The Du Lac Chronicles : Book 1
Mary Anne Yarde
“An evocative, timeless saga of love and betrayal”
Tony Riches, author of The Tudor Trilogy
Amazon #1 Best Seller in Young Adult, Medieval Fiction
AD 495, Wessex, Briton.
If all you had left was your heart, would you give it to your enemy?
A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
The powerful Saxon King, Cerdic of Wessex, has spent the last twenty years hunting down Arthur’s noble knights. He is determined to secure his kingdom against any reprisals for killing their legendary leader. The knights who have survived the genocide are destined to spend the rest of their lives in hiding, never revealing who they really are.
The only knight who refused to be intimidated by this Saxon invader was Lancelot du Lac. Lancelot and Cerdic formed a fragile truce, but Lancelot has been dead these past eight years and it has fallen to his sons to protect Briton from the ambitions of the Saxon King.
Alden du Lac, the once king of Cerniw and son of Lancelot, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. Cerdic has had Alden tied to a post and ordered his skin to be lashed from his back. In the morning, if Alden is still alive, he is to be executed.
Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex, has been secretly in love with Alden for what seems like forever. She will not stand by and see him die. She defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves from her father’s dungeons. Alden and Annis flee Wessex together.
To the horror of Alden’s few remaining allies, he has given his heart to the daughter of his enemy. Alden’s allies see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon witch with her claws in a broken, wounded king.
Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.
Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking—so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!
Inside the Writer’s Mind ~ Mary Anne Yarde. The Du Lac Chronicles
Q1 – SDB: Writing can be a daunting prospect, what made you decide to share your story with the world?
MAY: I grew up just outside of Glastonbury ~ The Ancient Isle of Avalon ~ England. The stories of King Arthur and his Knights were very much a part of my childhood ~ he was everywhere. I knew the stories of Arthur from a very young age and as a teen, I became fascinated with his life.
For me, Arthur embodies an almost utopia age. Everything he stands for, everything he did, had such an impact, that we are still talking about him today. He was a hero, and we all need heroes.
The problem with researching Arthur is that there is a very blurry line between what is real and what is fictitious. But the one thing, which I found the most frustrating, wasn’t the lack of evidence, but the actual story itself, particularly with regards to the ending. King Arthur is betrayed by Lancelot, and then he is betrayed by Mordred. Arthur is fatally wounded at the Battle of Camlann. He is taken to Avalon, and we never hear of Arthur again. As for his knights…if they were lucky enough to survive the battle, they simply disappeared or became hermits.
That was the best the great poets could come up with? I’m sorry, but that ending sucks! The Knights stopped being knights? I don’t buy it and I never will.
I came up with an idea for a book that told the story of what happened after King Arthur’s death. My favourite knight has always been Lancelot, and I wanted to create a world for his children ~ a world for the next generation of Du Lacs and Pendragons. I didn’t realise then, that it would take me another 12 years to actually have a manuscript that I thought was worth sharing with the world. Publishing wasn’t so much of a daunting experience as a necessary one. I had sat on this story for too long.
Q2 – SDB: Who has influenced you as an author?
MAY: I am an avid reader. I love the books by Nicholas Evans and Nicholas Sparks. They both write such beautifully emotive prose that I cannot help but admire them.
Q3 – SDB: What is your writing method? Do you outline first or do you purge your brain on paper until your story is told?
MAY: I made a plan once. It took me ages, several months in fact. Once I was happy with the plan I sat down at my computer, looked at my notes and thought ~ oh screw this! I threw the notes away and just started writing. I do have a rough plan in my head and I will jot down the odd sentence that I think would work well later on in the book, but apart from that. I just sit down at the computer and bleed!
Q4 – SDB: How long does it take you to write your story, from getting it down on paper to publishing?
MAY: The Du Lac Chronicles, from start to finish, took me 12 years. The second book in the trilogy, which is due out later this year, took me about six months. Hey, I think I’m getting quicker at this writing game!
Q5 – SDB: Can you tell me a little bit about your book(s) without giving away too much? Why should I read it?
MAY: I would be honoured to tell you about my books…
A generation after the fall of Arthur Pendragon, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
Eighteen-year-old, Alden du Lac, Lancelot’s son, ruled the tiny Kingdom of Cerniw. Now he half-hangs from a wooden pole, his back lashed into a mass of bloody welts exposed to the cold of a cruel winter night.
When Alden notices a shadowy figure approaching, he assumes death has come to end his pain. Instead, the daughter of his enemy, Cerdic of Wessex, frees and hides him, her motives unclear.
Annis has loved Alden since his ill-fated marriage to her Saxon cousin ~ a marriage that ended in blood and guilt ~ and she would do anything to protect him. Annis’s rescue of Alden traps them between a brutal Saxon king and Alden’s remaining allies. Meanwhile, unknown forces are carefully manipulating the ruins of Arthur’s legacy.
If you love romance, adventure, intrigue and King Arthur’s knights, then check out The Du Lac Chronicles to find out what happened after King Arthur died. I promise you there are not any hermits. Well there is one, but he doesn’t come into the story until much later on in the trilogy!
Q6 – SDB: How much of yourself is in your character(s)?
MAY: It would be wrong to say that there is nothing of me in the characters. I do draw on my life experience…
…there was that terribly traumatic incident where I was chased by a Saxon Army, so I know exactly what that feels like! Rescuing gorgeous men from dungeons is an everyday occurrence for me as well…and…I do have big knees!
Joking aside, I think out of all the characters in The Du Lac Chronicles, I am most like Merton du Lac. He is incredibly loyal, good looking – well, obviously! He is also very sarcastic ~ Umm…I’m not known for my sarcasm. Maybe he isn’t like me after all?!
Q7 – SDB: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
MAY: You have absolutely nothing to lose by writing your story, so stop making excuses as to why you can’t and just go for it.
Q8 – SDB: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
MAY: Yes. I think it is about time that we all learnt how to make pottage. Making pottage is an art and one that we have all but forgotten. It was the staple diet for the poor in the Dark Ages. All you need is whatever you can get your hands on ~ any vegetables you happen to have growing in your garden. If you don’t have any vegetables, you can steal some from your Overlord, but make sure you don’t get caught, because you might lose your hand, or worse, your head.
Throw all of your ingredients into a big pot…a cauldron will do, like the one witches use. Hang the cauldron over an open fire and slowly heat up the pottage, don’t let it boil. Remember if the stew boils the stew spoils ~ oh hang, on, I think my home economics teacher was talking about milk when she said that. Have I told you I hate cooking?
The joy of pottage is that it can last you for days, and you can keep adding things to it, so that bit of venison you poached the other day, can be added in quickly before anyone notices the deer is missing!
What could be better? It is the Dark Ages equivalent of fast-food. Wholesome and Nutritious. Now please eat, because the King’s Soldiers are coming and this may well be your last ever meal in this world.
Thanks for having me on your blog!! Right…now what was I doing? Oh, curses…the pottage is boiling, the pottage is boiling!!