Today, A.M. Manay is talking about her young adult high fantasy novel Hexborn.
Hexborn and the English Reformation
Gasps filled the village Temple as Brother Edmun began reading the king’s declaration regarding his takeover of the Church of Bryn. He stopped and glared at them over the top of the paper until they quieted, then continued. Shiloh, sitting on the front bench, could feel eyes upon her back when he got to the section about the cleanliness laws. Her Da patted her arm and gave her a grin and a wink, and she relaxed.
There was plenty else in the declaration for everyone to get upset about. King Rischar claimed the right to seize church property and to take a portion of the required tithes for the use of the crown. He had expelled the Patriarch on grounds of treason and had seized all of his property in Bryn. All shrines dedicated to Patriarchs, both current and past, were to be destroyed. Rischar claimed the right to appoint bishops and to purge those loyal to the Patriarch. Those priests who refused to accept the king’s headship of the church were to be arrested. Rischar declared his marriage to Mirin annulled. By the time Edmun was finished reading it all, his congregation sat in silent shock.
For the first time in Shiloh’s life, the service did not conclude with a prayer for the Patriarch. The silence lifted as soon the people were dismissed. Every wife in the village shook her head and clucked her tongue. Shiloh eavesdropped as she helped Edmun put away the chalice and scrolls, the candles and incense.
“If Queen Mirin can be tossed aside, any one of us could . . . This Zina he’s marrying. She musta put him up to this . . . I’ll be damned if I’m sharing me table with the Unclean. I don’t care what that paper says . . . In the Teeth, we keep to the old ways. Who’s gonna stop us? Lord Blackmine never sets foot in our hills. Afraid of the Feralfolk, most like . . . The Ferals sup with the Unclean, ye know . . . Say what you want about the Usurper, but she never tried to take over the holy church . . . You can bet the tithes will go up, now the king’s got his fingers in ‘em . . . Me mum taught me the Patriarch of the Holy Church was the Elder reborn. I’m supposed to stop believin’ it on account of some letter from the City?”
I am a sucker for historical fiction, and as a Catholic turned Presbyterian who is married to a Hindu, and as someone who attended thirteen years of Catholic school, I have an interest in the Protestant Reformation. Last year marks 500 years since Martin Luther upended Christianity, so it seems especially appropriate to be releasing a fantasy novel inspired, in part, by the mingled political and religious conflicts swirling around the acts of rebellion against the Roman Catholic Church. I was particularly influenced by the English Reformation and the actions of Henry VIII.
Much like Henry VIII, King Rischar of Bryn has a wife he wants rid of and a religious leader who won’t permit him to cast her aside. He is also in need of gold, and the Church has plenty. Thus, he kicks out the Church’s supreme religious leader, called the Patriarch, and declares himself head of the church in Bryn. Like Henry, he is more interested in expediency and gaining wealth than he is in changes to theology or ritual. Some of his advisors are, however, genuinely interested in reforming some religious abuses, and the king goes along with some of their desired changes.
Also, as in Henry’s case, conflict ensues. Priests and noblemen are purged, imprisoned, and exiled for continuing to support the Patriarch. Even many ordinary people continue to support the Holy Father in secret. The conflict simmers below the surface and occasionally erupts into violence, and it helps to motivate an incipient rebellion that the main characters in Hexborn are attempting to quash.
Do you have any favorite works of fiction inspired by actual historical events? Share them in the comments, and then please do head over to Kindle Scout to nominate Hexborn for publication. Remember you’ll receive a free copy of any book you nominate that is chosen! Many thanks to my host and to all of you!
A.M. Manay biography
A.M. Manay is an award-winning fantasy author in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a wife and mother in a multi-racial family, a lover of comic book movies, a Lupus warrior, a Clerk of Session, and a 9Round enthusiast.
She loves to write page-turning stories with complex, diverse characters who inhabit interesting worlds.
Author Links for A.M. Manay
For anyone who leaves a comment EVERY DAY of her blog tour, you will go into a drawing for an autographed paperback of her YA FANTASY NOVEL: “HEXBORN.”