Monday, 7 October 2013

Paladins,a brief history

Death of Roland 
The name "Paladin" comes from the high officials of the Roman Emperor's court who were known as "Palatinus" after Palatine hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome. It was where the emperor had his palace. 
The idea of “Paladins” is completely fictitious. In French medieval literature they were supposed to be the twelve foremost knights of ancient Charlemagne's court.  The earliest record we have of them in literature is in the 1100’s; about the same time Arthurian tales were becoming popular across the channel.  
The idea of “perfect” knights performing great and heroic deeds and conducting themselves honourably inflamed the imagination of not only the French but spread throughout the continent. Their names and numbers varied but they fought the Saracens, recovered holy relics and converted heathens to Christianity and battled giants, magic and monsters.
They were very popular figures in Spain and later  in the literature of the Italian Renaissance. The popularity of Paladin literature matched the later prominence of Shakespeare across the channel.   

The term “Paladin” was used in English in 1592 in a poem by Samuel Daniel. The Arthurian legends experienced a major revival in the 19th century but not the Charlemagne Paladins.

Richard Boone starred in “have gun will travel” a 1950’s series on a wandering gunfighter called “Paladin”.

The more modern incarnation of Paladins probably dates to the 1961 novel by Poul Anderson called “Three Hearts and Three Lions” where an explosion catapults his character Holger Carlsen into a parallel universe modelled (among other things) on some of the early Paladin tales. 
Here’s Amazon’s Book description.
The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, are poised to overthrow the Realms of Light. Holger Carlsen, a bemused and puzzled twentieth-century man mysteriously snatched out of time, finds himself the key figure in the conflict. Arrayed against him are the dragons, giants and elven warriors of the armies of Chaos, and the beautiful sorceress Morgan le Fay. On his side is a vague prophecy, a quarrelsome dwarf and a beautiful woman who can turn herself into a swan, not to mention Papillon, the magnificent battle-horse, and a full set of perfectly fitting armour, both of which were waiting for him when he entered the magical realm. The shield bears three hearts and three lions -- the only clue to Holger Carlsen's true identity. Could Carlsen really be a legendary hero, the only man who can save the world?” 

Poul Anderson’s character influenced the inclusion of Paladin’s in the famous role playing game “Dungeons and Dragons” in the Grey hawk supplement (1975) and the modern view of “Paladins” had arrived! 

It's hard to document all the directions paladin literature and gaming has gone since but my personal contact with "modern Paladins" before beginning writing was limited. In Diablo II my youngest son's favourite character was a Paladin. I only ever played the sorcerer. I thought she was so cool

Lands of the Aryans (where the action happens) 
My series “the Paladin Chronicles” is set in mainly in Greece, Turkey, the country of Georgia, Syria and Central Asia starting about 350BC. There are some differences such as the presence of elves and dwarves.
In my books the Paladins are not equipped with a dazzling array of arcane magical gifts. If they need to get something done, they have to do it in the usual way ...struggle, sweat  and hard work. Paladins are rare in my world so there are only two. 
Which allows me to develop their characters as real people given extra-ordinary tasks. 
What has made them what they are? How do they struggle with the moral dilemma of being deeply religious and also a knight and cope with the intense dedication required ?  
My portrayal of Paladins their training and religion borrows heavily from Chinese martial arts,  Zen meditation and Buddhism.  
My novels are designed to be entertaining and hard to put down. If you like this Genre, I can almost guarantee you will like my novels! 
Click here for my Amazon Authors page.

Book 1 is available free on Kindle (Click here) or through most e book retailers. (If your Amazon account is not with the main Amazon (US) site, search on your usual site under my or the name of my book).

The prequel to my series was written after book 4. Elves and Copper Age Vikings and is also free (for a signup to my email list.) 

I had already started writing when I first discovered Elizabeth Moon as a writer, on a visit to Borders in the US. She is an ex-marine and quickly became a ‘hero’ of mine!
Fortunately for me (there is a danger of being influenced by another’s work without being aware of it) I only discovered   her “Deed of Paksenarrion”, in which her heroine Paksenarrion becomes a Paladin, well after I started writing .  Our  Paladins are very different but Elizabeth aims at “mud in the face” type of realism that I  love so much.
If you like my work, I think you will like hers too.