Showing posts with label Dawn Wind. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dawn Wind. Show all posts

17 February 2014

Sword at Sunset - the Play - writer James Beagon interviewed


James Beagon has adapted Sutcliff’s 1963 adult novel for the stage. It is to be performed between  25th February to 1st March 2014 at the Edinburgh University’s Bedlam Theatre.  He took time out from rehearsals to answer my questions.

If you have never read Sword At Sunset – WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Please tell us something about your background
I was born in Oxford but moved to Stockport (Greater Manchester, UK) at a young age. I'm currently in my fourth year of an Ancient and Medieval History undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh. graduating this summer.

What has particularly lead up to theatre productions as opposed to fiction, or producing research articles. Or are you somehow finding time to fit one or other of these in?!
I never did anything theatrical in my life bar nativity plays at primary school until I came to university. I saw an opportunity in the Fresher's Week booklet for something called Fresher's Play at Bedlam Theatre, went along to see if I could write for it, ended up acting as well and haven't looked back since. Before I started writing plays at university, my writing tended to come out as short stories and prose fiction whilst I was at school and sixth-form. I haven't done so much of that since the plays began but I do hope to get back to it once I've graduated.

Are you a fan of Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels? Did you read them as a child?
I am a very big fan. I read the Eagle of the Ninth trilogy as a child many times and got introduced to Sword at Sunset slightly later on. I've also read The Flowers of Adonis and Dawn Wind

Do you read much historical fiction? If so, which current authors have caught your eye?
The other major historical fiction series I've read is TheRoman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence. I acquired The Thieves of Ostia when I was 11 and diligently ploughed through the next 16 books to the end of the series without shame, even though I had supposedly outgrown them. Other than that, I don't usually go out of my way to read historical fiction - the last time I did was when reading I, Claudius and Claudius the God.

What books have you read recently, fiction or non-fiction
The amount I read for pleasure (as opposed to research) has definitely taken a hit since coming to university but I still endeavour to try. The last book I read cover-to-cover was the biography of Robert Enke over Christmas. I'm currently taking tentative steps into the latest Terry Pratchett book, Raising Steam.

Tell us about the Bedlam Theatre. How do students run a theatre?
Sometimes I wonder myself, but we do manage it pretty well. The Edinburgh University Theatre Company occupies Bedlam Theatre during term-time, whilst also supplying two shows and the majority of the team for when the building is a venue during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In being the largest non-sports society at the university and also with owning a building, the EUTC has to be more organised than the average society. A committee made up of students essentially run the building during the year and the workload for them can be quite intense. Even those outside the committee have a lot on their plates; with a show going up every week during term-time, most people are usually involved with at least one production most of the time. But the society, despite its size, is very close and people are very willing to help each other out at times of need. All of this work is unpaid, but we all immensely enjoy what we do so it doesn't matter.

Tell us about your production of Imperator (on at the theatre in January)
Imperator happened just two days ago as I write this. It was a play about the Emperor Nero, Otho and Poppaea Sabina written in conjunction with my dissertation, based on my readings of the ancient sources and trying to interpret a sense of character and what might have actually happened between the lines of the often anti-Neronian sources. The cast only had two weeks to rehearse with the script due to the Christmas break, but everything went very well. We had a couple of hiccups here and there but the audience response was very positive, particularly from non-Classicists who were pleasantly surprised to find that they understood everything that happened. Which is always a plus.

Have you been involved in any other theatre productions?
Um, yes. A lot over the past four years, both during term-time and the Edinburgh Fringe. I won't bore you by rattling off a list but I've been involved in writing and directing several of my own original plays (about 12/13 now, I think, if you include short pieces), including Four Walls' (****, Three Weeks) just gone to the Edinburgh Fringe 2013. I've also acted quite a lot as well, both with the EUTC and other companies, such as Charlotte Productions and Relief Theatre. I also got to be an extra in Carmen at the Edinburgh Playhouse alongside a massive stallion last April. That was fun.

Do you go to watch plays - which ones?
Largely, everyone in the student theatre circles at Edinburgh end up watching each other's plays. During the Fringe, I've usually had a comp pass to one venue or more due to being part of a show and also reviewing, so I tend to binge-watch Fringe shows in those venues on my days off. Outside of that, professional theatre tickets look expensive and intimidating but I've seen a few things whilst in Edinburgh. Productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Quiz Show and The Lieutenant of Inishmore immediately come to mind. My girlfriend also took me to see a production of Swan Lake somewhat unwillingly. However, as my first experience of ballet, I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would.

