This is the book that my readers have really been begging me to write.
But how to bring back a dead man?
I admit it; I kill off characters left and right. Hey! It’s Medieval times – and everybody dies! In this case, I killed off a character before anyone had ever met him. James de Wolfe was a mention in “Serpent”, which was the first sequel I ever wrote to “The Wolfe”. In it, I named off all of the de Wolfe offspring and James, other than a stillborn daughter, was the only de Wolfe child to die. It didn’t really matter much until I started to write the Sons of de Wolfe sub-series for the de Wolfe Pack and then we got to meet James and see what a great guy he was. He was featured the most in “A Joyous de Wolfe Christmas”, where he was marrying his love, Rose Hage.
Well, my readers loved him, and I was repeatedly asked why I’d killed him off. We had Scott, Troy, Patrick, and then no James. So, I set about doing what only I, as the author, can do. I brought James back from the dead.
Now, understand that much like William, I, too, have a son named James, and it is true that I modeled William’s son after my own, never thinking I’d have to write about him, but here I am. That means this book is especially emotional for me because when I see James de Wolfe, I see my own son. The opening scene was done with tears. Way too close to home.
The Welsh culture and country features strongly in this novel, so a few things to note – much like the Scots and the Irish did, the Welsh also has a particular way they did surnames – for example, sons had their father’s name as a surname (Angus, the son of Fadden, would be named Angus MacFadden), and with the Welsh, it was male/female specific. For example: Evan, the son of Rhodri, would be Evan ap Rhodri, while the daughter, Morgan, would be Morgan ferch Rhodri. “Ferch” means daughter or girl, as does “merch”. Kind of like the English language has several names for a female, so do the Welsh.
Also, I’m going to give you, dear Reader, a pronunciation key because Welsh names can really be tough. In Welsh, the dd is a th sound, and the double ll sound is even weirder – a sound we don’t have in English. The best way I can describe it is if you put your tongue just behind your upper front teeth and blow. Air hisses out from either side of your tongue, but that’s how to pronounce the double ll sound. So, I’ve kept some of the spellings phonetic for the English-speaking reader. It’s easier if you know the phonetic sound:
Blaidd – Blayth is the phonetic spelling.
Fairynne – FAIR-in (not Fairy-anne!)
Merch/Ferch – daughter in Welsh
Ie – this means “yes” in Welsh, but for the ease of the reader, I have changed the spelling to Aye (which is more familiar).
Teulu – (pronounced ty-loo) literally meaning “family”. These were the warlord’s bodyguards/personal warriors.
Llandeilo – Pronounced with that odd “hissing tongue” noise for the double lls – so it’s essentially “hissing noise-an-day-low”
I think the one thing you’re going to discover about this story is that it’s not simple. It’s several different factions, for different reasons, and their stories intertwine. Pay attention to the timelines, because some things happen concurrently, and then some things happen days or weeks later. But rest assured, it all makes sense and, in the end, you will come to realize that a great many people had a stake in James in this very complex and emotional tale. Although it is a stand-alone, it has much more impact if you’ve read “The Wolfe”, especially since the older knights of William de Wolfe and Kieran Hage figure in this book.
Bring tissues and enjoy!