AD 73 Northern Roman Britain
Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.
Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.
The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?
The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…
Getting authenticity right…or as realistic as possible?
When reading a historical novel, my personal favourites are those where the author has tried to give authenticity to the background settings by ensuring the images portrayed are realistic for the era. As I read, I prefer not to be jolted out of a 12th century scene set in rural England where the main characters find themselves having tuna and cucumber sandwiches for lunch down by the riverside. Eating tuna, I’m afraid, doesn’t quite ring true for me, though cucumber is almost doable since it was perhaps introduced to Britain in the 14th Century.
Equally, the use of very informal twenty-first-century vernacular, in a similar setting to the above, doesn’t really work for me either. Though what does for most readers of historical fiction? Readers often vary in their expectations, and in what they are prepared to accept. Some don’t like reading antiquated language, yet others do. Some don’t enjoy more complicated vocabulary, but others enjoy the challenge. As an ex-upper-primary teacher, I’ve an extensive vocabulary and use appropriate words that spring to mind naturally, though they may not be known by some readers who want simpler language.
Novels set in 17th century rural England, Regency Bath, or Victorian London, where the author uses (to some degree) highly authentic dialogue and speech patterns for the era, seem more realistic. An author can achieve that for these time periods because there are plenty of existing examples of speech available for research…and for mimicking. The dialogue may be more formal; sentence structure different; and the vocabulary content might be more complicated but a skilled author uses it well to launch the reader right into the scene, seeing and hearing what’s going on around them.
When writing my Celtic Fervour Saga series, I debated long and hard about what kind of language and tone to use given that the stories take place almost 2000 years ago. I found that experts don’t really know what everyday speech sounded like across Britain back then, but that etymologists favour a form of Gaelic. When writing Book 1 in 2012, I decided to use a slightly more formal style of speech. And to give the reader a greater sense of aural authenticity, I inserted a few Scottish Gaelic phrases – checked for me by native Gaelic speakers.
In Books 2 & 3, I continued to insert occasional Gaelic phrases, mainly when my characters are under some stress and need to vent! And I also chose to use the Gaelic forms of place names around Scotland in Book 3, since geography plays a much greater role as my characters travel around. I did this in the hope that my readers would be able to gain a good sense of where the action was taking place. The maps inserted into the books are also designed to help the reader work out where events happen.
In After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks I’ve used the Latin names for Roman fortresses and forts, also shown on the maps. Should a reader want to research them further a Google type search of the Latin names will get them to the various sites. I invented the names of some forts in books 2 & 3, but the main ones are easily recognisable.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t till I was doing further research for Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks that I learned that what was spoken in Caledonia (Scotland) at that time was more likely to be a form of Old Welsh Gaelic, and not today’s Scottish Gaelic, which are actually quite different! I immediately added an Author Note explaining my discovery and the hope that my readers would forgive me.
Other than that slight inaccuracy, I strive to set a very realistic historical setting for my characters in my Celtic Fervour Saga. I absolutely adore learning about the era of Roman Britain, love writing about it and hope my readers enjoy reading about it.
Thank you for inviting me to your blog today!
Thank you, Nancy Jardine and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)
A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere