Authors on Characters
Penmore Press authors offer a rich and entertaining array of short reflections on characters and how they were created in the novels. READ
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Matthew Willis is stuck in the past, and likes to drag people back there for company. Fortunately, the past is a foreign country where very cheap short breaks are available. He occasionally breaks into fantasy and science fiction, stopping only to argue with people on Twitter about what actually constitutes science fiction. He lives in Southampton, roughly equidistant from the Titanic’s former dock and the airfield where the Spitfire first flew, sharing a Blitz-damaged house with his university lecturer wife Rosalind and an imaginary zebra. For some reason, finding inspiration in history is rarely a problem.
Matt was born in the historic naval town of Harwich, Essex, in 1976 and grew up in a nearby village, never far from the sea. Matthew studied literature and history of science at the University of Kent, focusing on Joseph Conrad for his MA, and sailed for the university in national competitions where he didn’t always finish last. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, and he has written for Aeroplane, Flypast, and The Aviation Historian in addition to maintaining the blog, Naval Air History.
Matt’s first novel, the historical nautical fantasy Daedalus and the Deep, was published in 2013. His first nonfiction book, on an obscure World War II aircraft, was published in 2007.
A Black Matter for the King
The Oath and Crown Book 2. Two powerful rivals — one decisive battle. Now a political hostage in Falaise, Ælfgifa forms an unlikely friendship with William, Duke of Normandy. William has been swift to recognize her skills and exploit them to his advantage. However, unbeknownst to the duke, Gifa is acting as a spy for her brother, Harold Godwinson, a possible rival for the English throne currently in the failing grip of Edward the Confessor. Homesick and alienated by the Norman court, Gifa is torn between the Duke’s trust and the duty she owes her family. William has subdued his dissenting nobles, and a united Normandy is within his grasp. But the tides of power and influence are rarely still.
As William’s stature grows, the circle of those he can trust shrinks. Beyond the English Channel, William has received news of Edward’s astonishing decree regarding the succession. Ælfgifa returns to an England where an undercurrent of discontent bubbles beneath the surface. An England that may soon erupt in conflict as one king dies and another is chosen. The ambitions of two powerful men will decide the fates of rival cultures in a single battle at Hastings that will change England, Europe, and the world in this compelling conclusion to the Oath & Crown series on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.
An Argument of Blood
The Oath and Crown Book 1. William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young duke’s dissolute behavior and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. He’ll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels.On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old AElfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson. AElfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political maneuvering as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with William’s, and both must fight to shape the future.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it! The brutal and deadly world of medieval Normandy is wonderfully depicted.” — Jemahl Evans, author of The Last Roundhead
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