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Debut time for St John’s School student and his first novel

Former St John’s School student James Aitcheson will be the centre of attention at Marlborough’s White Horse Bookshop on Wednesday – signing copies of his debut novel, Sworn Sword.

He went on to study history at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and out of that came a fascination about Britain’s medieval decades and, in particular, the Norman Conquest.

And that is the subject of his novel, which is set in the early months of 1069.

It explores the upheaval and bloody times that followed the Battle of Hastings, as seen through the eyes of one of the invaders, an ambitious and oath-sworn knight named Tancred.

And he points out: “The Norman Conquest was a time of rapid change on a scale that’s difficult to imagine today.  But while the tale of 1066, King Harold and Hastings has been recounted many times before, what happened in the years that followed is less well-known.”

“I wanted to capture a sense of what it must have been like to live through that turbulent age.”

It has been a long road for James, who lives in Mildenhall, to see his first novel published.

"I first had the idea for Sworn Sword about five years ago, while I was studying history at Cambridge and researching for my final-year dissertation on the Norman Conquest,” he adds.

“So to see the finished novel now in print and on bookshelves is simply amazing.”

Sworn sword is published by Preface Publishing at £12.99. James  will be at the bookshop from 6pm.

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