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WARRIORS OF ALAVNA
January 20, 2023
When the thick fog descends on a school group, two children from the year 2000 find themselves transported back to what looks like the year AD75. And nothing is the same. Dan finds that survival depends on brilliant fighting skills and a fearless ability to fight to the death. Ursula discovers that she has magical abilities worthy of the most accomplished priestess. Soon these two become involved in the greatest struggles of their lives, as they realise that survival depends on skills that they never imagined they possessed.
A brilliant, riveting novel full of passion, action and drama.
Warriors of Alavna was my first novel. It was an easy book to write – I don’t know why – and I enjoyed more or less every moment I spent writing it. There is something special about ‘firsts’ and a first novel is no exception. I set out to write the kind of story I would have really enjoyed when I was a child – one with lots of action, heroism and a certain amount of strangeness too and I think I succeeded in that at least – I would have liked it!
When I wrote Warriors of Alavna I didn’t think it was about anything beyond the story itself but now, looking back on it, I think the fact that Ursula has to become a man to succeed in Macsen’s world is connected to the feeling that I had as a teenager that to be a successful woman you had to adopt ‘male’ behaviours and attitudes.
I don’t think that is true today, at least not in Britain , but it felt true in the seventies and early eighties.
I also notice reading it now, some years after I finished it, that Ursula’s status as an outsider is important and the very things that made it difficult for her to fit in at home- her size and sullen obstinacy help her to survive in Macsen’s world. I think I identify with the ‘odd one out’ and the misfit, because, like many people and most writers, that’s how I felt as a teenager (though I’m not very tall or very blonde!).
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