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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The REAL King Richard III's back & the Cumberbatch Film

Shakespeare's Richard III has given people a lot of  what they know (or think they know) about the last Plantagenet King. (In fact the play may have been based on Shakespeare's contemporary Robert Cecil as much as Richard.) Of course more recent books and organisations have tried to redress the balance...while the play continues on as it always has, providing  entertainment. (It was never meant to be history!)
I have no real problems with Shaky's  classic play, regarding it as what it is--fiction and partial fantasy.
However I was less than enamoured to see the  recent pictures from  the Benedict Cumberbatch Hollow Crown version, which are meant to depict Richard III's back.
Richard did of course have scoliosis, a sideways curvature. He was 'fortunate' enough that it was a large C curve that missed his internal organs and left his neck and lower spine straight, resulting in a normally placed head and straight hips. The only mention of his appearance was a 'raised right shoulder', hardly something significant or  even that unusual; medieval archers for instance  often had unequal shoulders from drawing the bow constantly.
However, this new production is filled with grotesque prosthetics that look like they could have come from Alien! I have never seen anyone's scoliosis look anything like that and yes, and I know several people including family who have significant scoliosis. A bit of a kick in the teeth for anyone who suffers a spinal problem and  more than a bit insensitive. It's not as if it's a disorder  suffered only by one 15th century King! About 4 in a thousand people have it  to some degree including  athlete Usain Bolt,  actress Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy), Princes Eugenie, Elizabeth Taylor and Kurt Cobain. It is almost always able to be concealed by clothing. It is not a 'hunchback' (a term I hate as it is as disrespectful as 'cripple' etc etc) which is another condition called kyphosis.

  Benedict is supposed to be a distant descendant of Richard's  family and had a rather prominent place at the reinterment where he read out a poem. That actually makes me feel sad, that he now is participating in what promises to be an even more grotesque and overblown version of Shakespeare, that takes the calumnies already heaped on Richard and intensifies them tenfold.
  I know actors need jobs, lol, and they only have limited say on the ins and outs of their character, but he was apparently  insistant on keeping his anachronistic and rather silly looking modern hair cut for the later part of the show (as he didn't like himself with long hair-hey, I though he was playing a character, not himself) , while evidently  not worrying about  having some gruesome looking prosthetics lumped on his back. Strange.
 Maybe the production should donate some money to a scoliosis charity; certain it seems as if research and understanding is in short supply here....

   

Saturday, 30 April 2016

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Plantagenet-Book-Two-Loyaulte-ebook/dp/B01ESBD2GA/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51P8sXBlraL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_UX300_PJku-sticker-v3%2CTopRight%2C0%2C-44_OU02_AC_UL160_SR93%2C160_&refRID=131WNHSKSBXB08WMC4HP

I, RICHARD PLANTAGENET :LOYAULTE ME LIE My latest novel about Richard III, written in first person for Richard's point of view. Combined with its prequel, this is probably the second or third longest novel ever written on Richard's life, and has the most recent information--ie regarding the battle of  Bosworth and Richard's last moments.
In writing it, I tried to have a well rounded character, neither the psycho Shakespearean version or a glum, solemn 'saintly' figure who seemed to have never had even one iota of happiness or enjoyment. I also tried to include incidents and minor events that have been generally skipped over by other authors as they aim for the big denoument.
My strong point in my writing has always been in creating a sense of 'place', of people in their landscape, and it was a real pleasure to a history buff like me to research how various buildings no longer extant may have appeared in Richard's day.
 The new book has been selling steadily since release and has been between 6-25 in the biographical historical fiction category.
Part 1 I, RICHARD PLANTAGENET-TANTE LE DESIREE (about Richard as Duke of Gloucester)  has continued to sell strongly too!
Books are presently in  kindle on Amazon, and print versions are just beginning to appear on the various Amazon sites.
#RichardIII #plantagenets #historicalfiction #warsoftheroses. #Bosworth



Thursday, 28 April 2016

AUTHOR J.P. REEDMAN-Historical fiction & fantasy. STONEHENGE & RICHARD III

http://www.amazon.com/J.P.-Reedman/e/B009UTHBUE


My author page on Amazon.com.
Please look to see my  various stories, long and short.

