From Dickens to Tolkien, from Molière to Gene Rodenberry writers through the ages have used their pen to comment on political and social issues of their era. Dickens chose stark realism while Molière opted for broad comedic satire. Tolkien embedded his message in a fantasy world; Rodenberry’s
métier was science fiction. I don’t even pretend to place myself among that pantheon of authors, but I chose them to make the point that exploring challenging issues often succeeds best within the context of entertainment.
My primary goal in writing the Second Son Chronicles is to entertain readers. I hope they enjoy the journey of Alfred (the series protagonist) as much as I’m enjoying bringing it to life. But for those
readers who like to look below the surface, there are some themes to be discovered. And for me, the past was a good, non-threatening setting in which to do so. I specifically chose the beginning of the Renaissance because it was a time when new ideas were spreading rapidly – and yet skepticism
still abounded and those in positions of power were often quite happy to quash anything that didn’t fit their narrative of what the world should be.
The full series examines a wide range of social and political issues of the last fifty or sixty years.
Modeling Alfred’s wife on some of the strong women of medieval and early Renaissance times allows me to explore women’s roles and rights. Having a less enlightened society bordering Alfred’s
kingdom provides the opportunity to discuss cultural differences and questions of nation-building.
The rise of the merchant class at this time in history is an excellent context in which to explore the growing influence today of big business. And the overall state of medicine at the time lends itself easily to the topic of health care.
Pestilence takes place at a time of serious upheaval for Alfred’s kingdom. The disruptions engendered by the new king’s authoritarianism highlight class divides and pave the way for the
emergence of demagoguery, xenophobia, militarism, and neglect of basic functions of governing.
What happens illuminates the very real human cost of a lack of social supports. And the situation forces those who still believe their duty is to the common good to find unexpected paths to achieve those ends.
My goal for the allegory underlying Alfred’s story has never been to be prescriptive or pedantic. I hope only to encourage readers to think.
As the dedication reads: “This series is dedicated to the hope that thoughtfulness, compassion, respect, and rational dialogue can triumph over bigotry, greed, mistrust, and self-righteousness to create a world that is truly a better place for all of
Thank you, Ms. Taylor, for stopping by our blog today. Check out the blog tour for more posts and reader reviews. You can find our review here on July 1st.