Have you seen Wolf Hall by Mantel at the RSC?
I haven't. I have read it though! That's another piece of historical fiction I forgot to mention.

Did the film based on Eagle of the Ninth have anything to do with your decision to do the play?
I actually haven't gotten around to watching The Eagle yet, initially because I didn't realise it was actually The Eagle of the Ninth because they changed the name for some reason and then because some friends of mine hadn't particularly enjoyed it. But I've been looking online and the reviews actually seem to be fairly decent, so I'll probably give it a watch when I have some free time (which might not be for a while)

What did you see in Sword at Sunset that made you want to adapt it for stage?
I saw an opportunity to play with people's expectations of King Arthur - of what they think they know. I also saw a challenge - bringing to life a tale that would certainly make an engaging film with vast CGI battle scenes but attempting to bring the true beauty of the book - the character development - to the forefront of people's minds on the stage.

Why this version of Arthur? There are many out there, and some of them focus on a 'real/authentic' version of the story - why chose Sutcliff's?
Sutcliff's was a version that I had read and read again and also one that I discovered that not as many people were aware of as I would have thought. Therefore, I saw an opportunity to share this brilliant story with people who might otherwise not pick up the book.            

Did you need to get permission from Sutcliff's estate to undertake this adaptation?
When I had the idea, I approached the rights holders back in 2012 who got in contact with the estate and we settled on a small rights agreement for each performance.

What path through the story have you chosen, and why? 
The adaptation is, I think, largely faithful to the book. The major story strand missing is that of Sutcliff 'Little Dark People'; the biggest change that this resulted in is the reason for the early death of Artos' child - Guenhumara blames it on the lingering effects of Ygerna's rape of Artos rather than on the village of the 'Little Dark People'. Ygerna's role is thus expanded; she appears to Artos as a vision quite more frequently than she does in the book. That aside, the story plays out exactly as anyone who read the book would expect it to. A fair few of Artos' trips to various lords and princelings are left out to focus on the main story thread and Bedwyr's and Gwalchmai's introductions are now one scene rather than two.

What compromises have you had to make?  Have you had to change the story in any way?
Sword at Sunset features horses; SO MANY HORSES. Horses are naturally quite difficult to get onstage (Carmen's massive stallion not disproving this). Because of this, the bits of battle scene are the companions on foot rather than horseback. Similarly, Cabal the dog is always offstage even when characters are interacting with him from a distance.

Have there been any particular production problems to overcome?  For example, an important aspect in the book is cavalry and obviously you can't have horses on stage - or can you?  How are you doing the battles - onstage/offstage/reported?
As mentioned above, the battles are largely on foot. There is a fair bit of onstage fighting, though not a gratuitous amount. Quite often, we might see a small group of characters rush onstage mid-battle and mid-conversation before rushing offstage to a different side of the battlefield and being replaced by a new group.

Are you attempting to mirror Sutcliff's language in the script? Have you used any of the dialogue directly from the novel?
Absolutely. I've used quite a large amount of dialogue directly from the novel; much more than I expected to. Sutcliff has a fantastic command of dialogue and because the book is written from Artos' perspective, the book has a natural dramatic/cinematic feel to it. In some cases, I've adapted some of Sutcliff's description into new dialogue - her description of Artos and Guenhumara having sex for the first time is now a monologue from Ygerna's spectre mocking Artos. Other times, I've used original dialogue from several different places in the book and changed the order somewhat when several events are compressed into one scene or occasionally re-attributing it to different speakers. Sutcliff's book is not a play however and thus I've written a lot of bits linking the story together and filling in the gaps between events. I've tried to mimic her style of speech wherever I can.

Is there a narrator? The book is written in first person, so does Artos address the audience?
There is no narrator. Artos has a brief soliloquy at the beginning but he never directly addresses the audience.

