Guest post - Craftsmanship in Fantasy by Miles Cameron

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Fell Sword, released on March 11th, is the second book in the Traitor Son Cycle by author Miles Cameron, who adopted Canada.  Miles is his pseudonym for his Fantasy writing since he's already know in the Historical and Military Fantasy ground as Christian Cameron.  The author is also a reenactor which you can find more about on his webpage.

You can also read my review of the first book of the series, The Red Knight, here.

For the release of the Fell Sword, Miles wrote several guest posts in his blog tour. Here's an interesting one on craftsmanship in Fantasy.



Craftsmanship in Fantasy
by Mile Cameron

I love fine craftsmanship, and my books—especially Red Knight and  Fell Sword owe both depth and inspiration to men and women who make beautiful things. 

Some of that craftsmanship comes from the past—a look inside a seventeenth century wheelock pistol will inspire almost anyone, as will the enameled jewelry of the early fifteenth century—but most of my favorite items come from the present day.  We are lucky—we are, by historical standards, incredibly wealthy and we have access to virtually everything that has come before us, so modern craftspeople have an incredible repertoire of techniques on which to draw. 

I have met JT Palikko, who makes blades that seem magical to me and works on an island off Helsinki in Finalnd; I have a number of pieces by Leo Todeschini, whose work is magnificent and whose balestrino crossbow looks like something that should only exist in ‘Assassin’s Creed’. Eric Schatzel is an American ‘blacksmith’ who makes blades and axes that look and feel like originals.  Peter Fuller of Canada and Jiri Klepac of the Czech Republic and Craig Sitch of Australia are all brilliant armourers, as good as the men who made the harnesses we see in museums.  My friends Josh Brevik and Ward Oles can do quillwork and metalwork to rival the 18th century originals; my friend Aurora Simmons makes modern jewelry and medieval jewelry and buckles and ancient Greek pins of astounding complexity.  My friend Justin Clement can sew an eighteenth century buttonhole (not to mention he whole garment on which it goes!) and my friend Tasha Kelly has reproduced the whole of Charles of Blois’ insanely complex two layer quilted pourpoint. 

I know gunsmiths and blacksmiths—Jymm Hoffman can make you an entire train of artillery, given time and money—whitesmiths, book binders, butchers and cooks and lace makers and people who work tapestries and make moccasins.  My father taught me this love, and he is, as far as I know, the last man in the world who can make a horsehair fishing line.  Erv Tschanz taught me leatherwork and is still a master at it—and hornwork, the ‘plastic’ of the pre-modern world.  Karl Robinson is another—his leatherwork looks as if it was made by elves and not a man. 

All these people—all these crafts—inspire me to write about them.  Material culture is a wonderful story by itself!


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he Red Knight is a professionally written novel. Besides getting an exciting story, you are getting a well-written story. It is not all blood and guts, Cameron takes time to smell the roses. Love and hate, the nature of good and evil, the meaning of loyalty and friendship... Cameron writes them as well as he writes a deadly battle with a wyvern.

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