This was a tricky book to write because I wanted to write a traditional quest tale while also utilising some of the very rare mentions of a quest not associated with the well known Grail Quest but one which survives in Welsh myth. The objects mentioned in this book are all part of that early Arthurian cycle, though of course, Lancelot wasn’t in them. The places they travel to and explore – or destroy – are also part of the rarer stories. It’s also hard to constantly have your characters on the move through an unfamiliar landscape. Writing about Avalon is easy, I live there, but Albion? Tricky…
You’ll now also be introduced to a new panthon of gods. These are Celtic gods – not Norse as some fool emailed me a few months back – why would I write about Norse gods???
Anyway, the Celtic gods are something of a moveable feast and there is surprisingly little written evidence left except for those adopted by the Roman’s such as Epona (the horse goddess for soldiers). The tribes who inhabited Britain, pre-Roman conquest, didn’t write things down, which is great for archaeologists, not so good for historians. They maintained an oral tradition, so we only have Roman records and the later Christian writings to use. Both sources are obviously going to be prejudiced against the earlier tribal beliefs for their own reasons, but we can gleam some facts from their writing. It is also a well known storytellers tool to use the common trope that gods force men to fight their battles for them, this is something we see in all major pre-Christian religions in particular.
So, I’m combining two old story telling techniques that date back thousands of years, the quest and the gods. I hope that by using these traditional methods of storytelling we can explore the relationships around our heroes and not just slay the monsters or rescue the magical item which will save the world. It’s a firm belief of mine, as a storyteller, that it is vital we keep these original paradigms alive, while injecting them with new life through characters and smaller plot devices.
I also wanted to give Tancred more time because trying to see the world through his eyes is very hard for me as I’m with Lancelot when I’m writing. I know Tancred is special to many of you who follow the series and his gradual ‘birth’ into the man we have at the end of his story is interesting. I can’t say too much about it unfortunately but all these things help us see that people are doomed to repeat patterns unless we actively work to break our bad behaviour.
Lancelot’s Burden is the fifth in the Knights Of Camelot Series and charges onward with all the passion and intrigue we’ve come to love in this revolutionary and controversial cycle.