To celebrate the official launch of The Eagle and The Raven, Maggie Shaw shares an exclusive sneak peak at what lies behind her newest book cover.
1. Please could you give us a brief overview of the story… (of course we’ll keep the ending a surprise!)
When Knight Gendal offers to take a message to a remote clan in 14th Century Bavaria, the act of kindness ignites a revolt. Knight Gendal and travelling companion Sir Rehlein get drawn into the fight to free Count Bertram and the Children of the Raven from the despotic rule of Nicolaus, Duke of Danuvia. Despite their best efforts, their plans to avoid armed conflict drag them ever faster towards the battle that could cost them all their lives.
This action-packed sequel to “The Eagle and The Butterfly” sees Gendal living out the commission given in that story, to help the poor and fight injustice, in an exciting adventure where mysticism and faith must compete with survival.
2. What inspired you to write this story?
Reading “The Cloister and The Hearth” by Charles Reade (1861) while I was recovering from a serious road accident that kept me in hospital for nearly four months.
I little thought when I was completing the first draft, how relevant to today its Christian Socialist criticism of medieval politics would become, as our society polarising further and further apart, driven by those who have, against the rest who don’t matter.
3. Who is your favourite character?
Widow Astra. I love her ‘cunning of the court’ which is so much wilier than the protagonist Gendal’s ‘cunning of the road.
4. What’s your favourite part of the book?
Gendal’s dangerous attempt to rescue Count Bertram from the dungeon in the castle at Aunsberg.
5. What does the title mean?
The Eagle and The Raven are both heraldic symbols. They appear on the pennants, shields, surcoats and tabards of some of the main characters. The Eagle represents the hero Gendal, who in theprevious book was reborn as an eagle after being a butterfly. The Raven represents the people of Rabenwald, particularly their leader, Count Bertram, whose name means Bright Raven.
6. What did you learn when writing the book?
Just how heavy a medieval longsword is to handle. The warriors who fought in long battles using them, must have had incredible upper body strength. I also learned a lot of other facts about 14th century weapons and armour, such as the weight of a brigandine jacket and the rattling noise its metal plates make when being worn. Great for protection, not so useful for stealth.
We hope you enjoy this exciting new novel as much as Maggie did writing it. Shop The Eagle and The Raven here.