Alvar the Kingmaker has had a makeover. When my novel To Be A Queen underwent a similar 'face lift' it was to coincide with the 1100th anniversary of her death and there were lots of events to commemorate that date, including the Tamworth Literary Festival, where I was a guest speaker.
There isn't a 'special' anniversary for Alvar, other than that on November 23 955 Edwy - the 'Fairchild' - became king, and that's really the start of Alvar's story.
So, what's 'Alvar' all about? Well, it's based on real events and almost all the characters are real historical figures.
10th-Century England is rocked by scandal when the young king is caught in bed with his wife - and her mother.
Nobleman Alvar knows that securing the throne for the young and worthy prince Edgar will brand him an oath-breaker. As a fighting man, he is indispensable to the new sovereign, but his success and power gain him deadly, murderous enemies: Abbot Dunstan, banished, recalled, and in no mood to forgive; Bishop Oswald, the ambitious foreigner who will let nothing stand in his way. They must not discover Alvar’s secret love for the wife of his deputy, whilst Alvar must keep her safe, and serve and protect the queen, who is in love with him and who harbours a dark secret of her own…
Civil war erupts, and Alvar once again finds himself the only man capable of setting a new king upon the throne of England, an act which comes at great personal cost. His career began with a dishonourable deed to help a good king; now he must be loyal to a new king, Æthelred, whom he knows will be weak, and whose supporters have been accused of regicide. Can he bring about peace, reconcile with his enemies, and find personal happiness, whilst all the time doing his duty to his loved ones?
My story in Betrayal is called Love to Hatred Turn'd, and concerns Dunstan, who features heavily in Alvar the Kingmaker: Alyeva and Dunstan have grown up together. Dunstan’s calling to serve God and king means he must leave their childhood home, but his path is not easy and she wants to protect him. Dunstan’s ambitious brother will do whatever it takes to further his own career, something that Alyeva learns to her cost. There are powerful factions at court, and murderous plots afoot. Alyeva is entangled in them and she must try to break free and, more importantly, attempt to prevent a killing that will have far-ranging repercussions. In the court of the Anglo-Saxon kings, danger lurks around every corner and the skill is in learning whom to trust...
So, I thought it would be a good time to update the Alvar cover.
The Historical Fictioneers have a dedicated Facebook group which we'd love you to join and so this post is partly to tell you all about that.