STONEHENGE/PREHISTORY : STONE LORD and MOON LORD--novels set in the era of Stonehenge.
GODS OF STONEHENGE-non fiction, mythology, anthropology

RICHARD III-
I, RICHARD PLANTAGENET, parts 1 and 2. Epic novel for those who like Sharon Penman, Rosemary  Hawley Jarman etc. Not Shakesapare's monster but not a sullen 'saint' either. Bawdy, bloody, lighter account of the Wars of the Roses
SACRED KING- historical fantasy about Richard III's last days, the Afterlife and his return in Leicester
WHITE ROSES, GOLDEN SUNNES. Collection of short stories covering Richard's life from birth onwards

and many more!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

ONE BRONZE AGE KING WAS THE 'FATHER' OF WESTERN EUROPE

Not really a surprise. It has becoming gradually clear that incoming peoples settling and trading throughout western Europe around the time of the 'Beaker horizon' were, although not in  huge number, highly successful genetically especially in the male line, indicating a strong elite.The older neolithic y-dna such as G began to falter and diminish before the advent of  R1b, the most common western Y-dna (especially common in Britain (upwards of 65% England to over 90% of Welsh men; Ireland (as high as nr 100% in western Ireland), Iberia, France, and anywhere that has a connection to the Atlantic coasts (Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark and even the very westernmost tip of Norway.)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/04/25/half-of-british-men-descended-from-one-bronze-age-king/

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

MY NAME IS NOT MIDNIGHT : Sister Agrippa--Teacher from Hell



 QUEST FOR THE ROSE HAS NOW BEEN REVISED AND RETITLED 'MY NAME IS NOT MIDNIGHT. It also has a new cover.

The following post  refers to the terrifying antagonist, Agrippa





The Quest For The Rose: Sister Agrippa--Teacher from Hell: Sister (in the book Sestren) Agrippa, the antagonist  in QUEST,  is based on a real life teacher of mine, the dreaded Sister Elaine Marie. M...

Saturday, 17 October 2015

GODS OF STONEHENGE - A religion for the megalith builders?


BUY THE BOOK HERE

A short look at mythology and folklore connected with Stonehenge, the world's most famous stone circle, and with other megalithic monuments. 

Who is the sinister 'Bowed One' and what relationship do the bones of a silver-handed saint have to an Irish deity of healing, mist and dogs? Did a Man in the Moon stare down at Stonehenge, and a female sun ride across the skies in a chariot with spoked wheels...or was it the reverse? 
Howling blue hags with single eyes bleary as the setting Midwinter Solstice sun; dancing stones drinking at the river; petrified women, wedding guests and hurlers; spirits out of mounds, benign or malign; healing bluestones and Merlin the Wizard with his stones from the West, desconstructed by 'ingenious devices' before being brought to Salisbury Plain. 

All Folklore mixed with potential folk memory...in which there may be an existing grain of truth about the gods and spirits of ancient Stonehenge.


Monday, 7 September 2015

Newly discovered ‘superhenge’ dwarfs Stonehenge

Newly discovered ‘superhenge’ dwarfs Stonehenge



Learned about this dicovery last year but it has finally been made public. A possible  setting of giant standing stones described as being in a C-shape (is this perhaps a loose representation of the horseshoe shape  in the interior of Stonehenge?) which are between Woodhenge and Durrington Walls. Some may still be in situ, others just leaving massive holes. The henge back of DW covered them, when it seemed to have been erected in what appears to be a 'closing ceremony' that decomissioned the monument.

Friday, 7 August 2015

WHAT GODS DID THE PEOPLE OF STONEHENGE WORSHIP?



A short look at mythology and folklore connected with Stonehenge, the world's most famous stone circle, and with other megalithic monuments. 

Who is the sinister 'Bowed One' and what relationship do the bones of a silver-handed saint have to an Irish deity of healing, mist and dogs? Did a Man in the Moon stare down at Stonehenge, and a female sun ride across the skies in a chariot with spoked wheels...or was it the reverse? 

Howling blue hags with single eyes bleary as the setting Midwinter Solstice sun; dancing stones drinking at the river; petrified women, wedding guests and hurlers; spirits out of mounds, benign or malign; healing bluestones and Merlin the Wizard with his stones from the West, deconstructed by 'ingenious devices' before being brought to Salisbury Plain. 

