Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Time of Singing

Elizabeth Chadwick is a writing friend who like me uses rock music to inspire her writing. In her case, it inspires some rather fine writing set in the mediaeval period. I have yet to read a book of hers I haven't enjoyed, and I long to emulate her ability to write bitter/sweet tragedy. She writes fabulous heroes and wonderful love scenes - the most tender and senuous lovemaking I have ever read takes place in Shadows and Strongholds, William Marshall, hero of The Greatest Knight and the Scarlet Lion is incredibly inspiring, and Elizabeth's grail mystery book, The Daughters of the Grail (written long before The Da Vinci Code and heaps better then Labrynthe) is one reason I am excited about going on holiday to the South of France this year. We're planning to visit Mont Segur and Carcassone, home of the Cathars who were ethnically cleansed by the Catholic Church in the 13th century. Spouse has long been interested in their story, but Daughters of the Grail really pulled me in.

Elizabeth's latest book, The Time of Singing isn't coming till October, but she's just posted this rather brilliant teaser ad on You Tube, which has ensured that The Time of Singing is top of my Christmas wish list (Spouse thoughtfully provided an Elizabeth Chadwick box set last year). I'm fairly sure that the castle in the pics is Framlingham - whose history I know from a later period as the home of the Howards, the slippery Catholic Dukes of Norfolk, some of whom escaped Tudor wrath, but one or two of whom lost their heads. Elizabeth's story is set in a much earlier period, as it is the story of Hugh Bigod, First Earl of Norfolk - about whom I know very little apart from things Elizabeth's mentioned - so I am looking immensely to finding out. Elizabeth's books are now so highly regarded that at least two Phd students are studying them, which I think is the epitome of cool for a writer.

And if you read her books it's not hard to understand why...

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