– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Empire’s Reckoning’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but b
About the Author :
Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.
How many secrets does your family have?
For 13 years, Sorley has taught music alongside the man he loves, war and betrayal nearly forgotten. But behind their calm and ordered life, there are hidden truths. When a young girl’s question demands an answer, does he break the most important oath he has ever sworn by lying – or tell the truth, risking the destruction of both his family and a fragile political alliance?
Empire’s Reckoning asks if love – of country, of an individual, of family – can be enough to leave behind the expectations of history and culture, and to chart a way to peace.
Guest Post :
The Sound of Bells
Open moorland lay on either side of us, low hills rising in the distance. I listened, searching for one sound: the bell around a sheep’s neck. Out here, where fog and storm might mean a lost flock, every torp’s bells made a different sound. Above the high piping of a plover, and the distant, steady baa-ing, I heard the tone, once, and again. Karlstorp’s bell.
This is Sorley, the narrator of Empire’s Reckoning, determining where he is in a scene late in the book. Most of what happens in my books is accurate to real life. But did different landholders hang bells around their sheep’s necks with a sound specific to their flock?
While this sounds practical, it was remarkably difficult to research. In an annoyingly uncited paragraph in Wikipedia, I read:
Different bells can have specific sounds to identify important characteristics of the animals, such as age, sex, and species. Some cultures have even developed names to differentiate between bells and their tones; for example, in Spanish “truco” refers to stud males, “esquila” to female goats or ewes, and “esquileta” for pregnant females and immature animals. Each of these bells possess unique sounds, shapes, and sizes.
An article on the traditional sheep-bells of Crete also refers to the leader of the flock wearing a bell with a characteristic sound, and how hand-forging of bells meant they didn’t all sound the same. Tantalizing, but not proof.
Then I found this passage (again uncited) on the blog Woolwinding:
One area in East Anglia had four or five flocks that used the same piece of common land. Each flock’s lead sheep had a bell and each bell had a different note – probably because they were a different size, though this is not explicit, but the most common iron bells could not be tuned – meaning that flocks could be distinguished in the dark or in fog.
I tried to find a source for this, without luck. But it meant that there is a possibility the idea has a basis in traditional practice, and that’s good enough. Because, after all, the books are fiction!
The Magic of Wor(l)ds