With an AB degree in history from Dartmouth College, J. Boyce Gleason brings a strong understanding of what events shaped the past and when, but writes historical-fiction to discover why. Gleason lives in Virginia with his wife Mary Margaret. They have three sons.
His latest book is the historical fiction, Anvil of God, Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles.
Visit his website at www.jboycegleason.com.
About the Book:
It is 741. After subduing the pagan religions in the east, halting the march of Islam in the west, and conquering the continent for the Merovingian kings, mayor of the palace Charles the Hammer has one final ambition—the throne. Only one thing stands in his way—he is dying.
Charles cobbles together a plan to divide the kingdom among his three sons, betroth his daughter to a Lombard prince to secure his southern border, and keep the Church unified behind them through his friend Bishop Boniface. Despite his best efforts, the only thing to reign after Charles’s death is chaos. His daughter has no intention of marrying anyone, let alone a Lombard prince. His two eldest sons question the rights of their younger pagan stepbrother, and the Church demands a steep price for their support. Son battles son, Christianity battles paganism, and Charles’s daughter flees his court for an enemy’s love.
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Ten things to know about Anvil of God
By J. Boyce Gleason
- It is based on a true story. In 741, after conquering most of Europe for the Merovingian Kings, Charles the Hammer had one final ambition. He wanted to seize the throne for his children. Only one thing stood in his way. He was dying. He tried to establish a plan to hand over power to his three sons, but the only thing to rule after Charles’s death was chaos.
- The two main characters are women. They drive the two primary plot lines that frame the novel. Charles widow Sunni rushes to protect her 14-year old son from his two older half-brothers. And Charles’s daughter Trudi flees his court in the dead of night to escape and arranged marriage for love amongst his enemies.
- Trudi’s flight takes the reader on a 500-mile journey from Quierzy, France (northeast of Paris) to Regensburg, Germany with stops in Reims, Connstatt (Stuttgart), Metz and Danauworth.
- Sunni rallies her allies in Laon, a walled city on a hill that still thrives today in Northeast France. You can stand on the wall of the city and picture the arrival of the siege armies on the plains below.
- Religion provides a constant undercurrent for the novel. Although most of Europe is officially Christian by the eighth century, much of the history revolves around quelling pagan practices. Anvil explores the use of religion as an avenue to power and the costs it incurs.
- To bring the pagan faith to life, a number of religious practices were created based on myths and practices banned by the Church through penitentials (books proscribing penance for sinners) written in the Dark Ages.
- One of the book’s main characters is now a Saint. St. Boniface was a missionary sent to the eastern Germanic nations to convert the pagans and ultimately served as the family priest to Charles the Hammer and his children.
- Many of the nation states of Europe that we recognize today can be deciphered from the names used in the eighth century. Francia (France), Allemannia (Germany), Austraisia (Austria), Bavaria (Bavaria), Burgundia (Burgundy).
- The rise of the Carolingian Kings and the influence they held over Europe set a standard for despots throughout modern history. Napoleon specifically imitated Charlemagne – who was crowned by the Pope on Christmas day in the year 800. Nearly a thousand years later, Napoleon repeated the ceremony, but took the crown from the Pope to place it on his own head (signifying that his power was greater than the Pope’s or that of Charlemagne’s). Hitler’s “Third Reich” was also in part patterned after the Carolingian empire.
- The story of Charles the Hammer’s grandson and his great grandson are the subject of a current hit musical on Broadway called, “Pippin.”