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cave in Iceland

J. G. Harlond, author of The Chosen Man,Local Resistance , and The Empress Emerald, has written a wonderful article “A Place in HistoryA Place in History for Historia Magazine on the evocative power of certain landscapes to provide an important element in the novel. Harlond offers an array of authors and their unique encounters with some of the most stunning landscapes out there. Here’s a snippet from the article:

“There is a cave in Iceland that I will always remember. It is a place I have never been, but Karen Maitland took me there in Falcons of Fire and Ice and I have never been able to forget it. There is a valley full of butterflies and venomous little snakes on the Isle of Rhodes, and a besieged castle on the Isle of Crete, Dorothy Dunnett took me to both – and Constantinople and medieval Bruges. She took me over rooftops in sixteenth century Blois as well. I can think of many memorable places that I have never visited but somehow cannot forget.

“What strange and wonderful power is this that enables an author to create a place so completely in words that a reader will see it in her mind’s eye for years to come? It is certainly an aspect of good story writing often overlooked. Historical fiction reviews, articles and conference panels say much about characters and what they did – the wilder and sadder royals, infamous rogues and feisty heroines – far less is ever said about where their stories unfold. Yet these locations have often inspired the telling in the first place.”