I am currently working on a historical fiction series set in the early years of the Hundred Years War in medieval England and France. It follows the lives of two remarkable characters in the service of Edward III.
For an author seeking to portray the full scope of human tragedy, the tumultuous fourteenth century is a time period ripe with possibilities. Dynastic squabbles, the Hundred Years War, severe climate change, and the widespread devastation of the Black Death made it a time of unparalleled suffering that was arguably unmatched until the coming of our own twentieth century.
The warlike Edward III was a product of this unsettling period in history. Propelled to the throne in a bloody overthrow of his father at the hands of his mother, Isabella, and her ambitious paramour, Roger Mortimer, his was to be a reign that was steeped in blood and violence. At the tender age of eighteen he cunningly infiltrated Nottingham Castle through a hidden subterranean passage, seized Mortimer and sent him to his death by hanging at Tyburn.
His own master at last, he sought to return England to the relative position of strength it had attained under his illustrious grandfather, Edward I. In doing so, he initiated wars with both Scotland and France, the latter of which would smolder on well past his death in 1377. The remarkable campaign that resulted in the stunning victory at Crécy, the subject of the first book in the series, was only a single chapter in this long, drawn-out conflict.