What totems and banners did Edwin and then Oswald carry as kings of Northumbre? Sometimes the clue is in the name. Sometimes, eh, not so much. Another chewy post about martial iconography and the Angles, Irish, and Picts of early seventh-century Britain. Or: Fun with colour and cost!
Read more "Totems and banners: Edwin and Oswald"
What banners and totems might Hild’s people have carried in the early seventh-century of MENEWOOD? We don’t know. But here are some guesses, with pictures!
Read more "Totems and banners: Hild’s Elmet"
Nearly ten years after HILD, the sequel is almost here. MENEWOOD will be available wherever books are sold on October 3. Here’s a first look.
Read more "Menewood!"
In April I published Spear, set in early sixth-century Wales. It’s an Arthurian retelling but not much like other Arthurian tales.
Read more "Spear—Arthurian Legend and Sixth-Century Wales"
Over on my personal blog I’ve just posted pictures of Hild as Butcherbird and of the shield her Hounds carry. Usually, when she rides as Hild Yffing, Lady of Elmet, this unsubtle image is hidden beneath a perfectly respectable leather cover painted with the hazel tree of Elmet and the Yffing boar. But when she […]
Read more "The Butcherbird and her shield"
What exactly is a ‘hægtes’, and how do you draw one if you don’t know what it is?
Read more "Hild’s bynames #4: Hægtes"
Over on my personal blog a piece about an elegant structural repair that turned into a lasting icon: the Celtic cross of Iona. It occurs to me that it might interest readers of this site, so, well, here it is. Image description: Black and white vector drawing of a stylised Celtic cross: a long vertical […]
Read more "Celtic cross: accidental icon"
Image description: Black and white drawing of a hedgehog with its face lifted, snuffing the air after truffling about in the forest litter at its feet. The parts of the forest litter that are identifiable are elm leaves and twigs, oak leaves, and two acorns. I did this post a couple of weeks ago on […]
Read more "Hild’s Bynames #3: Little Prickle"
The taxonomic name for the great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor, is Latin for butcher sentinel. Sentinel because of the way shrikes stand tall on top of a post, as both a warning and declaration of territory: they practically shriek vigilance and eagerness to tangle. (They remind me of new bouncers at a club: overready to get into it.) And butcher because they spike their prey—smaller birds, mice, lizards, bees, crickets—on thorns and barbed wire fencing, like feathery little Neroes playing with Christians.
Read more "Hild’s bynames #2: Butcher-bird"
Exploring one of Hild’s bynames, freemartin. The first of an occasional series.
Read more "Hild’s bynames #1: Freemartin"
While writing both Hild and Menewood I drew dozens of maps to help work out everything from travel routes to weather events to Hild’s thinking to battle tactics. These sketch maps are full of private code and wouldn’t make sense to most readers. But every now and again I like to post one to illustrate a point. So I started […]
Read more "Making my own Hild art"
In which I talk about Cadwallon, his origins, faults, and battles—as one giant excuse to play with maps
Read more "Making sense of Cadwallon (or, An excuse to play with maps)"
The first draft of MENEWOOD is finished!!
Read more "MENEWOOD!!"
This is a call for contributors, and ideas, to a companion volume to Hild: an accessible guide to the book and its Early Medieval context.
Read more "CFP: A Hild Companion"
Today is the anniversary of Hild’s death in 680. I mark it because Hild—and Whitby, and ammonites—have marked my life.
Read more "Hild’s feast day"