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The Sword and The Swan


When Baen approached my agent about the possibility of republishing some of my work in e-format, I was delighted. Although at the moment I do not own an e-reader (I use a netbook for its ability to deal with many formats), I am one of the early addicts of that form of personal library. I owned and used with great pleasure a RocketeBook, and I would still be using it if the company were still in business to make repairs.

Thus I gave considerable thought to which of my out of print works I wanted to be available and I decided that my earliest work, because it held my own fresh wonder of creation, should get precedence.

Early work or late work, all my historical novels are medieval. I have no idea why I was enchanted by the history of the middle ages, but when I was a little girl there was no television. (Yes, I am that old.) What one did for entertainment– at least what my family did for entertainment–was read. My father used to say that Christians went to church on Sunday; Jewish people went to temple on Saturday; and the Jacobs family went to the library on Friday night (which was the night the library was open late).

No one told me what to read, and I sampled everything, I suppose, but it was the books of High Romance that caught my attention. I never cared for the books about my contemporaries. Nancy Drew (even driving her car) or the visiting nurse (who’s name I’m afraid I’ve forgotten) could hold my attention only briefly and I never remembered their stories. It was the tales of knights in shining armor that I read and reread.

The fascination scarcely ebbed as I grew older, although I soon realized Howard Pyle’s books were equivalent to fairy tales (if not so grim). I moved on to more adult versions of medieval myth. But then I began to wonder if, like other myths, there was some basis to the stories. The histories were dry bones, but further research into the period brought me to the chronicles written at the time.

I soon discovered that, although there were indeed knights, their armor didn’t shine and the knights themselves stank to high heaven. But I also learned that the men inside that stinking armor were fascinating individuals and that their real adventures in real history were far more exciting than Howard Pyle’s or other novelists’ stories.

So I hope these books will transmit to their readers my personal delight in the true events of one of the most exciting centuries in history and my new found creative joy in peopling those events with characters that are true to the time in which they lived.

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