Today in our special character interview we meet, Oswii – King Oswii from Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead.
1. Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
My name is Oswii – King Oswii to be precise – although you’ll meet me as a small boy quite near the beginning of Annie Whitehead’s latest novel, Cometh the Hour
2. Why are you in this book?
I’m the nemesis of the so-called hero. The author seemed to think that Penda of Mercia was worthy of a novel, but she couldn’t have written it without including me. I became a highly successful king although it seems Penda had some kind of grudge against me. I can’t imagine what that was. And no, before you ask, it’s nothing to do with trying to make his kingdom subject to mine, or breaking oaths, or my attitude to my children.
3. Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
I must be. None of my wives had any complaints. All right, a couple of them might have got upset when I left them alone to raise my children, and if you asked my nephew he might accuse me of bullying him. Don’t speak to the abbess Hild, either, because we’ve had a couple of run-ins. Dear God, that woman can talk, and she doesn’t agree with me about anything. If I could silence her the way I silenced a couple of others… oops, probably said too much there. But flick through the book, and you’ll see that there’s never a dull moment when I’m in the scenes. I don’t half liven things up. If fights, double-dealings and general stirring of the political pot are your thing, then I’m your man.
4. What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
Well, it goes without saying that I’m a military expert. Obviously I had a hard act to follow, my brother being the oh-so-saintly Oswald. My biggest strength has to be my guile. I’m clever, you see, cunning, in fact. I don’t always take the straight road, especially if I think it might be blocked. No, I find ways, other means, to get what I want. Weaknesses? Wouldn’t be much of a king if I had any of those, would I?
5. Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?
She painted me as having quite a way with the women, and she got that bit right. My current wife is a shrew, make no mistake, and pious to the point of lunacy, but I can always manage to put a smile on her face, if you know what I mean? As for the rest, well, I will hold my hand up to one or two of the crimes that the author accused me of, but honestly, you commit one or two tiny little murders and suddenly you get blamed for every suspicious death. I was particularly proud of the way I er, shall we say, persuaded, certain people to turn traitor, or accept my very generous bribes, but she seemed to think it was a dishonest way to behave. Results, Lady, I got results, and that’s what matters. Oh, and she accused me of being a bad father. Bad father? When I produced so many children? Not my fault if I had to leave a few of them behind along the way. Honestly, some people are just too judgmental and sentimental.
You can meet Oswii in Cometh the Hour: In seventh century England, a vicious attack sets in motion a war of attrition which will last for generations.
Four kings, connected by blood and marriage, vie for the mantle of overlord. Three affect to rule with divine assistance. The fourth, whose cousin and sister have been mistreated and whose friend has been slaughtered, watches, and waits.
He is a pagan, he is a Mercian, and his name is Penda.
By his side is a woman determined to escape her brutal past. She aids his struggle against his treacherous brother and their alliance founds a dynasty with the potential to end injustice and suppression, if only they can continue to stand together…
A story that spans generations, and travels from Sutton Hoo to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and back to the buried treasure of Staffordshire, this is the first volume of the tales of the Iclingas, the family who ruled Mercia, fighting to avenge their kin and to keep their people free.
Annie Whitehead is an author and historian, and a member of the Royal Historical Society. Her first two novels are set in tenth-century Mercia, chronicling the lives of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, who ruled a country in all but name, and Earl Alvar, who served King Edgar and his son Æthelred the Unready who were both embroiled in murderous scandals. She won the inaugural HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Competition and To Be A Queen was voted finalist in its category in the IAN (Independent Author Network) Book of the Year 2017. All of her novels have received IndieBRAG Medallions and Chill with a Book Readers’ Awards, with Alvar the Kingmaker also voted Chill’s Book of the Month Award in Jan 2017. She is currently working on a history of Mercia for Amberley Publishing, to be released in 2018.
Amazon Author page: http://viewauthor.at/Annie-Whitehead