Online may be heralded as the future of publishing, but former St John’s student James Aitcheson, whose final novel in a trilogy about the Norman Conquest is published on Thursday, is doing remarkably well.
Foreign rights to the Conquest series – the first two novels are now in paperback -- have been sold to the United States and Germany, and James, who lives in Mildenhall, is now working on a fourth fictional drama.
He will be celebrating the launch of his latest novel, Knights of the Hawk, by signing copes at the White Horse Bookshop, in Marlborough, at 6pm on Tuesday.
And that is a real achievement for someone who began writing only three years ago after reading history at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and then taking a creative writing course at Bath Spa University.
His fascination with the Middle Ages has already produced Sworn Sword and The Splintered Kingdom. Now comes Knights of the Hawk, which continues to saga of Tancred, an ambitious young Norman knight.
“Set in the years following the fateful Battle of Hastings in 1066 and based on real-life historical events, the series tells the story of the great English rebellions against the Norman invaders, and of Tancred’s quest for vengeance after his lord is killed in an ambush one winter’s night at Durham,” James told Marlborough News Online.
“In Knights, it is 1071. Five years after Hastings, only a desperate band of rebels in the Fens, led by the feared outlaw Hereward, stand between King William and absolute conquest. As the Normans’ attempts to assault the rebels’ island stronghold are thwarted, however, the King grows ever more frustrated.
“With the campaign stalling and morale in camp failing, he looks to Tancred to deliver the victory that will crush the rebellions once and for all.”
Knights of the Hawk is published by Preface at £16.99.