The Hundred Years’ War – a novel approach (Historia Magazine)
Family arguments can stir up trouble and sometimes go beyond a family member not being invited to the next birthday bash. In the case of Isabella, the Queen Mother to young Edward III, it led to the Hundred Years’ War, a protracted conflict that spanned from 1337 to 1453. And that felt like a starting place to research my series, Master of War.
Isabella was the daughter of King Philip IV of France, and was married to England’s Edward II. When Edward died (some suspect at the behest of Isabella’s lover, Roger Mortimer) she thought her son should not only succeed to the English Crown but also the French. This family spat worsened when her cousin Philip VI inherited the French crown and then insisted her son pay homage. Her response was curt: “The son of a king does not do homage to the son of a count.“
Edward III was a resilient and courageous king and showed his mettle even as a teenager when he seized control from his mother and Mortimer. From then on, he set his sights on making his claim to the French Crown.
In 1346, when he was 33 years old, he took a small army and invaded France. And it was this event that drew in my character Thomas Blackstone with the opening lines in the first book of the series: “Fate, with its travelling companion Bad Luck and Misery, arrived at Thomas Blackstone’s door on the chilly, mist-laden morning of St William’s Day 1346.” The 16-year-old archer Thomas Blackstone went to war.