Great Helms

On the cusp of The Scourge:Nostrum release date, I thought it might be helpful to provide a few details about the helmets that Edward and Tristan wear (or should I say, the helmets that Edward wears and Tristan is always losing).

A Germanic great helm.  No “none shall pass” jokes please.

Both Edward and Tristan wear great helms. Edward’s, I imagine, is something like the example to the left. In the late 14th century, Great helms like these were slowly being phased out by bascinets and sallets. The great helms were clunky, provided poor visibility, and the visors couldn’t be raised. Even worse, the flat tops were catastrophically bad when struck by warhammers or the spikes on polaxes. But Edward was an old-school knight. And he would have shunned the new styles for as long as possible.

Many knight helmets of this period had crests on them, and we know from historical records that Edward’s bore a unicorn. (I’m not certain he would have worn the crest while questing, but I thought it added more personality and detail.) Knights wearing these sorts of helmets occasionally wore a bevor or gorget as well. This was a metal or leather collar that would protect the throat, although a chain mail coif was probably more common.  Below are some examples of what Edward and Tristan’s helmets might have looked like when new.

This one has a rounded top and a little more flash. Tristan would be more likely to wear it than Edward.

The helmet I displayed at the top of the page might have looked more like this when it was newly forged, although I doubt the air holes and cross would have been so cleanly cut.

The decorative fabric on this helmet looks nice, but is the last thing you want when facing a horde of clutching plaguers.










A nice side view on a short great helm. I like the squatness of this helmet. It doesn’t seem quite as cumbersome as the others.








That’s all for now, but I’ll be back (hopefully tomorrow) to talk about the release of The Scourge: Nostrum tomorrow. If you buy it, please drop me a line and let me know what you think of the first episode. I hope to see all of you on the Amazon Discussion Forums!


Cover Reveals: Scourge and Scourge: Nostrum

Hey there,

So, big news on the artistic side of things. 47North has given me two birthday presents on this fine June 11. They finalized the cover for The Scourge:Nostrum (Book 2 of The Scourge), and they have re-released The Scourge (book 1) with a brand new cover. Can I just say that 47North is the best publisher in the world? Yes I can! And I will! They worked with me tirelessly on the Nostrum cover, accepting suggestions and re-designing over and over again until we reached something that both the publisher and I liked. Big thanks to my editor, David Pomerico, for his tireless work on this.

First up, The Scourge: Nostrum (release date June 18):

This cover clearly shows what the book is about. The knight in the foreground is, ostensibly, Edward. Nice dynamic pose with suitably battered and weathered armor. Flailing hands in the background indicate to the viewer that this is not a typical historical fiction. Blood-spattered environment tells readers that this might have some gore and violence. The helmet on the knight is not a greathelm, but I think we can live with it. I can, at any rate =)





The Scourge (book 1) underwent a facelift as well. Those of you with the print version might notice that the background image for this is basically the same artwork from the back cover. Although I truly love the first cover, and prefer it artistically to this one, this design has a certain elegance and mood that I like. The cover also clearly depicts what the book is about: Three knights on a journey, with supernatural enemies standing between them and their destination. I think this will more clearly define the book for shoppers and steer the novel into the hands of the people who will love it most.

Big thanks to everyone at 47North!







Excerpt from Scourge: Nostrum

The first few paragraphs from Scourge: Nostrum. An appetizer, until the actual book comes out. Please let me know what you think!

   When I was a child, I watched a man burn at the stake for mixing tinctures to cure the Black Plague. He smiled just before the flames seared his flesh. An inexplicable, haunting smile that has bewildered me to this day.

The monks who burned him told the lingering crowd that prayer is the only true and righteous weapon against illness. That alchemy is a sin.
Some weeks later those same monks lowered a saint’s body into a vat of wine in the hopes of creating a cure for the same plague.
I am a simple knight. It is difficult for me to see the difference between a tincture and a corpse’s bath water. But after two days of prayer I understand that neither God nor the saints will heal the woman I love.  I must look to alchemy, even if it means burning in the very fires of Hell.

And if Hell is my fate, then I, too, will smile as the flames lick my flesh. For I will have saved the woman I adore, and earned eternal salvation in her eyes.

The first episode is a month or so away. I look forward to hearing from you on the Amazon Discussion Boards and here, on my blog.



Scourge: Nostrum
Available for Pre-Order

Just a quick note to let you know that the Scourge: Nostrum, book 2 of The Scourge, is now available for pre-order. It will start as a Kindle Serial, like the first book, so if you buy it, you are purchasing all eight episodes for just $1.99. Each episode will be auto-delivered to your kindle or other device as it comes out. Release date is early June!

No cover for Nostrum yet, but hopefully soon!

*** I now return you to your regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon. ***