BOOKS OF FICTION WHICH EXPLORE THE HISTORY OF THE 11TH C.
It was an era where one half of the known world was in darkness and the other in a time of enlightenment, of a renaissance, and both knew little of each other.
Dark Ages of Europe was in the throes of warfare, of savagery and of slavery unchecked by any kind of central authority other than the church. Vikings sacked and obliterated any kind of centres of learning while lords and men of power attacked each other in an over indulgence of violence unchecked by any kind of laws. The peasant populations were enslaved in a system called feudalism and the illiterate brutes were their jailors.
Along the Silk Road, knowledge was beginning to temper the violence of overlords. Central rulers enforcing strong governments created centres of learning, of libraries and of hospitals. Out of it came commerce, astronomy, mathematics, literature and medicine.
The sharp contrast between the two civilizations was a demarcation that kept each ignorant of the existence of the other. That wall was breached suddenly in a clash of cultures called The Crusades in the late 11th Century.
Fiction novels by Wright explore initial contacts between the two cultures with the arrival in England by men from the East.
First in the series, The Healer, tells of two young men who return to William the Conqueror’s Britannia from the mountains and the deserts of the Silk Road. A Norman and a Welshman, sold into eastern slavery as children by Vikings, Riennes de Montford and Haralde Longshield return as literate world travelers, the first a trained physician, the second an expert in trade and agriculture.
The second, Knight Haralde, is the story of a son of a Saxon thegn who fights his way across Britannia to claim his father’s fiefdom in the mountains of Wales.
It is a time when there are no knights. Men here fight in leather, fur and wool with axes and spears, where only a rich man possessed a sword and a horse. Yet, in their adventures, the two exhibit a code of ‘honour, duty, service’ that is a forerunner of the just knight.
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