The Final Reckoning by Chris Bishop
Despite Alfred’s great victory at Edington, Wessex is far from secure.
With the threat of an imminent Viking attack, Matthew, now a warrior, is sent to fortify and defend the ford at Leatherhead. There, hopelessly outnumbered, he faces his sternest test as he and a small band of barely trained Saxon warriors strive to hold out long enough for help to arrive or resolve to die trying.
In a time ravaged by political uncertainty, Matthew is placed in intense personal danger as he is also ordered to investigate the tyranny of the Ealdorman’s stepson and dispense justice as he sees fit.
With his life still threatened by the wound to his chest, what is asked of him seems more than any man should endure as he faces . . . The Final Reckoning
Interview with Chris Bishop
Where did the inspiration come from for your new release?
The Final Reckoning is the concluding part of a trilogy entitled the Shadow of the Raven so, strictly speaking, the inspiration stems from the first two books in the series. However, the initial inspiration came whilst I was writing a short ghost story based on a team of archaeologists who find the grave of a young boy in a remote and lonely place. As I tried to write it, the ghost of the boy seemed to take over the story – so much so that it felt like he was guiding my pen. There’s a blog about that on my website (www.chrisbishopauthor.com) under the heading of The Origin of the Seriesbut it was a rare and truly extraordinary experience.
How does it feel to know your characters are out and about in reader’s imaginations?
Given the rather violent tendencies of certain characters it’s a worrying prospect! Actually, the main ones are merely responding to what was a violent and uncertain era. That said, I’ve tried to show that not everyone in Anglo Saxon times was hell bent on rape and pillage – even the Vikings. It was a time of huge cultural upheaval and people needed enormous courage and resilience just to survive – so maybe there’s a lesson in that for us all even today.
Do you miss writing about them?
Yes and no. I’m actually working on a fourth book which, although not part of the trilogy, neatly ties up all the loose ends. This is more for my own satisfaction than anything and I’m not yet sure whether it will be published. I just feel that having got to know them, I owe it to all my characters to complete their story.
What was your publishing journey highlight?
Without doubt it was the publication of Book One (Blood and Destiny). I always wanted to write a novel but had a very demanding career and a family to consider before I could look to my own personal ambitions. Prior to that I had quite a lot of success with writing short stories but collected my share of rejection slips along the way. My stories included a range of different genres but history has always been my main interest and the Anglo Saxon period in particular so it was almost inevitable that when I got the chance to write a novel it would be about that.
What was the last book that made you laugh out loud?
I tend not to read much when I’m writing but went to a talk by Bill Bryson and afterwards read his book ‘Notes From A Small Island.’ That certainly raised more than a few smiles.
What was the last book that made you cry?
Not cry exactly, but I read ‘Birds Without Wings’ (Louis de Bernieres) whilst travelling through Turkey where the book is set. I found it very moving.
If you were on an island for a year what two books would you bring?
Ha! I’d hate to be stranded anywhere for a year so would choose a book on how to build a raft and one with all the charts I’d need to get me home!
Lastly, what is your favourite book quote?
Not exactly a quote from the text of a book but something which I remember from when I read ‘The Lost World’ as a boy.
‘I have wrought my simple plan
If I bring one hour of joy
To a boy who’s half a man
Or a man who’s half a boy.’
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World).
That has stuck with me over the years and, even today, seems to summarise my own aspirations when writing.
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