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A Journey in Time

"this prison, its walls made of time itself..."

This is how Will sees his long life. For someone who has lived for nearly 800 years and who has been awake for over 400 of them, time must seem like a prison. But for us, his lonely existence provides a journey through time, not only showing the course of history over a millennium but showing how that history is ever present.

"But his mood lifted when he thought of all that had remained the same over the centuries, the city walls, some of its buildings and streets, and above all this church, standing proud like a beacon across time. And the people themselves, some of whom might have stepped with him from his own past, stopping only for a change of clothes."

Of course, the journey starts even earlier than Will's life, and we'll see some of that earlier history in the later books. For now though, we have Asmund who tells Will that he's only 300 years older than him, one of the Viking raiders who would have been a common sight in the 10th Century, looking for opportunities in the volatile but wealthy world of Anglo-Saxon England. The same factors brought the Normans in 1066 and we know that Will's father is descended from those conquering invaders. But we also know that Will's mother was descended from the last of the Anglo-Saxon Earls of Mercia, and through that line also to the Ancient British Kings. Somewhere beyond those furthest misty reaches of history we'll find Lorcan Labraid, but not yet....

For now we fast forward to the birth of William of Mercia in 1240. There are no more invasions to come in England's history but no one was to know that at the time. And the following centuries would see their fair share of conflict, of uprisings and civil war, as well as famine and plague. Will witnesses it all, just as he witnesses the gradual transformation of his beloved city.

He sees his own family's power dwindle, as it loses its titles and then its lands before finally ending in the graves of two childless sisters. In the form of the beautiful Arabella Harriman he sees the emergence of a new aristocracy, the merchant class. And of course, in the present he meets an even newer elite in the form of Rachel and Chris, dotcom millionaires who choose to run a vegan cafe.

That journey through time was a big part of what I wanted to achieve in these books. Through Will's eyes, the reader sees the broad sweep of history, they see how much has changed, but also how much has stayed the same, and how much we are part of that journey, too. We haven't travelled as far as Will perhaps, but we're all on the same road.
  KJ Wignall

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