How did you cast the play? Eg. were you looking for someone who looked like Sutcliff's Artos, or may be someone who had a particular presence?
I rarely cast based on physical appearance for stage shows as it's not quite as important as it is in screen productions. In fact, my approach to casting involved opening up a lot of roles to women as well as men. The characters are predominantly male but we have a fairly even male/female split within the companions. Artos and Bedwyr were limited to men, whilst Guenhumara and Ygerna were limited to women. But these aside, the deciding factor in whether to cast someone in a part was their suitability to the role and ability to act it well, not their gender.

Will you film the production?
We're certainly hoping to.

Are you studying drama? Are you aiming for a career in the theatre?
I'm not a drama student. My plans post-graduation do possibly involve setting up my own small-scale amateur production arm in Edinburgh to continue my theatrical endeavours.

What are you hoping to do in the future?
My goal in life has always been to write. Whether this culminates in writing for theatre, writing novels or writing in some other context (journalism and media, perhaps) remains to be seen.

What are your ambitions?
I can't deny that a bit of fame and money from successful plays or other writing wouldn't be nice, as it's what I love to do. However, the main motivation in doing these theatrical things, and perhaps even in life in general, is to have fun and enjoy myself. I can't help but feel that if you're not enjoying what you're doing, then you're either doing it wrong or doing the wrong thing.

Many thanks to James Beagon for answering all my questions!

Some parts of this interview were included in an article on the Historical Novel Society's web pages.

At the time of posting this blog, tickets for the play were not yet available on the Bedlam Theatre's website - keep checking!

11 June 2005

The Dark Age Novels of Rosemary Sutcliff by Charles W Evans-Gunther - Part II

All of Rosemary Sutcliff's novels are worth reading; they are not only good stories but believable. One of the signs of a good novelist is that when you read their works you think you are reading about real people and real happenings. Also, you become drawn into the story and feel for the characters. This is very true of Miss Sutcliff's works. She was especially good at creating a reality from so few facts - you almost get the impression that she knows more about the subject than the experts. Interestingly, she had Roman army units at Exeter in The Eagle of the Ninth when archaeologists said there were not any. However, since the 1950s considerable evidence has been found at Exeter to prove otherwise. It is known that Rosemary Sutcliff did the necessary painstaking research to get herself into the feel of the period, but there still seems to be something almost uncanny about her work, almost as if she had lived in the time she was writing about. She did hint on a number of occasions that she may have some belief in reincarnation, but certainly she felt more at home in the pre-medieval period. It is without doubt that her best books are about this far-away time.

The first of Rosemary Sutcliff's Dark Age novels is The Lantern Bearers, the tale of Aquila, son of Flavian, how he survives the Saxon slavery, escapes and joins Ambrosius Aurelianus to defend Britannia against the growing threat of Anglo-Saxon domination. Originally, Aquila is a Roman soldier, but when the last of the legions leave (no actual date is given) he deserts and stays with his family. Unfortunately, his father and most of the servants are killed in a Saxon pirate raid, his sister Flavia is kidnapped and he is left to die. However, a separate band of pirates takes Aquila as a slave and return to their homeland. The young man grows up with the Saxons, learns their language and finds out that they are people just like his own kind.

When in back in Britannia, Aquila makes his way west and north to join Ambrosius Aurelianus. In the mountains of Arfon, he meets for the first time a young boy called Artorius - Artos the Bear - Arthur:

"He headed for the winding cleft in the hillside ... More than half way up ... he found a small boy and a hound puppy very intent on a hole under a brown tumble of last year's fern. He would have passed by without speaking and left them to it, but the small boy sat up and grinned at him, thrusting back a shock of hair the warm silvery-mouse colour of a hayfield in June, and the puppy thumped his tail; there was something irresistibly friendly about both of them that he stopped, without meaning to ..."

Aquila eventually marries Ness, has a boy child, and names him after his father - Flavian. Through his stay with the Saxons, his real name was forgotten and he became known as Dolphin because of the tattoo he had on his arm. When Flavian is born, Aquila's friends call the boy Minnow, son of Dolphin. The battles with the Saxons increase and the novel ends with impending war and the young Arthur grown in strength is now ready to lead a band of companions into battle.

In the first chapter of Sword At Sunset we are introduced to another object that has a similar significance to the Aquila family's dolphin ring:

" ... I saw that set in the pommel was a great square amethyst. It was so dark in colour as to be almost of the Imperial Purple ... clear on the pale surface-sheen of the gem, I saw an Imperial eagle, intaglio cut, grasping in its claws a double M; and spelled out backward around the edge, turning the sword to catch the light on the letters, the single word 'Imperator' ... It is Maximus' Seal.

