Dave Duncan is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, best known for his fantasy series, particularly The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, and The King's Blades. He and his wife Janet live in Victoria, British Columbia. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Although Against the Light is my forty-fifth novel, it is different from all the others. This is my first story based on real history.
Briefly, four hundred years ago, England was ruled by a Protestant queen, Elizabeth I. In the eyes of the Pope, she was both a heretic and a bastard, so he announced that he released all the Catholics in England from allegiance to her. Thus he turned his followers in that country into traitors. Undoubtedly most English Catholics were loyal to their queen, and the queen’s government was reluctant to persecute them, but the conflict between politics and religion was insolvable.
Young Catholic men fled overseas, were ordained as priests, and returned to minister to the faithful. The government hunted them down. Many of the secret hiding places they used can still be found in old houses. This sort of situation is irresistible grist to a writer’s mill.
Why did I not just write an honest historical novel? Partly because history is not as tidy as fiction and may need to be tweaked, but mostly because a fantasy setting isolates the problem from its modern avatars, preventing the reader from taking sides, either consciously or unconsciously.
Don’t worry that I will try to preach at you. I detest fiction with a message. My purpose with Against the Light is only to entertain—-and perhaps leave you wondering a bit at the end.