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By Patrick (2006-04-10)
From the number of people who have read my post pertaining to David Keck's In the Eye of Heaven on numerous message boards out there, I thought it would be nice to ask him a few questions. That way, everyone could get to know this new author whose book will be released next week.
He seems to be a pretty nice guy. Then again, he is Canadian!;-)
For the benefit of those of us new to your work, without giving too much away, give us a taste of the story that is IN THE EYE OF HEAVEN.
David Keck: In the Eye of Heaven is really the story of a tournament knight. It starts with our hero, Durand, as a young man who's just thrown away fourteen years of his life training for a future he'll never have: a quiet life as lord of a few plowmen. He finds himself kicked out and wandering the roads in a time when winter is freezing the ditches and the wilds are full of spirits.
Durand's fight to carve out a place for himself happens against a backdrop of civil war and unrest. And he crashes right into the whole mess from the very start. There's been war on the borders -- and whispering around the throne has the whole kingdom on edge. Worse, the land itself shudders along with its people. There are signs in the Heavens and long-banished spirits stirring in the wastelands.
By the end of this first novel, Durand finds himself drawn right into the heart of the fight for power. And, though he's a decent man, his every step snarls him in knots of betrayal that test him, heart and soul.
What author makes you shake your head in admiration?
DK: Lately, I have really enjoyed the work of writers like Patrick O'Brian and Steven Pressfield. Although they are both writers of historical fiction, each is capable of snatching the reader up and carrying him off to another world every bit as real and unpredictable as the one in which we live. O'Brian, especially, leaves me sitting with my jaw in my hands. The man is a master of his material and never cuts his reader an inch of slack. If a pair of sailors are talking, they never wink to the reader and explain the knots. It's a real magic trick that he doesn't leave the reader behind.
You have an unbelievable eye for details. Where those that knowledge of the Middle Ages comes from?
DK: I probably got hooked on the medieval when my mum read me bedtime stories. (We had a few thick very thick books with taped bindings that were a generation older than I was). Since then, I've looted libraries and bookstores for more. And, when I could afford it, traveled. By now, I'm sure I've climbed around a hundred old forts, tombs, and stone circles -- and some can really conjure up a sense of another place and time.
This last summer, my wife and I drove around northern Scotland. There was a day when we climbed towering hill with hawks turning and swooping over our heads only to clamber down a neolithic tomb. These things are still out there. How can you help but tell!
Steven Erikson told me that your debut novel went through a number of versions. What was the spark that generated the idea which drove you to write IN THE EYE OF HEAVEN in the first place?
DK: In the Eye of Heaven began like a mystery, I suppose: at the end. I wrote a short story quite a long time ago starring an ageing knight who felt that he was in the wrong fairy tale. Scarred and stooped and grizzled, he went off to rescue a duke's daughter in return for half her father's lands. She'd been snatched by some ogre from the mountains -- and our reluctant hero wasn't sure she'd be happy for the rescue.
That may still be the end -- or nearly.