I remember I stood for a long time looking at the Great seal ... oddly moved by the link across the years with my great-grandsire, the proud Spanish general who married a princess of Arfon ..."

We are told that Arthur was the bastard son of Utha, Ambrosius' brother, and grandson of Constantine son of Magnus Maximus. This is a very interesting point worthy of discussion, and I would suggest it has its origins in the controversial ideas of Welsh scholar Arthur Wade-Evans.

In this version of the story of Arthur, Miss Sutcliff depicts Arthur as a cavalry leader under the command of Ambrosisus Aurelianus. He is depicted as a human being - not a superman or medieval king - a caring man, a clever man, but with flaws which eventually lead to problems. Rosemary Sutcliff obviously used many sources - including Geoffrey of Monmouth - and though far from the traditional romantic version of the tale, it does contain some elements of these later stories.

Amongst the characters in Sword At Sunset are some traditional Welsh ones such as Cai, Bedwyr and Gwalchmai - and, of course, Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere) but using Geoffrey of Monmouth's version of her name, Guenhumara. In this novel, Bedwyr takes the part of Lancelot in the famous love triangle which develops. Sword At Sunset tells the story of Arthur in his own words - from the buying of horses in France, to the terrible winter in Scotland, his wars, his loves, his friendships and his failures. It continues the tale begun in The Lantern Bearers leading to the death of Ambrosius in a hunting accident, the victory at Badon, Arthur being proclaimed Caesar, the break-up of the companions by Medraut (Arthur's son) and the end at Camlan. This is a marvellous story, well written by Rosemary Sutcliffe, and though it includes many of the traditional elements in Arthur's life, it also includes something of Miss Sutcliff's own ideas - such as Gwalchmai as a healer, the Little Dark People, and the continuation of the story of the Aquila family (Aquila dies at Badon, Flavian is Arthur's shield-bearer, and Flavian's son, called Minnow by Arthur, becomes a soldier like his forefathers).

Dawn Wind, the third of the Dark Age books, continues with the Aquila family and Rosemary's juvenile novels. It concerns Owain, who is trying to find a place in the ruins of his world. The Anglo-Saxons have come to dominate the land that is to become England, and the Britons have recently been defeated in a great battle. Owain and a hound, whom he calls simply Dog, have survived. Miss Sutcliff is very good when talking about dogs and horses, and both play important parts in this novel. In the early part of the story, Owain is living with an old famer and his wife and one Sunday attends Mass at which the priest lays out the situation:

"Brethren, the Light goes out and the Dark flows in. It is for us to keep some lamps burning until the time we can give it back to the light the world once more ..."

The world seems to be crumbling around the Britons and literally when Owain enters Wroxeter hoping to find it still occupied. Ruins are everywhere, and the only living soul he finds is Regina, a young girl who has survived on her wits. Together, they leave the ruins in hope of finding a better life. However, Regina falls ill and Owain sells himself into Saxon thralldom to save her. Now a slave of the hated enemy, the view point is swiftly rotated to show what life for these Germanic people is like and we learn that they are not so much different. Owain settles in and becomes a part of Saxon society. One excellent character in the story is old Uncle Widreth, who tells the children stories and philosophises:

""When you are my age'" the old man was saying, "When you are my age, you'll have learned how little all things matter. Life is fierce with the young and maybe more gentle with the old. Only, while one is young, there is always the hope that one day something will happen; that one day a little wind will rise ...""

And it is the dawn wind that changes Owain's life and brings his freedom - freedom eventually to meet up again with Regina and the hope of returning to those old friends made in the hills of Wales.

With the re-union of Owain and Regina, the Dark Age series concerning the Aquila family ends. However, the dolphin ring is passed from father to son until the male line comes to an end. According to The Shield Ring, a female member of the Aquila family becomes part of a Norse family and after her the ring passed from father to son, but is not longer purely British. It is certain that Miss Sutcliff wanted to show that the British of later time were not simply Celtic or Saxon or Norse, but a mixture of these and more. From Clustunium in Etruria to Calleva in Britannia, and from the hill to Wales to the crags of Cumbria, the Aquila family changed from Roman to British.

