After leaving Apion in a very, very dark place at the end of Strategos: Born in the Borderlands, I often wondered not where I would take him next, but where I would find him when I returned to the story to write this second volume. The cliff-hanger ending to the first volume was a tempting place to pick up again, but I quickly realised that Apion's story demanded something different.
Indeed, having read David Gemmell's classic 'Midnight Falcon', I marvelled at how the author had effortlessly stepped several years ahead from where the previous volume, 'Sword in the Storm', left off. Much had happened in the intervening years. Richly painted and seemingly iron-willed characters had been demoted to mere background figures. The world had changed. But had the author made that choice, or had Connovar and Bane chosen for him?
I knew that Apion had to be closer to the tumultuous event around which the trilogy pivots: Manzikert. When, on the first day of my research into this period, I saw the announcement that Michael Attaleiates' History - an eyewitness account of Manzikert and the campaigns of the preceding years - had been translated into English, I sensed the hand of fate on my shoulder. I devoured Attaleiates' History in days, reading of the rise of an emperor who many thought could restore Byzantium to greatness, and of his perilous campaigns into Seljuk Syria. So it was, then, that Apion's destiny was to become entwined in this brutal and treacherous period . . . "
More about the book: http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/strategosriseofthegoldenheart
Future Fans of Gordon's books, or those interested in the history of the Britons, the Rigante, The Macedonians or the Trojans might also be interested in these posts on this blog: