The Arthurian Saga by Simon Lister
inFrequently Asked Questions
Q: Your books start with - "Winter was coming..." Isn't that a bit like George RR Martin's Game of Thrones?
A: Tragically, and unintentionally, yes. I wrote these books long before Game of Thrones appeared on our tvs and long before I read Mr Martin's excellent books so I can honestly claim it was original, at least to me. Sadly Mr Martin wrote his first GoT's book before I wrote mine so if he feels I'm impinging upon his royalties then I'll consider re-writing the first sentence.
Q: Are these books set in the future?
A: They most certainly are. Take where we are now, go forward a hundred years or so, wipe everything out in a planetary catastrophe and then fast forward a few thousand years. So everything we have and everything we know is almost entirely lost and our species is brought to the brink of extinction. Disparate pockets of people survived and started once again from a Stone Age level of bare survival (the Cithol are the exception to this – they had a slight head start) and gradually worked their way back to the future equivalent of the 5th Century Dark Ages with, at least in Western Europe, Merdynn's help (who had been released from his long imprisonment by the very cataclysm that nearly destroyed us). During the long centuries of slow recovery Merdynn continually searched for the bloodline of legend that would link his present with his past. He finally finds it in the return of Arthur – and just in time too because it's all about to go horribly wrong...
Q: Why does the sun set in the East and rise in the West?
A: Ok, the simple answer is that the Earth has stopped rotating on its axis.
And here's the more complicated answer: While the Earth no longer rotates on its axis it still orbits the sun, thus, in effect, it will complete one 'rotation' per year. For half of this year Britain would be on the dark side of the planet and for the other half it would be on the sunlit side. As the Earth orbits the Sun in an anti-clockwise direction (given that you are looking down on the solar system with the North Pole of Earth facing you) the Sun will appear to rise in the western sky and, six months later, set in the East.
If that still isn't clear then here's a simple example to show what I mean: Place a lit candle at the centre of a table and position a cup at the edge nearest yourself with the handle facing toward you. The candle represents the Sun, the cup represents the Earth and the handle represents Britain. In this position the handle (Britain) is on the dark side of the Earth. Move the cup anti-clockwise a quarter of a circle around the 'Sun' while keeping the handle facing the same way (as the Earth is not rotating). Here the light from the candle is falling on the Western side of the handle. The sun rises in the West, etc, etc.
Q: Why are areas of Britain known by their Anglo-Saxon names as opposed to the Celtic names that Merdynn would have known them by?
A: As referred to in the book – Merdynn was able to see what transpired in Britain after his imprisonment and his vision only gradually dimmed as the early centuries passed so he would have seen how Britain eventually became settled by the Saxons, Angles et al. As to why he actually used the Saxon names rather than the Celtic versions, well, perhaps he felt the old Celtic tribal names no longer represented what the land had become
Q: Will there be a 4thbook?
A: Yes indeed, but between working fulltime, selling the current books part-time and running around after a 2yr old, it doesn't leave much time to write unfortunately, so it won't be out tomorrow. Maybe the day after…
Q: Are these books available in bookshops?
A: Yes and no. Some independent bookshops stock them and all bookshops can order them through their normal channels. The trouble is that the large corporate booksellers demand 50% discount as standard, while the distributors want 20% of the cover price. These percentages don't present too much of a problem if the publisher prints up tens of thousands of books each print run; but it does if they don't. And books that are ordered through the large retailers (including Amazon) are printed individually which is a fairly pricey business. As it currently stands Waterstone's (for example) would take 10% of the cover price, with the distributors helping themselves to 20%, leaving me with pennies despite the £9.99 cover price (because the cost of individual printing is so high). It's fair to say that Waterstone's (and others) are as unimpressed with my offer of 10% as I am with their proposed 50%. I don't, however, have a problem with independent bookshops taking a 50% discount where I do the supplying from my own print run.
In any case it's cheaper for you, and more profitable for me, if you buy via this website.
Q: Does the reference to a 'Khan' in the books reflect current world conflicts?
A: Nope. Not unless Genghis has made a recent comeback and we've sent a battle group to dissuade him of his previous expansionist policies.
Q: Why isn't more revealed about the Adren and their masters?
A: I wanted to tell the story from the Britons' perspective and I wanted the reader to view the unfolding events from that same perspective, which meant that the reader and the characters in the books know almost nothing about the enemy. All they truly know is that to lose is to lose everything. Hopefully this approach adds to the tension, suspense, fear and impending menace that both the Britons and the reader feels unfolding around them. And the story isn't finished yet...
Q: Does the 'Claret and Blue' reference in 'behind the books' relate to a football team?
A: Yep, but I can't tell you which one in case the lawyers claim my books incited the West Ham fans to indulge in another pitch invasion.