1065 October Snows (Paperback)

1065 October Snows By Meg Woodward Cover Image

1065 October Snows (Paperback)

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In 1065 a freak snowstorm comes early, blocking the passes through which a group of Flemings, led by the Count of Aucun, has ridden from the east into a valley in central Scotland. The count intends to offer the return of the clan chief's two sons, captured while fighting, for a ransom. Since the clan uses barter and has no coinage, a face-saving solution is for the count to accept their clever younger sister, thirteen year old Ailie, as his bride; but she is also being courted by an Islesman, Kenneth, who is intent on gaining control of the lucrative trade route which passes through the valley. When he also arrives from the west, flanked by two equally ambitious brothers, and possibly with a small army hidden nearby, danger threatens them all. Ailie and the other children in the village play a complicated game to protect the Flemings from the Islanders' rage until the snows melt enough to allow them to escape. The period is one of turmoil not only in Scotland but also in England, which will become relevant the following year in a sequel to this book, 1066 BATTLE'S EVE. Both countries are uneasy combinations of smaller kingdoms which have not yet learned to trust each other entirely. Scotland still remembers the peace which was brought by the great King Macbeth, killed seven years earlier by the current king, Malcolm. That Macbeth's reign brought prosperity is a sure sign that he had God's blessing. England's dying king, Edward the Confessor, seems to have promised his throne to two different people, spelling inevitable trouble. And far in the west of Scotland another power, a Celtic-Viking alliance, is looking for a kingdom of its own. The greatest clash, however, is between the Celtic and Norman ways of life. The Celts, including Ailie and her valley people, live in clans, or groups of kin families, giving mutual support and respect to each other as individuals and owning their land and goods in common. By contrast, the feudal system being imposed by the Normans is a pyramid of power in which the king is at the top, ruling and owning everything. He devolves duties to his barons who must support him in peace and war in return for nominal ownership of some part of the land. The barons in turn lease land (or use of it) or money to knights below them in return for military service, and below these come a huge proportion of the community with little or no power or wealth; it is they who do all the hard work on the land and produce the food which everybody needs. In this story both Ailie and the Count of Aucun are misfits in their different backgrounds. Ailie yearns to become a scholar - in a Cetic valley at the back of beyond, while D'Aucun abhors the knightly skills needed for warfare which the upper class Normans regard so highly. Each will have to adapt to their own social requirements but also learn to respect the other's if they are to marry.
As teacher, education guide, editor, researcher and writer, the author has worked with children and young adults for many years. She has written much of her own material, especially in history-based projects which have usually included dramatic productions or creative writing development. Pupils are routinely introduced to the relevant primary and secondary sources when available. This book, written before IT came along, mentions some of the sources consulted during its construction. The Internet has dramatically improved the opportunities to view such material on line. It is now easy to find a wide range of material and to check the authenticity of information. When writing history, this is more important than ever in an age of false news and fantasy literature. Yet there is nothing quite as exciting as handling (if allowed) or seeing a real document or actual artefact.
Product Details ISBN: 9781539564157
ISBN-10: 1539564150
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: January 11th, 2017
Pages: 142
Language: English