DOUBLE TREAT WEEK BLOG TOUR – The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles
The SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS column on Mondays and Wednesdays is a place at Shannon Muir’s author website showcasing books from a variety of fiction genres, with an emphasis on interviews and guest posts from other authors. This month, a FALL SPECIAL is including blog tours on Thursdays, and this week is a DOUBLE TREAT week featuring TWO blog tours on Mondays and Wednesdays.
One thing Shannon firmly believes in for readers not only to learn about new books available, but about those who craft the tales behind them. As its name implies, SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column features writers from all genres of fiction who want their potential audience to get to know them, and their works, better.
Today, we look at THE DRAGON’S DOVE CHRONICLES.
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Guest Post by the Author
Changing the Legend
One of the oldest forms of storytelling is the legend: tales of heroes and their deeds, their defeats and victories, their enemies and allies, their lives and their loves. Legends caution us and inspire us. Legends have fascinated us for millennia.
Once a fact has transitioned into legend, it enters into the domain of the storyteller, whose number one job is to entertain his audience by keeping the legend fresh and relevant.
The evolution of the Arthurian Legends offers a prime example of this process. Though contemporary historical records are scant, very few scholars today dispute the fact that a warlord arose out of the chaos of the British political landscape left in the wake of the Romans’ departure, and that this warlord united his people for a generation. His name remains in dispute; some scholars call him Ambrosius, Riothamus, Artorius, Arturus, or Artos. Tradition has named him Arthur.
Arguably the earliest appearance of Arthur is in the ancient Welsh literature known as “triads” – poetry developed and retold by the Celtic bards to commemorate heroes and deeds. The original bards were druidic initiates. Since it was a capital crime for these men to commit triads to writing, their poetry did not achieve written form until the twelfth century, many generations after the druids had ceased to be a religious and political influence. In the Welsh triads, Arthur is presented as a war leader… and a cattle thief.
And yet Arthur’s “once and future” memory must have thrived in folk memory, for his story jumped the English Channel into France and beyond, thanks to late-twelfth-century troubadour Chrétien de Troyes, who added a Frenchman named Lancelot to Arthur’s court and made other knights’ deeds appear to be more heroic to his audience than cattle thievery would suggest.
In more recent times, Mark Twain changed the legend with the introduction of his famous Yankee from Connecticut—and in the killing off of Arthur and thousands of other knights as a direct result of the Yankee’s meddling. Twentieth-century author T.H. White gave Arthur cannons to use against Lancelot in their final battle, a veiled commentary about the horrors of World War II.
My approach in The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles (Dawnflight, Morning’s Journey, Raging Sea, etc.) seeks not so much to change the legend as to strip off centuries of embellishments to bare the roots of what might have really happened to Arthur and his world. It remains fresh and relevant today because, although technology changes throughout the millennia, human beings do not. We laugh, we fight, we love, we mourn. We struggle, we fail, we overcome. We live.
And we learn from the journey, the more so when we have legends to help us.
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins–the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century–seem to be sticking around for a while yet.