A Millennium Since Edmund Routed Danes in Brentford
Read the account of Edmund Ironside filled with war, love, treachery and family mistrust
Fen Flack has written an enjoyable history book about Edmund Ironside, written from the point of view of a ten year old boy. Like all good history books it features a battle in Brentford.
It's written much in the vein of the successful "My Story" collection, as a personal and accessible tale that brings an often overlooked period of history to life. BrentfordTW8 caught up with Fen and asked:
How did you come to write this book? Why this king?
"I first "discovered" Edmund Ironside about thirty years ago when I was doing some research on the area where I live in Worcestershire. There was a reference to the "Danes" seizing land and that got me reading about the Danish invasion in the early 11th Century. Edmund became king in 1016 and fought hard during that summer to drive Cnut and his men out of England. I thought his story, and especially the circumstances of his marriage, was the stuff of novels and would one day make a great story. I was writing other things at the time, but about eighteen months ago, the idea came back to me and wouldn't go away, so I felt compelled to write it. I then realised that the timing was perfect as it was a thousand yeas since he had reigned".
What were you trying to achieve with this writing style?
"It's a story that would appeal to young male readers, so I decided to have my narrator be a boy aged ten at the beginning. He was "new to the job" of serving such a man as Edmund so I had the freedom to see things through his eyes. The first person singular makes for a powerful story-telling tool and I worked out how I could ensure he was at the key events, even if Edmund wasn't".
How much research did you do and how accurate is it?
"I had done a lot of research thirty years ago, but needed to update what I knew. I also had to look for specifics, like what they might be eating. I have taken all the known historical facts, but tried to make sense of them and of necessity added to them. I don't know of any "mistakes" in the book, but we certainly can't be sure events happened as I describe them. For instance, we don't know whether Edmund had met the woman he married before he sprung her from her prison, but it makes more sense to think he had and that he wasn't just after her property".
Are you planning another book?
"I have left Edmund alive at the end of the book and I am beginning to think how to do a sequel, as the events that followed are also the stuff of novels!"
Are you connected to Brentford?
"I have no personal connection with Brentford. I came to the Brentford and Chiswick History Society meeting as I knew they were having a talk about their 1016 battle. I have been visiting all five of the 1016 battle sites and meeting the locals. I was in Sherston 1000 years to the day since their battle and plan to be at the re-enactment in Ashdon in September of Edmund's final clash with Cnut. Brentford is probably the place that has changed the most since Edmund was there although the river where so many drowned is still flowing past".
The ebook can be bought from Amazon: Ironside: The English King Who Fought the Danes .
Hard copies cost £7.99 (+ p&p of £2.01). More information on flackbooks.weebly.com
July 8, 2016