many avid watchers of Poldark and Grantchester. In the first years of the British Secret Service, Thomas Pryce truly is the original James Bond.
A Guest Post by Mark Stibbe
The idea for the Thomas Pryce novels came to me at the end of 2012, when I was living in Kent. My wife decided I needed cheering up so she booked us into afternoon tea at Bleak House in Broadstairs. A venue with the word ‘bleak’ might not have seemed the best cure for melancholy but it turned out to be an inspired act of kindness. While we were there, we saw the desk where Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield and the museum in the musty cellars of the house, dedicated to the Kent smugglers and their trade in the 1790s and early 1800s.
That night I couldn’t get to sleep and it was as I lay reflecting on the Broadstairs experience that the figure of Thomas Pryce began to emerge in my imagination – a Vicar during the same historical period who becomes a spy for the newly emerging Secret Service in 1793. I had always been fascinated by this period of history since my childhood. The old adage, ‘write what you know’ came to mind and so I started to re-read all my old books on the Terror and the Napoleonic wars, as well as buy and read a lot of new ones. Twelve stories began to form around the figure of Thomas Pryce as I did.
In May 2015, after writing the first draft of the first story, The Fate of Kings, I invited my old friend G.P.Taylor to collaborate on the project, with a special mandate for him to turn the novels into film or TV screenplays. Graham has also loved this period of history since he was a boy. His first, best-selling novel, Shadowmancer, was based near this time and has many fans throughout the world. I am one of them.
Finally, the figure of Thomas Pryce taps into both of our own stories in powerful ways. We were both formerly Church of England Vicars, as Pryce is, so we understand from personal experience the challenges of clergy life, as well as the moral conflicts that being a man of the cloth and at the same time a flawed human being can generate, especially when living, as Pryce does, in a context of continuous moral dilemmas.
Writing about what we know has meant not only bringing Napoleonic history into our storytelling. It has also meant importing aspects of our own histories too.
About Mark Stibbe
Dr Mark Stibbe is an award-winning Christian author who has over thirty popular books and five academic books in print.
His academic books are required reading in universities and seminaries all over the world. Recently Mark has taken to writing works of fiction and is currently collaborating with G.P. Taylor in developing a series of novels about an English spy vicar in the time of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Mark is founder and CEO of KWS (Kingdom Writing Solutions), a holistic service for Christian writers. He is also a popular contributor at writer’s conferences and workshops and has recently started Stibbe Webinars, a web-based interactive teaching and training initiative.
About G. P. Taylor
Graham Peter (G. P.) Taylor is a motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister. His first novel, Shadowmancer, reached number 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List and has been translated into 48 languages. G. P Taylor lives in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.
You can visit G. P. Taylor’s website.
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