Background to Ingeld's Daughter
There were several incidents and patterns from British history that sparked
the story in Ingeld's Daughter, either
because I wanted to explore what could have happened if an event had gone
another way, or because I wanted to try to illustrate and dramatise some social
or economic shift that happened over a long period. Some of these are listed
below, and I'll add more discussion from time to time. If you have any comments
or questions, contact me and tell me what
- What would it have taken for a female ruler to assert her claim against
that of an alternative male claimant?
In the early 12th century, Maud (daughter of Henry I) and Stephen (nephew
of Henry I) fought a destructive civil war for the English throne. Maud's
cause eventually failed and Stephen ruled as king. I wanted to explore how
Maud might have succeeded, had the personalities and circumstances been
- Could a wife successfully and justifiably rebel against her husband?
As a child, I remember reading one of RJ Unstead's children's history books
in the school library and finding a line in it that said something like,
"What can be said for a woman who rebelled against her husband?"
in the description of Queen Isabella's rebellion against Edward II. Even
at age eight or nine I remember being annoyed at the implied judgement and
thinking, "Oooh, I bet she had a good reason!". Many years later,
that thought found its way into Ingeld's Daughter.
- To what extent is a ruler subject to the law?
- Could Elizabeth I, Mary Tudor or Mary Queen of Scots have married anyone
without precipitating personal and political disaster?
- Could something like the Peasants' Revolt achieve lasting social change?
History is influenced both by high politics (wars, military coups, changes
in the governing elite) and by much larger social forces that shape the
way a society works and the opportunities available to the people in it.
These interact with each other, but historical fiction often seems to focus
on one or other. I wanted to tell a story where both played an integral
- What effect could economic factors have on both social structure and high
Historical and fantasy novels that concentrate on the lives of people in
the elite, or on characters engaged in some adventurous quest, often say
very little about the workings of the economy. I wanted the economy to be
an integral part of the story.
The world of Ingeld's Daughter
Ingeld's Daughter is set in an invented world, because I know of no
incident in British history that would let me use all the story threads I
wanted to include (see above) without making changes to recorded history that
would have been unacceptable to me. The world should be apparent as you read
the story, but there is some additional background here if you want to know
more. I'll expand on it as I have time to write more, especially in response
to your questions and comments. Think of this as akin to the Appendices in
Lord of the Rings, if I may make so bold a claim. You don't need to
know any of this, but it's here if you're interested.
- The technology is roughly medieval. It predates the invention of gunpowder,
chiefly because I have no interest in writing about guns and bombs. One
of the countries is a maritime trading empire, so it amused me to introduce
exotic luxury commodities such as coffee, tobacco and sugar.
- Three cultures feature in the story, with a fourth mentioned in passing.
They vary in size, social structure and technological development.
- The Errendale half of Carlundy approximates to a medieval feudal society.
Land is the most important source of status.
- The Black Hills half of Carlundy approximates to a 'Celtic' clan society
- a sort of cross between the 'clan system' of the Scottish Highlands
and the Brittonic kingdoms that flourished after the end of Roman administration
in Britain. Kin is the most important source of status.
- Billand approximates to a Renaissance society, with flourishing commerce,
trade and the beginnings of a financial system. Money is the most important
source of status.
- Isgar is only mentioned in passing. It is a long way off and specialises
in highly skilled metalwork.
- The geography is roughly based on the landscapes of Britain.
Want to know more? Contact me and ask.