To be sure, Chivalry was amorphous and ephemeral. It defied definition. It was different things to different people, and it changed over time and across space. Yet it was not mere fantasy or pose. It had a very real impact, because it shaped the way men and women in the Middle Ages thought about themselves and others.
Alongside these fictional works, however, were tales of chivalry that recorded real events and described the lives of real men. Examples are the biography of William Marshal in the early 13th century, Jean de Joinville’s biography of King Louis IX half a century later, and Chandos’ Herald’s account of the deeds of Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince, written at the end of the 14th century.
These contemporary tales of chivalry have been the inspiration for my own works set in the Age of Chivalry. Like the originals, my novellas and novels set out to entertain and educate, to honor historical figures -- and create fictional ones. They seek to make the heroes of this age – and the period itself -- more comprehensible to us by writing in the language and style of today.
But I am a historian, and my works are historical fiction -- not fantasy or mystery. Each of my novels is rooted in historical fact and I strive to recreate the period and events with accuracy. It is because the concept of chivalry exercised such a powerful influence on the historical figures of the 12th-15th centuries, that I am pleased to call them Tales of Chivalry. My characters believe in chivalry – past if not present – and so chivalry embraces them.
I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them – and that Chandos’ herald did not err when he wrote: The telling of good deeds is like alms and charity; it is never lost labor, but always has its return.