Thursday, March 1, 2018

Story Update: Rouen

Prototype shiksa

The pilgrims finally reach Rouen so Nesta can swear fealty to Duke William. I feel like they've been riding for months because I wrote the start of their journey on about November 15th. But they've only been on the road for four days.

So they're there for Nesta to join William's army and to win England.

And he's not there. He's in Caen!

What now? Do we noodle around Rouen, which is an interesting place in the 11th century, or do we move on to the new castle William is just constructing to subjugate the Lower Normans? 

One interesting thing about Rouen is that it was home to a huge Jewish population - about 6k out of a total of 30k within the city limits. It was home to a first-class yeshiva as well. Very unusual for this time. Charlemagne made it safe and profitable to be Jewish in Francia, but this was 200 years later and still they persisted.

My take on William is that he was opportunistic and had a good eye for talent. He would have seen the Jews as a great resource to get around usury laws; to get things done on Sunday; to learn things he wouldn't otherwise be able to know.

However... this is probably a subject for another book. Maybe Imogen can have some Jewish adventures in her sequel. She has some serious shiksa appeal.

To read the first few chapters of the novel, follow this link!

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