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Tales of My Ancestors Paperback – November 27, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Known for his distinctive concepts in both shortstories and novels, Bruce Golden has done it again....As much as withthe crisp writing and true dialogue, I was impressed with the depth and thoroughnessof the research Golden must have had to conduct to put this all together. I highly recommend Tales of My Ancestors to anyonewho loves adventure, history, humor, fantasy, or science fiction.
Golden's dry sense of humor and penchantfor satire are at their best when he good-naturedly pokes fun at some of hismore pompous, well-bred ancestors, and champions those of more humble origins,whose cleverness, pluck, and courage enable them to rise above their seeminglypre-ordained stations in life....He pays serious homage to heroic ancestors anddeals with others, flawed as they may be, openly and honestly in perspective tothe period in which they lived.
Midwest Book Review
This is Golden's sixth book, and once againhe's managed to do something completely different than he's done before. Thisbook is so unusual, I can't think of another like it. He not only combineshistorical fiction with science fiction and fantasy, he adds his own ancestralline to the mix....Golden is a great storyteller, whose characters come alive,and whose style keeps the narrative moving. He never gets bogged down by hisprose, and his stories are worth reading just for the dialogue.
If you've read any of Bruce Golden's books, youknow he's always trying something new--taking his readers to completelydifferent worlds. This isn't the path followed by many authors, who writesequel after sequel after sequel. As a writer, it's a gamble. But at least youcan always expect something unique from his keyboard. as he writes witha narrative style that is quick-moving and dialogue-heavy...almost cinematic innature.
From the Author
Many years ago, I became aware of theancestral research completed by relatives of mine, and began to learninteresting things about my various family lines. Piggybacking on the work of others,I did even more research and discovered ancestral roots that, in some cases,preceded the 11th century. However, whenyou go that far back, accuracy can be a problem. You are dependent onantiquated records, and you question whether bloodlines were always reportedaccurately. When you think about itthough, a millennium isn't that far back considering the human species is some200,000 years old.
I discovered that not only were some of my ancestors well-knownhistorical figures, but that many of them had unique stories. That's when Idecided to become the family apocryphist.
As a writer, I was inspired by the accounts I read. First by the tale ofa woman descended from English kings, who grew up in exile in Hungary andreturned to England only to have to flee again. Her ship, damaged by a storm,had to port unexpectedly where she met the King of Scotland, eventually marriedhim and became a Catholic Saint. Those facts begged to become a story of somekind.
What started out as just a few tales led, eventually, to the idea of anentire book's worth of stories, each using, in some manner, one or more of mydirect ancestors. This book, in fact. ("Direct" meaning relatedthrough great grandparents--no uncles or cousins or other offshoots.)
Like most historical fiction, this book is a kind of time machine, andthe tales herein required extensive research. When I wrote my stories, the onecaveat I adhered to, was that I would not contradict any known facts. But itwasn't just facts I was looking for. I had to research the culture of the time,the language, even what character traits a certain person might have had. Iwrote these tales being true to all the historical records I could find. Idramatized what was known and filled in the gaps how best suited the story.
In addition, I added a singular speculative element to each tale--a what if--science fiction and fantasy,after all, being my genres of choice. For a story which took place in17th-century Ireland, I used the Irish legend of the banshee, in the tale aboutthe above mentioned girl who grew up in Hungary, I used a creature fromHungarian lore, and for my retelling of the Salem Witch Trials, it seemedappropriate Satan should make an appearance. I don't alter what happened, I onlysuggest what if this is how it happened . . . what if this is why it happened.
It's the combination of the historical, the speculative, and thecharacterization of my ancestors, which I believe make this book unique. Thisis also the first time I've ever used my middle name as part of my byline. Infact, it's the first time I've used my middle name for anything--never havingmuch use for the appellation Edward.However, it seemed appropriate here, in that the name came from my father'sfather and my mother's grandfather. It's also the name of the most recent kingI'm a direct descendant of--King Edward III of England.
While I find it intriguing that I'm a direct descendant of Charlemagneand several members of European royalty, I take no great pride in it. If you dothe math, you'll find there are likely millions of people of European descentalive today who are direct descendants of Charlemagne. In fact, as onemathematician said, it would be more unique NOT to be a descendant of Europe'slast emperor. It's just that most people don't know it. They haven't been ableto track their family lines back that far.
As they say in the language of the Native American Sioux, mitakuye oyasin--we are all related.
As to whether you should be proud of your ancestors or not, the fact isthat some were good and did amazing things, and some, by today's standards,were savage barbarians, even if they were kings--probably especially if they were kings.
Because, famous or not, good or evil by our reckoning, they were allhuman. Or at least they were as far as I know.
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