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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

coming of age in late 13th century Wales - Hawk by Marie Powell

Hyw yearns to join his father in serving the charismatic Llywelyn, Prince of Wales. If only Hyw dared tell anyone of his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, it might help secure his place in the royal guard. 



Description:

Hyw yearns to join his father in serving the charismatic Llywelyn, Prince of Wales. If only Hyw dared tell anyone of his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, it might help secure his place in the royal guard. Cat, his sister, longs to inherit the magical ability that runs through her mother's line. If only she could see her future, now that she is 13 and promised to a boy she barely remembers.

When a messenger summons the prince to a secret meeting, Cat and Hwy find themselves in the middle of a war that threatens to destroy all of Wales. Can they master their special abilities in time to save the royal family—and themselves?

Set among the actual events and personages of late 13th century Wales, Marie Powell has constructed a fantasy novel that recreates what life might have been like for two teenagers coming of age.

GUEST POST
From Fable to Fantasy - The Help of Animals 

One of the first scenes I wrote for Hawk – maybe the first scene – was the opening, where Hyw is floating high above his world, connected with the mind of a hawk. Even after many revisions, it’s still the opening scene of the novel. I love hawks. To me, a hawk in full flight is a symbol of independence and freedom. 

My character Hyw also wants to use the hawk and other birds in the novel to scout out the locations and movements of the English army for his father and the other Welsh warriors. The first time I saw hawks up close was when I wrote an article on a master falconer for Prairies North Magazine (Summer 2006) and CBC Radio. That falconer told me that even the Swainson’s hawk riding on his shoulder should never be taken as a pet. They’re still wild animals, and have to be respected as such. I find their alien eyes and taloned feet chilling and fascinating, and I’m still writing about hawks (http://mepowell.com/blog/the-hawks-of-hawk/). 

Following Welsh mythology, Hyw can use his empathetic gift to gain insight and even control over any animal. Owls, rabbits, and foxes become his eyes and ears as the people move farther into North Wales, trying to escape the onslaught of English soldiers. A fox even orchestrates a meeting between the former prince Llywelyn and his brother, using Hyw as a medium between the world of the Old Ones and the royal princes. Hyw’s relationship with the animal world, and his hereditary ability as it evolves throughout the story, is meant to be one of give and take. I also wanted Hyw’s special power to ring true as a survival skill for any hunter-gatherer people, who felt more comfortable living on their land than in the stone castles of the so-called civilized English. 

Someone once asked me, how did the Welsh survive a genocidal invasion like the one in 1282? In my story, they survive through their connection with the land and the help of its animals.

About the author:
Marie Powell is the author of 30 published books, including the young adult historical fantasy Hawk (Five Rivers, 2015) and Hawk and Crown (Five Rivers, 2016). She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and her award-winning short stories and poetry appear in such literary magazines as subTerrain, Room, and Transition. She lives in Saskatchewan,
and her writing workshops are popular across the province. 

Read more about Hawk and Welsh history on her blog.

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