Author A.F. Henley was kind enough to come onto my blog and write about a subject near and dear to my heart: historical fantasy and alternative histories.
The question was: do you consider Honour to be historical fantasy or alternative history? The answer is: Yes.
The cynic in me will insist that all romantic fiction is fantasy. The romantic in me however, will shut that cynic down and cage it back where it belongs. Then the romantic in me will step forward, smile at the assembly, and tell everyone that Honour is an alternative history that holds its placement in the early-mid 1600's of England.
I've stated in an earlier blog that I am no history major. I promise not to bore you with too many dates or facts as that would end up irking me probably more than it would you. There was research, however. And I tried to keep Honour as true to the time constraints as I possibly could. (Even if I did spend far too much time avoiding, and sifting through, articles about Kate and the babe-to-be. Seriously Google? I specifically said 1600's.)
Since 1936, succession to the British throne is governed both by common law and statute. Common law states that the crown is inherited by male-preference cognatic primogeniture. (Did I lose anyone there?) That means that succession passes to the king's/queen's individual sons, in birth order, then to their daughters, also in birth order. This law was modified in 2011 to eliminate gender preference, but back in the day your first-born son was everything. Let's just say Little Prince First-out-of-the-Womb Whomever didn't get the option of choosing not to be part of Daddy's business. The Prince of Wales (born in 1948) was the first individual listed as an official successor to the British throne.
Emmett eyed Andrewe through the dark. "You have a duty to your people."
"I do?" Andrewe laughed, "Who am I? Am I the great and powerful man that my father is? Am I this country's saviour and protector? I will never be the king my father expects. I am so far different to him that it is as though we were born of separate worlds. England deserves a good and strong ruler. It deserves more than I."
Black's Law Dictionary defines the Sumptuary Law as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." They were supposedly put in place to regulate the balance of trade, limiting the market of expensive imports. Mostly they were an easy way to identify rank and privilege and of ensuring that certain folks did not "dress above their station." In other words, they were a way for those who had to discriminate and stigmatize those who had not.
"Do tell me, sir. Do you wear the fur that lines your jacket as a show of disrespect to the royal family and their ordinances? Or are you merely ignorant to the laws?"
The question startled Emmett. While he was familiar with the decrees regarding who could wear what and the supposed reasoning behind them, Emmett also knew they were rarely challenged and scoffed at by most. Emmett narrowed his eyes and glared at the rider. "I wear the fur, sir, because I like the feel of it against my skin. And the sumptuary laws are both ridiculous and pointless."
High treason is the crime of disloyalty to the Crown. It is one of the most serious of offences, often met with extraordinary punishment because it threatened state security. Before morality and humanity lessened the severity of punishments, traitors were facing drawing and quartering at the worst, hanging at its most common, and banishment at its most lenient.
The Treason Act of 1351 includes:
- the death of the sovereign, or of the sovereign's wife or eldest son and heir;
- violating the sovereign's wife, or the sovereign's eldest unmarried daughter, or the sovereign's eldest son's wife;
- levying war;
- adhering to enemies, and giving aid and/or comfort, be it within the realm or elsewhere;
- killing the King's Chancellor, Treasurer or Justices
"So, Emmett," the king stood, startling Emmett back to the conversation. "This leaves me in a position that I am not comfortable with. If I have you destroyed then my son will never forgive me. He would probably never forgive himself for that matter. And what kind of a king does a broken man make? Surely not a just or wise one? And if I do nothing, how does that look to my people? That their king would allow a traitor to live?"
And finally, the act that made men hide love that should not be hidden, that made men fear retribution for nothing more than an act of affection … the law I like to think that was put in place to ensure the safety of children but which, in my heart, I know had a hell-ton more to do with the nature of those in power:
The Buggery Act
Henry VIII set this act in place in 1533 although it was piloted by Thomas Cromwell. It was for the elimination of unnatural sexual acts against the will of God and man. It was not repealed until 1828.
According to the Act, convicted offenders would suffer such pains of "death and losses and penalties of their good chattels debts lands tenements and hereditaments as felons do according to the Common Laws of this Realm." It also reiterated that, "no person offending in any such offence shall be admitted to his Clergy." (If you're not grinning sideways here, I don't know why.)
Andrewe spoke slowly, quietly. "Then what would be your intention?" Andrewe began to step into Emmett's tub and Emmett's breath rushed from between his lips. Instead of sinking into the water however, Andrewe rested his ass on the board, feet on either side of Emmett's lap.
"Merely your confirmation that I will not meet up with any repercussions. Not everyone agrees with … differing … tastes, shall we say." Emmett looked up and met Andrewe's eyes.
As this is not an official book report and will not, in fact, be a major consideration in this semester's grade (smirk), I will save you all the trouble of linking my research. I will however, gladly offer it if asked. So this, patient readers, is the end of our history lesson for today. I hope it was interesting. I hope it inspired some curiosity in the novel. Oh, and there's a test next Wednesday, be prepared.
There totally is not. Even I am not so cruel as to pull that on you. I will however, thank you for your time and your attentions by offering up an opportunity to win a copy of Honour, in the ebook format of your choice. Anyone who leaves a comment is eligible, assuming they are of legal age and able to legally accept the work, and winners will be selected via a random number generator. The contest will close March 16th.
Also, if I can be so bold, I'll include this for those who are interested:
M/M Historical Romance
Recently docked after a voyage abroad, Emmett wants only to find a warm bed and good food, for himself and the cabin boy he's taken into his care. Those plans are impeded, however, by an altercation in the streets—with a man he realizes too late is England's heir to the throne, Prince Andrewe.
When the encounter unexpectedly leads to a position in the royal household attending the prince, Emmett is not certain what to think. On one hand, it's a reliable income and ensures the safety of his charge. On the other, it's neither the life Emmett knows, nor an environment that he's comfortable in. Left to learn his lessons the hard way, Emmett spends his days contending with a spoiled, infuriating prince who leaves him in a constant tangle of emotions.
Then he begins to hear whispers of treason and must make a choice: defend Prince Andrewe, or betray him.
Available at Less Than Three bookstore