Spirit of Iron will be published in the New Year

Spirit of Iron is the first of a trilogy which is the subject of a previous post.  Perhaps you will find it too different from my other books. Here’s why it is and why you might give it a try. This is unlike my other books as the story begins in the Iron Age. That is the period just before the Romans invaded Britain. Perhaps that puts it outside your comfort zone? Many people expect historical novels to take them to the 18th century, like my Highwaypersons series. Others are used to the Tudors. I hope you will give me a chance to help you discover the Iron Age.

Some points on the historical background to Spirit of Iron

  • Our knowledge of pre-Roman Britain is limited and unreliable, as it mostly comes from Roman sources apart from the archaeological evidence, which is also limited. I have therefore exercised a good deal of imagination in writing this story.
  • A guild of smiths existed in Britain in early Roman times. I have assumed it was not new, given the importance of iron in the Iron Age.
  • The names of the Celtic tribes and the approximate location of their territories I have also taken from Roman sources. Some historians believe that the tribes of the south-east were more Germanic than Celtic and were related to the peoples of what is now Belgium. Therefore, it is not unlikely that they were fairer of hair and complexion than the typical Celtic Briton. A map of their probable territories is here as well as at the end of the book.
Map showing the Celtic tribes of Britain as in Spirit of Iron

Map showing the Celtic tribes of Britain as in Spirit of Iron

It is commonly assumed that Chester owes its existence to the Romans, but a pre-existing settlement would have left little trace once the Roman town was built. I regard its location as so well-suited for trade in all directions that people must have tried to exploit it to some extent from early times.

What about religion?

The title Spirit of Iron refers in part to the fact that there are spiritual elements. Atheism had a long way to go in the Iron Age and my hero encounters lots of gods, spirits, druids and mysterious characters. I have tried to be faithful to the best scholarship regarding the religion and customs of the Celts, but I have filled in a lot of blanks from my imagination.  Some historians believe that the Celts, in common with many polytheists, believed in the existence of a supreme being who created the universe but who was more distant from humanity than their familiar minor deities. Monotheists would argue that if there is one supreme being, it is not surprising that people of all faiths occasionally encountered him in some guise or other.

Why read Spirit of Iron?

It is not a history textbook. However, it might introduce you to an interesting period where Britain was in transition from prehistory to history. I hope you will also find some interesting characters, exciting incidents and, above all, a good read. Try it and see!