GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Author Nancy Northcott Guest Post: The Mysterious Past (The Herald of Day book tour) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Author Nancy Northcott Guest Post: The Mysterious Past (The Herald of Day book tour) + giveaway

The Mysterious Past 
By Nancy Northcott 

Many, many people love a good mystery, especially one that involves the past. There’s a reason Sherlock Holmes remains so popular today and a reason people remain fascinated with the unknown identity of Jack the Ripper.

There are many other mysteries sprinkled through history. How did the image come to be on the Shroud of Turin? Who was King Arthur? Did Robin Hood really exist? What happened to Amelia Earhart?

As a North Carolina native, I grew up hearing about the Lost Colony. In the summer of 1587, a group of English colonists established a settlement on Roanoke Island, on the North Carolina Outer Banks. The colony struggled, and its governor, John White, returned to England late that summer, promising to return with supplies.

Unfortunately, various circumstances delayed his return until 1590. He found the colony deserted and the word CROATOAN carved on one of the fort’s palisades, with CRO carved into a tree. The colony’s fate remains a mystery.

I really love pondering what could have happened to them. I also enjoy thinking about an even older mystery, one that a college classmate brought to my attention. That is the fate of Edward IV’s sons, who’re better known as The Princes in the Tower.

The traditional view, drawn from Shakespeare’s remarkable Richard III, is King Richard, their uncle, usurped the throne, imprisoned the boys in the Tower of London, and subsequently had them murdered.


Shakespeare was a dramatist, not a historian. Perhaps even more important to note is that he wrote during the reign of Elizabeth I, granddaughter of Henry VII, who defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field to win the crown. Any play not in keeping with Elizabeth’s view of the world would not have lasted long and might have been dangerous to stage.

History is written by the victors, and Henry, who had a very, very shaky hereditary claim to the throne through a bastard line, did everything he could to make Richard out to be a monster England was well rid of.

As I read about this part of England’s history, I realized that there’s a lot more to the situation than those who get their history from a play are told. For example, Parliament passed an act called Titulus Regius in early 1484 stating that Richard III, and not his brother’s son, who had been proclaimed Edward V, was the rightful heir to the throne. This finding was based on the conclusion that Edward IV’s marriage to his queen was bigamous because he had previously contracted a clandestine (meaning outside Church rules in this context) marriage with another woman, Lady Eleanor Butler, who was still alive when he married Elizabeth Woodville.

Getting married was a lot easier then, so easy that people didn’t always realize that was what they’d done. To discourage fornication, Church courts held that if two people agreed to marry in the future and consummated the relationship, they were actually married. This appears to be what happened with Lady Eleanor Butler and Edward IV.

Anyway, as often happens with writers, all this started bubbling around in my head. One of the favored alternate suspects for having done away with the boys was the Duke of Buckingham, who also had a blood claim to the throne, though a more distant one than Richard III. The boys were last seen playing in the Tower--which was a royal residence, not just a prison--in the fall of 1483, about the time Buckingham rebelled against Richard and tried to seize the throne. He failed, but many think he was in cahoots with Henry VII’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, and spurred on by her advisers.

So I wondered what it would mean if Buckingham actually were guilty. And if he gained access to the Tower with the help of a wizard who trusted him and didn’t know what his intentions actually were. How would that wizard react when he learned he’d abetted a double murder?

In the Boar King’s Honor trilogy, which launches with The Herald of Day on February 27, the wizard was overcome with guilt. He threw himself on the mercy of King Richard III, who noted that it was a sticky time politically and told him to keep silent until the king directed him to speak. Before that happened, the king went off to Bosworth Field, where he died.

This left the wizard, Edmund Mainwaring, Earl of Hawkstowe, with no way to atone for his guilt. As the Tudors muddied the name of a king he knew to have been a good man, that guilt gnawed at him more and more. Finally, he swore that neither he nor his direct heirs would rest in life or death until King Richard’s name was cleared.

When they die, they’re trapped in a shadowy afterworld between life and death. There they remain until someone proves the truth about the boys’ fate.

