Last night I had such a vivid dream about this. And a thesis waiting to written (?)
I even saw the DD’s reply below in it.
“I would like to ask Mrs. Dunnett how long it took her to research and where did she find all of the wonderful history for King Hereafter.”
A detailed answer would hold up Niccolo 8 for a month (my reading list alone was 700 books long).
Briefly(!):1975, Day 1, contract to write the first properly researched historical novel on the real Macbeth, on which there is ample academic material. (younger son then aged 11).Day 2 (virtually), discover the academic material is mostly ancient and full of gaps, the exception being the deconstruction of Shakespeare, which is popular and has been well and accurately tackled.Day 3, sort out which few areas have been updated, mostly in monograph form, and verify from the universities that absolutely no historical department is currently re-examining this period.Day 4, resign myself to collecting and analysing primary material, as soon as I have read through and noted the secondaries. This included sources (including foreign ones) for info on the Celts, the Picts, the Vikings, the Anglo-Saxons, on current laws and customs on marriage, fostering, bastardy, kingship, on the detailed politics of surrounding countries, on biographies of individuals such as Canute, Emma, PopeLeo, etc. etc. Also early charters, monastic annals, fragments of early poetry (plus linguistic studies), the Icelandic sagas, saints’ lives, early histories written under the Stewarts, and a lot about the Norman Conquest (plus Norman and Breton charters) to identify the Normans who fled to Macbeth. Also everything relevant in archaeology.Lovely discoveries about the Archbishop of Dol. Travel, including visits to Rome, Goslar, Vienna, Brittany, Normandy, the Celtic Library at Harvard and all relevant places in the UK, including many visits to Orkney, collecting published material and looking at buildings and museums. Compilation incidentally of 145 interlocking European family trees, laid out in miniscule writing on a piece of wallpaper 20 feet long. Discovery that the story still didn’t make sense. Awful dawning realisation that it did make sense if Thorfinn and Macbeth were not half-brothers but the same person. Grinding of teeth (original research is not a good idea for a novelist). Decision (courtesy of my publishers) to continue researching, and in particular track to its source every accepted fact that contradicted this theory.By the end of 1979, evident to me that the Thorfinn/Macbeth case was stronger than any other, and the investigation was now academically viable. Moment of truth; continue for ten years and exhaust all the lines of research? Take another year, and publish the case as it then stood as non-fiction? Or write, with the facts I then had, the novel I had been contracted to write in 1975? I chose to write the novel, beginning in January 1980 and finishing in March 1981 (younger son now aged nearly 17 and forgiving). The rest, as they say is history…..”
I have talked much about Macbeth here over the years.
I have Dorothy Dunnett’s masterpiece – KING HEREAFTER.
And it is an Opus Magnus.
Being 36% Scottish and 29% Scandinavian and 1% Russian – my genes are all a jiggle.
WHO WAS MACBETH?
What I’ve noticed over the last 4 years since I posted my own DNA results here on WordPress….
….how many Scottish Vikings are now coming out of the woodwork.
Oscar Wilde — ‘Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence.’
We Brits are experts at sarcasm o)
It is beyond doubt that Scotland is connected to Scandinavia. And that Scandinavia is connected to the Varangian. And that the Varangian Guard were the bodyguards of the Byzantine Emperors.
Varangian means Foreigner. Harald Hardrada married Elisiv of Kiev. His grandson was Magnus Barelegs – the Viking Ruler of Dublin.
‘k’in jumping up and down screaming to the winds….FFFFFFFFSake. IT IS ALL THERE. And here. Inside me.
My Dad had pure Irish colouring from our Dalriada ancestors. Black hair. Light grey eyes.
I have saucy doubts and fears :o)
P.S. I always schwoon in the presence of KenBran. My silly