In my first historical novel, The Pict, a 1st century tribal culture founded on the principles of freedom, peace, and the inherent individual right to self-determination was the foundation of an obscure people's resistance against Roman conquest and domination. The story of that resistance framed the dramatic efforts of one heroic man to act upon his convictions, to stand strong in defense of his homeland, and to sacrifice much in his struggle to succeed in all that he felt called to accomplish.
The Pict was but an outline of the dramatic saga that unfolded in 1st century Scotland (Pictavia, as it was known to the Romans of the time). Tragic and unforeseen personal circumstances led me to polish and publish the book at the stage to which I had gotten it when those circumstances struck. While I'm pleased with the composition, the presentation, and the near-unanimous reception of The Pict, I anticipated and expected the single most common (and valid) criticism it has received: the book is just too short. There is far, far more to the story that must be told. The details of the saga that went untold because of my decision to publish rather than indefinitely delay are all there yet to be told. They will be told.
The critics are right. I've agreed with them from the start. Therefore, as I work through the wreckage of my deepest and most devastating personal loss, as I rediscover the voice of my creativity, I am forcing my focus back to the one thing my dear wife wanted so desperately for me to accomplish. I'm filling in the details of the saga of the indomitable Picts, of the first true Ri na Cruithne (King of the Picts), and expanding their story to the extent that it deserves to be told. The result will be The Pict: Rising of the Last Free Men.
Rising of the Last Free Men will continue to develop alongside my second historical novel, which was nearly 80% complete when I turned my attention entirely to the "completion" of The Pict. I hope you will look forward to the release of Last Free Men, and to the followup saga set in 13th century Europe.
To all who have read The Pict, and especially to those who took the time to tell me what they thought of it, I offer my heartfelt thanks. You have encouraged me to continue to tell the stories I have to tell. My deepest hope is that you will enjoy my forthcoming work far more even than you enjoyed my first.