END OF PART II

4 June 2005

The Dark Age Novels of Rosemary Sutcliff by Charles W Evans-Gunther - Part I

This article by Charles W Evans-Gunther was first published in Dragon Vol 4, No. 5, Winter 1993, pages 4-10. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the author

When I began to work on this article, I thought it would means reading four books. However, I ended up going through eight novels. I found that they were linked, and it seemed correct to read them in a particular sequence. Interestingly, the first is The Eagle of the Ninth and the last The Shield Ring. Chronologically, the books run:

The Eagle of the Ninth (1954) - 129 AD
The Silver Branch (1957) - 284 AD
Frontier Wolf (1980) - 343 AD
The Lantern Bearers (1959) - 410+ AD
Sword At Sunset (1963) - 5th century
Dawn Wind (1961) - mid-late 6th century
The Shield Ring (1956) - 11th century

All of the above are linked. The Shining Company (1990) set in the late 6th or early 7th century, is not connected with the others. All will become clear.

" ... Rome is hollow at the heart and one day she will come crashing down. A hundred years ago, it must have seemed that all this was forever; a hundred years hence - only the gods will know ... If I can make this one province strong - strong enough to stand alone when Rome goes down, then something may have been saved from the darkness. If not, the Dubris light and Limanis light and Rutupiae light will go out. The lights will go out everywhere. "

Taken from a scene in The Silver Branch where cousins Justin and Flavius meet Emperor Carausius, the above statement lays the basis for most of the books to come. Throughout these novels, there is a strong sense of light being smothered by an on-coming darkness. Again and again the analogy is used.

In the first of the series, The Eagle of the Ninth, we are introduced to Marcus Flavius Aquila and told that he had been initiated into the raven level of Mithraism, and this gives one 'clue' to the reference of light and darkness. The religion of Mithras, once rivalling Christianity for top place in the hit parade of religions in the Roman Empire, was dualist, derived from the much earlier Persian Zoroastianism. Here we have a constant war between Good - the Light - and Evil - the Darkness. Also, the analogy related to the more actual extinguishing of the light of Roman civilisation. The Roman Empire was becoming surrounded on all sides by 'barbarians' and it would be, in the eyes of the 'civilised' Romans (citziens of the Empire), the end if these savages took over. Rosemary Sutcliff shows the fears, but then turns the camera around and gives you the 'barbarians'' point of view. Often, the hero of the story begins with great hatred of his enemy, but grows to understand the reality of the situation.

This must have been what the Late Romans and Romano-Britons felt where they saw the destruction brought about by the Anglo-Saxon raids. To them, the light of Roman civlisation was going out, and their whole way of life, and thinking, was changing. However the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, Franks, Visigoths and other Germanic tribes in Europe, would not extinguish the light, but transform it into a different light - a different civilisation. There can be little doubt that there were raids on Roman Britain by the Anglo-Saxons, Picts and Scots, without settlement, but when these tribes eventually set up home, it became a different picture. They did not bring the darkness with them - their gods were gods of light and darkness - but they certainly did not consider themselves the bringers of darkness. Possibly they saw the Romans as the evil dominators, but it may not have been a fight of good against evil, rather a struggle for land. However, there is no need to go so deeply into this, Miss Sutcliff's novels have another link - the dolphin ring.

More than anything in these seven books, the characters are bonded together by actual relationship - all being part of the Aquila family. We are introduced to the family in The Eagle of the Ninth, and meet it throughout all the novels, though in Sword At Sunset they take a minor part to the dominant figure of Arthur, and in The Shield Ring the character is only a very distant relative.

The Aquila family originated in Etruria, Italy, and came to Britannia with the father of Marcus Flavius Aquila. He had been in the 9th Hispana Legion which was defeated in the north and disappeared. Marcus finds out the truth and we are introduced for the first time to the concrete link. Marcus, disguised as a healer, is amongst the Epidii tribe in northern Britain when he is showed an object by their chieftain:

"Marcus took it from him and bent to examine it. It was a heavy signet-ring; and on the flawed emerald which formed the bezel was engraved the dolphin badge of his own family ... suddenly across twelve years or more, he was looking up at a dark, laughing man who seemed to tower over him. There were pigeons wheeling around the man's bent head, and when he put up his hand to rub his forehead, the sunlight that surrounded the pigeon's wings with fire caught the flawed emerald of the signet-ring he wore."

