The Beginnings of The Immortal’s Ghost
Being a certified geek means I can get geeky about a ton of things. Sometimes my interest fades but, in many cases, it stays forever.
Take my interest in English royal history. If I had to list the books that changed my life, Thomas Costain’s four-volume set, The Plantagenet Chronicles, would be one.
I found this gem as a teen, when it was offered via the Book of the Month Club. (Back in the days of yore, it wasn’t easy to find a bookstore, so all the unusual stuff came via mail order.)
Costain’s series covers the period in English history from kings Henry II to Richard III. But it’s not so much a history as a collection of fascinating anecdotes about the royal Plantagenets and the people around them.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
The Plantagenet Chronicles introduced me to Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most formidable women in medieval Europe, and William Marshal, later Earl of Pembroke and Regent of England, Eleanor’s favorite knight.
Suffice to say Eleanor married two kings, was mother to three more, and, in her elderly years, took on the regency of England, saving the kingdom for her favorite son, Richard the Lionheart. She’s also the reason John became king rather than his nephew, Arthur. After Richard’s death, as she favored her youngest son over an unknown grandson. Even if, reportedly, Eleanor didn’t like John much. (Though, to be fair, no one seems to have liked John very much.)
And the Marshal! Is it possible to have a crush on a long-dead historical personage?
Marshal never lost a tournament. This was when tournaments consisted of nasty fighting among groups of knights rather than jousting spectacles. Marshal was also considered a knight of such integrity that even though he supported Henry II in his fight against rebellious son. Richard, and even though Marshal once unhorsed Richard in battle, when Richard became king, he gave Marshal the hand of the most eligible heiress in England. (And Isabella of Pembroke seems to have been quite happy with the marriage.)
As an encore, in his seventies, Marshal helped defeat a French invasion and preserved the English throne for Henry III.
The Princes In the Tower
The final volume of the Plantagenet Chronicles ends with the short reign of Richard III, forever preserved in memory by Shakespeare’s “my kingdom for a horse!” (Yes, he was a formidable warrior, despite having a slightly hunched back.) This volume left me wondering who killed Richard’s two nephews, the young Edward V and Richard, Duke of York. Richard III was the obvious suspect but no one knows for certain. (One would wish the current Queen would allow DNA testing of the bones found hundreds of years later that might be the Princes in the Tower.)
After the Plantagenet Chronicles, I searched for other stories of the kings and queens of England and still do. It was inevitable that this obsession would show up in my writing.
Once I introduced the power of immortality in the Phoenix Institute series via the villain of the first book, Rise of the Firestarter, I knew other immortals would be making an appearance.
There’s a glimpse at the possibility of a Court of Immortals in Dark Inferno, where the villain is revealed as a figure out of legend.
And So The Immortal’s Ghost Was Born
But it’s in The Immortal’s Ghost, book 3 of the Phoenix Institute series, that the Immortal Court takes center stage. Naturally, I had to use William Marshal and Eleanor of Aquitaine. This pair was hale and hearty into their senior years, and it seemed natural to assume they might have hidden psychic healing powers. I almost made Marshal the hero but he belongs with Eleanor…and there was the mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower to explore and….well, you’ll meet Richard of York in The Immortal’s Ghost.
This story is a bit different than the rest of the books in the series, as the hero and heroine aren’t part of the Phoenix Institute, though there are familiar characters in the book. This tale opens up a window into the wider world hinted at in books one and two and ties them together.
Alec Farley, my overall hero for the series, believed that he was unique at the beginning of Rise of the Firestarter. As the series progresses, he finds out how wrong he was. Unfortunately, while some psychics make strong allies, like his lover, Beth, and her foster-father, Drake, some of them aren’t so friendly, such as various members of the Immortal Court.
But mutual enemies have a way of bringing people together. The Immortal’s Ghost is the book that blows open the barrier between the Phoenix Institute, the Immortal Court, and a deadly foe.
I had a blast writing this story, especially since it’s my Indiana Jones-romp across Europe, so I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.