18th March 2016
I am drawing close to finishing my third book in The Veil Of Time series. I hope it will be the last book - some series keep on going long after they should. I never dreamed I would have followed the first book with a second, and now a third - but then I found I had more to say. Because there is far more to this series than a simple love story between modern day Maggie and 8th Century Fergus. Much more than I had even envisioned when I set out on this quest. My initial impulse was simply to set a story at Dunadd in Argyll, Scotland. Why not, I had stories in every other corner of that gorgeous countryside where I grew up roaming the hills like some heroin in a Bronte novel.
But the more I pondered the time-setting of this novel, the more I realised that I was dealing with a watershed moment in the history of Scotland: the crucial advance of a religion that bore its creed within the structure of the Roman empire. The "Christians Soldiers Marching out to War" were out to conquer those "others." And once you have divided the world into "Us" and "Them," sanctified and heathen, no holds are barred, especially if you have papal bulls sanctioning your "Doctrine of Discovery."
(And if you think this dirty side of the American experiment is consigned to the past, just listen to the rhetoric of Donald Trump.)
So, I began to ask myself what would have happened if the "heathen" in Scotland had not been "reformed" but had pushed the invading religion out? What if Scotland's native pagan religion had not been expunged but had evolved and advanced into the future? For one, that scandalous heathen practice of honouring the earth would not have been overridden; that tendency for the males of the species to form hierarchies and subjugate everything beneath them, including the entire female population, would have been held in check. The bloody Crusades in the Middle East, the Highland Clearances in Scotland and the American genocide portrayed in the picture above would have existed only in the worst nightmare, and only if that dreamer was particularly sick.
What I have left to write in the final chapters of this third book (aptly titled "Dark Matter," if I do say so myself!) is the final battle scene. Spoiler Alert: the pagans are going to win. And if they had, what would our present look like? This is the question I am toying with in this final book. Keep your eyes on the shelves: I hope you'll get to read it.