A Matter of Faith

Another reblog of one of my early posts this week. I’ve nothing really to add to this piece, on the importance of getting the importance of religion right in historical fiction (and especially naval historical fiction), except to add that it’s something I’m currently grappling with to an even greater extent while writing ‘Quinton 6’ – details of which will be revealed here in the near future!

J D Davies

Religion is often something of an elephant in the room of historical fiction. If the past really is a foreign country where they do things differently, faith is about as different as it gets, and for secular authors in today’s secular western societies, reconstructing its all-pervasiveness is perhaps one of the trickiest challenges of all. Indeed, perhaps it’s a challenge that can never truly be met successfully. The actual mindset of the most profound medieval piety, for example, is unlikely to be very appealing to most modern readers – after all, its nearest modern parallel is the blinkered fundamentalism seen in much TV news coverage of events in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and so forth. Too many authors, though, seem to pass up the challenge entirely. I love the ‘Mistress of the Art of Death’ books by the late, lamented Arianna Franklin, having stumbled upon them by chance…

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1 Comment

  1. Indeed it would be hard to imagine a ‘detective ‘ in one of the Medieval murder mysteries justifying a heretic being burned to death or trial by ordeal. Or meticulously describing the soul’s journey through purgatory.


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