Alternative History: Bringing to Life What Never Was
Alternative history novels are like a game of ‘what-if’. They take our most iconic moments in time and give them an exciting twist. Readers can revisit world-altering events and experience a different reality where wars never happened, revolutions succeeded, and political decisions had a completely different outcome. Here are examples of alternative history novels:
– “The Years of Rice and Salt” (Kim Stanley Robinson): imagines what would have happened if the Black Death wiped out most of Europe.
– “The Man in the High Castle” (Philip K. Dick’s): explores a future where Japan and Nazi Germany win WWII.
– “11/22/63” (Stephen King): follows a time traveler trying to save President Kennedy from assassination- with unexpected results!
My novel, Healer’s Blade (Enemy’s Keeper Book 1), explores what may have happened if gunpowder entered England during the reign of William the Conqueror. Gunpowder was used extensively during Wiliam’s lifetime… in China. You can find illustrations of amazing and creative early explosives in the military manual Wujing Zongyao, (the Complete Essentials for the Military Classics), dated AD 1044:
During William the Conqueror’s reign, the Silk Road connected China with many countries, including Italy. Because the Normans had captured many regions of Italy by AD 1075, they likely had access to Silk Road commodities like porcelain, teas, spices, dyes, etc.
Despite these trade routes, “gunpowder” is not recorded in England until AD 1267, in a work called the Opus Majus by Roger Bacon.
The bottom line: William the Conqueror never experienced the power of gunpowder in “real” history.
But what if a clever rebel smuggled gunpowder and proto-bombs into Europe via the Silk Road during the AD 1075 Revolt of the Earls? Maybe the insurrectionists would’ve sent the conquering Norman king to his grave, after all.
In my latest alternative history novel, this rebel is Tobias Boltan.
I wrote a story full of adventure, plot-twists, complex characters, and slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance. The protagonist, Aliwyn is a healer, and I sprinkled in medieval medicine throughout the story. I hope you give it a read!
I choose to write in the young adult genre because
1) Adults of all ages read YA (not just teens!)
2) YA should not have triggering content such as explicit sex, violence and rape, and profuse profanity. Readers expect this of the YA genre and I also want to write stories within these expectations.
3) YA books are perfectly capable of exploring timeless themes such as loyalty, forgiveness, and redemption. These are the core themes of Enemy’s Keeper.
Finally, I write YA because I can’t wait for my daughter Ariane to read my work. She is only 6, but my youngest reader so far was only 11. Ariane will be old enough before I know it!
Thank you for having me as a guest!
An absolute pleasure, Kyrie!
You can purchase Healer’s Blade on Amazon
Learn more about Kyrie and visit her website