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Medieval Musings. Paul J Bennett's Weekly Newsletter

On the Homefront

This week saw us picking up a new gazebo for our back yard. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, I’m talking about a metal frame covered in canvas, much like a large tent, not the wooden or completely metal ones. As we have never had one before, we choose a used one for a reasonable price and set about assembling it. It went together quite easily, but as it came without instructions, it was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. Luckily, there were quite a few of us working on it, so we had it sorted out in short order.

It now sits in our backyard, with some wicker furniture, ready for us to go out and enjoy it. Today, we settled down for some tea, only to discover that the WiFi connection is too weak! Ah well, you can’t have it all. I suppose we’ll have to keep our eyes open for a wireless repeater.


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This Week's Review: Midway (2019)

This review is for the 2019 version of Midway, directed by Roland Emmerich and starring quite a few well-known actors. I have to admit being a little hesitant about this one, as I really enjoyed the 1976 version, which I consider a classic. Having said that, I must say that this new version does a fantastic job of presenting the famous battle. The acting is superb, and I was particularly surprised by Woody Harrelson, who portrayed Chester Nimitz.

The characters are all based on real people, unlike the 1976 version that added some extras to lend more drama to the storyline. The real star, however, is the special effects. At first, I found them a little jarring. I can’t really say why, but they just seemed a little forced in the early part of the movie.

Once the battle gets underway, however, they fit perfectly. They’ve also done an excellent job rendering historically accurate ships and planes. The dogfighting scenes are first-rate, and  I would put them up there with The Battle of Britain (which I still think is the best movie about aerial combat ever filmed).

If you like war movies that depict historically accurate events, yet still give you lots of action and adventure, then this is the movie for you.

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A Look Back at 

Mercerian Tales: Stories of the Past

In May of 2018, I had just finished writing Sword of the Crown and was busy outlining the next book, which would become Heart of the Crown. In Sword, I introduced the character of Albreda and the fact that she 'owed' Baron Fitzwilliam for something. My notes contained all sorts of information on that very subject, and yet Sword didn't feel like the right place to reveal it. Thus was born the idea of telling some 'background' stories, with the four-part story entitled Fitz and the Witch becoming the anchor for the book

The second tale I included was a rough storyline that I had initially intended for Sword but removed to allow for better pacing. Beverly and the Bandit King was the result.

I could have written this as a simple book of short stories, but I felt the need to connect them somehow. That way, I could explain a few things that might not be apparent. The interludes, as I called them, place the book firmly between Sword and Heart (Book 2.5 to be precise), and yet the stories are all in the past, hence the name of the book.

I think the most challenging and rewarding of the stories was A Dogs Tale. I had always had a background in mind for Tempus but needed some way to tell it. Albreda's presence, and the fact that she could communicate with animals, not only led to a unique recounting but also contributed to the later book, Mercerian Tales: The Call of Magic.

Book of the Week

"I am captivated by the characters and the time period. It is hard to put down and as soon as I turned the last page I bought the next book." - SPeck

Stories of the Past: In a land where true heroism is more likely to be rewarded with accusations of treason, comes a recounting of past adventures by the unsung heroes of the realm.

It all begins innocently enough; a cool night, a warm fire, and finally, a moment to relax after saving the kingdom. Then, one by one they reminisce about the defining moments of their lives.

From meeting a witch willing to sacrifice all in defense of her companions, to the discovery of hereunto unknown creature preying on the hapless villagers of Mattingly, to the act of simply falling off a horse changing the future of the realm, their accounts are spellbinding.

The tales seem to grow with each new chronicler; their past exploits soon to become the stuff legends are made of. Just when it appears the night is over, the final surprising tales unfold, leaving everyone speechless.

Mercerian Tales: Stories of the Past, more than just a collection of short stories, falls chronologically between books two and three of the Heir to the Crown series, but can be read at any time. If you like legendary creatures, bold manoeuvers, and witty banter, then you will love Paul J Bennett's recollections of days gone by.

Pick up your copy of Mercerian Tales: Stories of the Past today, and pull up a chair!

Read Stories of the Past Today

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Congrats to Sara for winning last week's eBook Giveaway! She, like most of you, preferred the new cover for Heart of the Crown. 

Remember, all you need to do answer the question below, then you will automatically be entered into the Giveaway to win your choice of any of my ebooks, even the upcoming Temple Knight!

Work in Progress Update

Fury of the Crown has now reached the 2/3 done mark (over 85,000 words already). The story has taken an unexpected turn that wasn’t in the original outline, but it definitely adds an exciting twist. Ultimately, it is about people, and the way they handle adversity, a continuing theme throughout the series.

The invasion of Norland was a foregone conclusion after the events of Defender of the Crown, but planning such an undertaking and then successfully executing it are two very different things. This time around, they also face an opponent who knows his stuff. No longer will the Mercerians ride roughshod over the enemy; this fight will be difficult and costly.

Will they have enough to win through in the end? You’ll have to wait and see. Of course, the series will continue with more books, so not everything will be wrapped up in this one!

If I can stay on schedule, I should be finished in two weeks, but I do have some editing to do on Flames to ensure it releases on time in October.

Well, I’d best get back to work.

Until next time, here is another excerpt from

Flames, The Frozen Flame: Book Three

By late afternoon, Durgash pronounced the food ready to be eaten, and the celebration began. The atmosphere was festive, and it looked like the Ancestors had finally guided them to their new home, where food was plentiful and enemies scarce.

All that changed in an instant as Shaluhk sat, crafting the milk of life, grinding her ingredients before adding them to water. Agar, close by, was using his wooden axe to try and cut down a branch. The first sign of trouble was a distant snort. Shaluhk froze, her mother's instincts immediately on the alert. Abandoning her work, she rushed towards her son just as a large creature burst from the woods.

It was easily the biggest living being she had ever seen putting even the horses of the Human knights to shame. Within its massive muzzle, long and tapered like that of a horse, it bore sharp, pointed teeth that looked quite able to tear flesh with ease. Even more strange was its flattened, bony head, giving it the appearance of a boar. It ran on stubby legs, shorter than that of a horse, but stronger, likely built for endurance rather than speed. All of this was covered by coarse hair that tufted along the beast's back.

It raced towards Agar, letting out a terrifying roar. The tiny Orc wheeled about, facing the threat with his axe held ready, screaming out a cry of defiance.

Shaluhk crossed the distance in a flash, scooping him up into her arms just before she threw herself behind a tree. The creature roared past, the ground thundering as it rushed by.

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