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Strike The Red Hammer

Wishing for something, no matter how desperately, is not enough, desire must eventually take a chance. Yet hope, even the most tenuous, impels unattainable dreams.

This is the story of Rufus, orphaned and abandoned to squalor and poverty, by his own efforts raising his status in 12th century Norman England. He loses his heart to a maiden of noble birth, whom he must worship from afar, hiding his feelings. It drives him to learn, to improve himself, his only way to bridge the gulf between himself and her. But is it enough?

I tried to capture the harshness of the time; born and bound to a station in life, the rigidity of the classes, how hard it was to cross social barriers. Life was prescripted and it took extraordinary effort and circumstances to exceed one's birthright.

Central theme of the book is a love story. Nothing rosy or idyllic; a forbidden relationship that encounters every obstacle, every wrong turn imaginable. People make the wrong choices, suffer consequences, regrets, and yes, the faint hope, that maybe dreams are made in heaven.

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I wanted to write a "romance" where things go wrong, become impossible, yet the desires prevail, not to be ignored. I fear I tend to put my main characters through hell before rewarding them.

My other motivation was to work against the modern prejudice that we are "smarter" than the people in the middle ages. Any age has its smart people and the rest, just like today. Rufus is an exceptional person, worth getting to know, who can even teach us a few things.

I was long fascinated by the clash of cultures, two traditions in conflict, the Norman feudalism in face of the resistance of Celtic Briton. But as always, I was less interested in the historical big picture, much more intrigued by how it worked out on a personal level. Once again, I bend time, facts and history to the needs of my story. If you want historical accuracy, buy a history book. I try to get inside the lives of people, imagine it, color it with a realism the reader can feel, and like them, not worry much about the rest of the world largely beyond their view and experience.

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