It is eventually returned to Marcus by Liathan of the Epidii.

The ring appears for the first time in The Eagle of the Ninth, but it continues ... In The Silver Branch we meet descendants of Marcus - Marcelus Flavius Aquila - and his cousin Tiberius Lucius Justinianus. Flavius shows Justin the ring:

"It was a heavy and very battered signet ring. The flawed emerald which formed the bezel was darkly cool ..."

Alexios Flavius Aquila, in Frontier Wolf is sent to Scotland, and as he approaches Castellum:

"He found that he had dropped his gaze from the distant fort, and was staring down at his bridle hand: at the flawed emerald ring with its intaglio-cut dolphin on his signet finger. An old and battered ring that had come down to him through a long proud line of soldiers ..."

In The Lantern Bearers, the ring belongs to the father of the main characters. Aquila's father, Flavian:

" ... was fondling [the dog] Margarita's ears, drawing them again and again through his fingers, and the freckled sunlight under the leaves made small, shifting sparks of green fire in the flawed emerald of his great signet ring with its engraved dolphin."

Flavian is killed in a Saxon raid, and the ring is taken by a pirate whose son later marries Flavia, Aquila's sisters, who had been kidnapped by the Saxons. The ring was given to her as a wedding gift and then later in the story given by Flavia to Aquila.

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote an adult novel about Arthur - Sword At Sunset - but kept some of the characters from her juvenile novels. Aquila, who married Ness and had a child whome he called Flavian, is seen with Arthur in Arfon:

"Save for his horses, the only thing of value that he possessed was the flawed engraved signet ring engraved with its dolphin badge, which had come from his father and would one day go to his son ..."

Aquila is killed in the Battle of Badon and the ring is passed by Arthur to Flavian. A few generations go by and in Dawn Wind we find Owain wounded, but alive, on a battlefield. Searching through the dead, he finds his father and his brother Ossian. As he is about to leave the scene:

" ... something on his father's hand gave off a spark of greenish light under the moon. He bent forward with a gasp. The great ring with its dolphin device cut in the flawed emerald of the bezel was one of the first things he could remember. It had been his father's and his father's before him, away back to the days when the Legions first marched through Britain."

The ring finally appears, strangely enough, in The Shield Ring, a book about Norse people holding out against the dominance of the Normas, published in the 1956 before most of the other books mentioned above. In this, Bjorn is given by his foster-father Haethcyn

" ... a small thing that caught the green fire from the lantern ... It was a ring: a massive gold ring of ancient workmanship, much scarred and battered with a bezel of dark green translucent stone, on which was engraved a device of some sort ..."

- a dolphin. Haethcyn tells him it was made:

"... by the people of Romeburg."

that it was Bjorn's father's and:

" ... his father's before him, and his father's before that. It came out of Wales with that British foremother of yours that I once told you of, and was old even then, and had come down to her - for she was the last of an ancient line - from the high far-off days from the people of the Legions whence her line was sprung. So the story has passed down with the ring from father to son; ..."

It would seem that Miss Sutcliff had thought well ahead from Marcus Flavius Aquila, especially since The Eagle of the Ninth was published in 1954 and The Shield Ring, with Bjorn, over a thousand years later, being published in 1956. This was before The Silver Branch, the next in the Roman series of stories. In many ways, this shows the kind of writer Rosemary Sutcliff was, and that she devoted a lot of herself to the creation of a background beyond the next book she was writing. I don't know how much of this she did, but going from one book to the other indicates very good continuity. Certain characters can be linked very easily, while others are a bit harder, and yet the connections are so well produced that a virtual family tree can be constructed from Marcus Flavius Aquila to Owain in Dawn Wind. Without any doubt, The Lantern Bearers and Sword At Sunset are inseperably linked. In the interview by Raymond H Thompson for Avalon to Camelot, Rosemary Sutcliff states:

"The Lantern Bearers is offfically a children's book, but I would claim that my books are for children of all ages, from nine to ninety. Sword at Sunset is officially an adult book. But the two are really part of the same story. The Lantern Bearers finishes exactly three days before Sword At Sunset starts ..."

END OF PART I

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