Thursday, 16 February 2012

Hostage to Fortune

My comments in January about Falconer ageing in the stories at more or less the same rate as real time, reminded me of the incautious way I ended the first Falconer story in 1994.  As an epilogue, I wanted to give readers the feeling that all the characters in the story were real by telling them what happened to the main protagonists after the story finished.
Of course, some of my characters were real people.  Thomas de Cantilupe did exist, and after being Chancellor of Oxford University, became Chancellor of the Realm.  Sadly, his association with Simon de Montfort brought that role to an end after Simon was defeated by Henry III.  However, Thomas survived and eventually was a trusted advisor to Edward I.  All that is made clear in my epilogue to Falconer's Crusade.  I continued to use the names of the actual Chancellors of the university at the relevant times in future stories.  So, Nicholas de Ewelme, Thomas Bek, and William de Bosco have put in appearances.  I have ascribed particular temperaments to each one, some not very flattering, though they were real people.  I apologise to their shades if they feel offended.
Other characters were made up by me, some only appeared in one story, some being recurring characters.  Peter Bullock is a case in point.  As constable of Oxford, he has been a particularly close friend of Falconer's.  And in my first novel, I stated in the epilogue that he died in 1274 in a very particular way.  At the time (1994), I little thought this would present me with a problem, not imagining the Falconer stories would have such longevity.  Or that I would stick to a realistic time-frame in writing more.
In my  latest Falconer (number 9), which I am writing at the moment, I have reached 1274.  In fact I have gone past it by a year. For various reasons, based on actual historical events, Rain of Blood is set in 1275.  Now my careless assertion in the first Falconer eighteen years ago has come back to haunt me.  I must kill Peter Bullock off...Or must I?  Will anyone notice?  What do you think?