All Folklore mixed with potential folk memory...in which there may be an existing grain of truth about the gods and spirits of ancient Stonehenge. 

Nodens and St Melor of Amesbury, drinking and dancing stones, plus a selection of tales of 'barrow ghosts.'
I hope you enjoy!

J.P.R




Tuesday, 7 April 2015

PREQUEL TO STONE LORD, BASED IN PREHISTORIC BRITTANY

Yes, this is an exclusive folks! After a small sabbatical focusing on writing for a few other subjects, I have decided to return back to my STONEHENGE SAGA and write a prequel.

No details as yet other than this will expand An'Kelet's story, as a Breton Dagger Prince. It is likely to either be a long, short-story, or novella length, and Kindle format only.






Sunday, 1 February 2015

IMBOLC,BRIDGET & TARA BOY



Today is February first, the Feast of Imbolc, one of the four Cross Quarter Days. One of the major 'celtic' festivals, it seems, like the other three, to potentially have much older roots. Even the name has a certain primal ring, with the meaning of 'bag', perhaps refering to a 'pregnant belly' as in livestock giving birth (it is often called the Feast of Lambing; however in Scotland, because of the bleakness of the time of the year, it is also known as Death-Month.)
  Of couse Imbolc is sacred to Brighid, first the triadic goddess, and then the Saint, whose cross is the lightning/fire 'swastica' symbol found from bronze Ireland and Britain to prehistoric India.A goddess of the sacred fire, she was also associated with smithying--interesting to find a female deity connected what is traditionally seen as a male craft.
   The saint Brighid, whose cult became firmly entangled with that of the pagan goddess, has a fascinating story to do with her skull, which was carried in 1283 to Portugal  and venerated there. Apparently the Portuguese also took to the Irish saint and honoured her with a rather pagan rite which carried on into fairly modern times--they would drive white cattle in front of her skull on her Feast Day for purification.
  As  for the oldest roots of Imbolc, they appear to be neolithic. Cairn L at Loughcrew seems to have an alignment to both Imbolc and Samhain. More famously, The Mound of the Hostages at Tara also has an alignment to the rising sun at both quarter days.
   The Mound of the Hostages famously figures in many mythological tales, and sits at the heart of the Tara complex, a bridge between the world of the living Kings of Ireland and the world of the Dead Ancestors from the Time Before. As with other passage graves, it contains an array of art, circles and spirals and x-markings.It has an exceptional amount of burials in it for a passage grave, potentially over 200. Approximately  40 have been excavated, and the upper parts of the mound continued to be used for burial into the following bronze age, showing a certain continuity.
   Perhaps the most famous burial there is that of Tara Boy, a young man buried somewhere around 1700 BC in the mound itself. He was buried, in the usual crouched position,  with a variety of trade goods, most famously a composite necklace of faience beads, amber, jet and a bronze bead. At one time the faience was believed to be from Egypt, but new analysis has discounted this idea; however, new study on Tara Boy has shown that he was probably not a local...he could be from the West or Ireland, or potentially western Britain or the western Seaboard from France down to Portugal.  Tara Boy  died at around 14, a short (only 5 ft tall) and very stocky individual who must have had high status despite his youth. (As it is impossible to 100% sex adolescents without dna, there is some chance chance 'he' is female, especially as some of the  gravegoods are more commonly found in female graves...however, the heavy robustness of the bones and shape of the the sciatic notch indicate a male. Tests are ongoing.)
   However, thought Egypt is out of the question for his necklace, Wessex, especially the the area near Stonehenge, is not. Very similar faience beads are found there, as well as bronze or gold coated beads and jet. His other grave goods, a possible awl or razor and a small copper-alloy blade, are also commonly found in graves near to Stonehenge.  So, although he was not from the chalklands near the Henge, he may have visited them or even had ancestry from that area.
   Interestingly, when I was writing MOON LORD, second novel in my Stonehenge saga, I was going to have the character Gal'havad, who died at Newgrange, be buried in the Mound of the Hostages, in a creative re-imagining of the Tara Boy burial. Instead, I had his father Ardhu carry his cremated remains back to Wessex for interment there. Reading about this young elite male burial, who may have indeed had ties with the ancient cultures of Wessex, I wish now that I had gone with my initial idea!

Skull of St Bridget in Portugal
MOON LORD LINK TO AMAZON