After decades of reading about Richard III, I could go on at much greater length about the various crimes the Tudors attributed to them and why I don’t accept those allegations. I have an essay, “Richard III and Me,” about my interest in this historical controversy on my website.

The Herald of Day is now available for preorder on iBooks and will be on other sites shortly.

The Boar King’s Honor Trilogy 
A wizard’s fatal mistake 

A king wrongly blamed for murder 

A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name 

Book 1: The Herald of Day
Release: Feb 27, 2017 
In 17th-century England, witchcraft is a hanging offense. Tavern maid Miranda Willoughby hides her magical gifts until terrifying visions compel her to seek the aid of a stranger, Richard Mainwaring, to interpret them. A powerful wizard, he sees her summons as a chance for redemption. He bears a curse because an ancestor unwittingly helped murder the two royal children known as the Princes in the Tower, and her message uses symbols related to those murders.

Miranda’s visions reveal that someone has altered history, spreading famine, plague, and tyranny across the land. The quest to restore the timeline takes her and Richard from the glittering court of Charles II to a shadowy realm between life and death, where they must battle the most powerful wizard in generations with the fate of all England at stake.

About the Author:
Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, science fiction, fantasy and YA romance. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the romance and high stakes she loves in the books she writes.

Her debut novel, Renegade, received a starred review from Library Journal. The reviewer called it “genre writing at its best.” Nancy is a three-time RWA Golden Heart finalist and has won the Maggie, the Molly, the Emerald City Opener, and Put Your Heart in a Book.

Married since 1987, Nancy and her husband have one son, a bossy dog, and a house full of books.

I’ll give a signed paper copy or a Kindle download of The Herald of Day to one commenter today, but it won’t be delivered until after the book’s February 27 release date. So tell me, what’s your favorite historical mystery or historical time period?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have to say that the Victorian time would be my favorite.

  2. i can't answer that question as i love most historical times ... I am more about location than time periods
    I love history that takes place in England, Scotland, Ireland, some France, and a little in North America but i prefer anything before the 1800's really

    1. Lisa, that would be a hard question for me, too, because I also love a variety of eras. For locations, I tend to stick to England and the US.

  3. I read to many genres to have a favorite, but historical is one of the styles I do read.

    1. Nora, I also read multiple genres. I'm an eclectic reader, so I've become an eclectic writer. Herald is historical fantasy. I also write historicsl romance, which I haven't yet published, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

  4. My favorite historical time period is the Regency period in England.

    1. I also enjoy that period, jmcgaugh. I'm researching it now for the sequel to Herald.

  5. I love The Late 1600's, The Salem Witch Trials. Thank you

    1. Linda, I find that era intriguing in both US and Eiropean history. Herald is set in 1674, and researching it drew me into the history of England during Charles II's reign.

    2. I'm a fan of that era too, Linda Romer! Nancy, Charles II's reign is so interesting as well.

    3. I think so, too, Jeanne. He danced and evaded w/Parliament, and James II didn't have the knack.

  6. Replies
    1. *waving* Hi BN100! I know you're a fan of that era as you're a fan of the Bandits who write in that time period. What do you love about it?

    2. Hi, bn100--I like the Regency, too, and I'm researching it for the sequel to Herald.

  7. I didn't really have a favorite historical period until I started to read a series about a Victorian middle-class family, and since then I've eagerly picked historicals, especially if I know the author's a stickler about accuracy!

    1. Hi EilisFlynn! I love it when the authors are all about accuracy because then I learn stuff!!

    2. Hi, Eilis--

      I also enjoy books that convey a bit of history. I really miss American Revolution settings.

  8. I've always found the Edwardian time between the old and the modern interesting, like Downton Abbey

    1. Hi, Anonymous--I find that period interesting, too. It carried the seeds of social change, which the high casualty rate of WWI made inevitable.

  9. Hi Nancy! I'm am SO psyched for Herald of Day! Cannot wait for this book. I heard you read the opening at one of the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Readings and was hooked. Now I get "...the rest of the story!" Grins. Congrats on this - I know it will do well!

    1. Thank you, Jeanne! I'm very excited to have this book out.