Monday, September 3, 2012

Guest post from C.C.Humphreys, author of A PLACE CALLED ARMAGEDDON

I'm delighted to welcome back my friend C.C. Humphreys, who is currently touring for the US release of his new novel A PLACE CALLED ARMAGEDDON. Set in Constantinople in the earth-shattering year of 1453, this is a riveting account of the city's catastrophic fall to the Sultan Mehmet, as seen though the eyes of four lead characters whose lives and fates are entwined with that of the beautiful, doomed city. C.C. has such an eye for detail and voice; he captures the tragedy and drama of this pivotal event in history while never forgetting the human impetus behind it. I'm reading this novel now and am thoroughly entranced.

Please join me in welcoming C.C. Humphreys as he recounts an event that happened while researching this book.

In the cause of research, an Author is assaulted

What is travel without a little danger? I have always been a lucky traveller, rarely had  any problems. Humans are nearly always delightful, kind and generous. I have been given beds when I could not find hotels, food when I was hungry, heard great tales from people whose language I barely understood. 

And yet? The usually great experiences have to be contrasted with something darker to achieve their full brightness, surely? So there was that time in the hill tribe village near the Cambodian border. Another on the streets of Lima. A third beneath the pyramids at Giza…and then there was Istanbul.

It happened like this. I had rendezvoused with my good friend Allan Eastman – film director, history nut, fabulous indulger in life and its pleasures – to explore the city and especially the tale of the great siege of 1453. We both knew the battle well by this stage, and our plan was to walk over the sites, trying to see down the centuries to the men and women who’d fought there, attackers and defenders. We’d get distracted by speculation, possibilities.

So we’d come up from the Golden Gate to a rundown section of the Theodosian walls. To a turret, knocked down by Turkish cannon in 1453, never repaired. There was waste ground behind the ruin we explored, some ramshackle dwellings beyond it. Realizing that we couldn’t walk further along the walls, we were about to retrace our steps when a pack of boys came running across from the houses. Ten of them, they ranged in age from about nine to fourteen.
‘Heh, Mister! Cigarettes! You give!’
We both put up our hands in a pacifying gesture. ‘No, no,’ we said. ‘We don’t have any. Excuse us.’
We tried to move through them. They blocked our path. ‘Money. You give money now.’
‘Don’t think so.’
Hands still raised, smiles fixed, we managed to push through. The boys glowered but didn’t touch us. I thought we were in the clear… until I felt a shove in my back. I turned. A boy was a couple of paces away, glaring at me. I gave him a stare, turned slowly, moved away.
No one followed. We made the road, hailed a cab, went to more populated sections.

That night, back at my pension, I was emptying my bag when I found something unusual in it: a jagged piece of rock that had definitely not been there before. And I realized - it hadn’t been a shove - that boy had shied a stone at me! It had hit my daypack, dropped in… I studied it more closely – and found it wasn’t a rock at all but baked clay over brick. A chunk of the turret that had almost certainly been shattered by a cannon blast, fired by the boy’s ancestors.

Next moment, I was laughing. I had taken shot from a Turk upon the Theodosian Walls! And unlike many a Christian in 1453, I had survived. The rock sits on my desk – and makes me smile every time I look at it.

Thank you, C.C.! To learn more about C.C. Humphreys and his work (he's also a master swordsman and accomplished actor) please visit his website.


brokenteepee said...

I've got this in my TBR pile and I'm looking forward to it

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Christopher. For hosting and nice comments. Means a lot coming from such a skilled practioner!

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Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.
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