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An East Wind Blowing
"The love of two young men is forged in their struggle to survive against barbarian invaders."
Mel Keegan's classic historical romance is set in the very depths of the Dark Ages, in the north-east of a country not yet known as England. The Romans have recently departed, though fragments of their world still linger on. The native Britons are being pressed back by the barbarian Angles from over the water, as they sail in on the east wind seeking new land to settle. Ronan and Bryn are two young men eager to defend their land against the invaders, but Ronan is a common freeman and Bryn the son of an overweening lord. The social differences divide them at a fundamental level, though each is powerully drawn to the other. Not until the invasion do Ronan and Bryn "find" each other, when Bryn's heritage is stripped away in a single night of battle, and only luck leaves him and Ronan alive in the dawn. As with his FORTUNES OF WAR and WHITE ROSE OF NIGHT, Mel Keegan conjures up an atmospheric tale in which love between men is forged in battles they must fight, hardships they must endure.
Read the first 10% of this novel right here, in PDF format
Novel length: 135,000 words
Rated: R (18+; sex, violence, language)
Publication date: July 2011
Price: $9.99 - ebook
AN EAST WIND BLOWING
REVIEWED BY KIRSTIN SKYE
How wonderful! At long, long last, a novel set in the Arthurian age that 'tells it like it was.' I picked up on the Arthurian references at once when I read AN EAST WIND BLOWING. It lends a whole dimension to this book to know that just 'out west,' maybe a couple of hundred miles away, at the same time as Ronan and Bryn are finding ways to survive, a warlord by the name of Artos is taking on the Saxons. But I digress!! This review is supposed to be about Bryn and Ronan themselves, and the story of EAST WIND. The research leaves you gaping ... and I may be wrong, but I think MK has either lived a long while up on the NE coast of Britland, or else may be from those parts?? Something in the way he describes the landscape speaks to me ... and I'm from Leeds originally. It can't have been easy crafting such young characters and making them credible and 'involving' in an adult context. The cover GMP put on this book also didn't help: they gave it the appearance of a 'juvenile,' and it most certainly is NOT. Not by a very long stretch of the imagination! The storyline was vastly involving. If I have a criticism, it's simply that EAST WIND is too short IMHO ... it needed to be a lot longer! It needed to go on from the in-print-conclusion and relate what happened to Bryn and Ronan and Gareth next. Or is that me being selfish, because I liked these characters so much? Seriously, this time in British history has been a favourite if mine since I was a little kid, and I fell in love with a Saturday afternoon programme on the tube, 'Arthur of the Britons.' So it was sheer heaven to have a really good (and very gay) adventure set in this world. Rating: don't miss!
Mel Keegan comments on AN EAST WIND BLOWING
This one was the easiest to write of any novel I've done to date, and for the best of reasons. It grew out of one of my long-time hobbies, Celtic archaeology, so the research was already done ... and the location is perfect: my family's roots are in that part of the world for several generations. For me, the writing was as much a "vacation at the keyboard" as the Jamaica story, and a lot more of a keyboard vacation than the South Australian piece, which is local (which equals everyday usual, even ho-hum).
The characters in EAST WIND are, again, young in years, but you have to remember that most people in their era didn't live past 35. My characters are 16 - 18, and equivalent to young people of about 22 - 25 in their own world. This is always a major problem when you're writing in an era 1000 years and more in the past for us: I try to avoid directly mentioning a character's age, because it can skew the reader's perceptions. In Ronan's and Bryn's world, if you weren't already mostly grown up by the time you were twelve, chances are you won't be growing up! (Same thing with WHITE ROSE: in fact, the squires were 10 and 12, and the young soldiers were 14 and 15; I had to modify the picture for a my story, or we'd have eyebrows raising in all directions. The scope of EAST WIND (which is a large book compressed into a small space ... GMP used a very small type) gave me the space to work with the characters, have them change, mature and grow. There is a sequel to this novel -- it's actually an "Arthurian" story! But with the apparent dissolution of the paperback list at Millivres this project was shelved at the synopsis stage. The book was never written.
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