Posts Tagged ‘historical fiction’

New Zealand: A Novel (The New Zealand Series 1), by Lance Morcan, spans almost 500 years and covers the respective discoveries of New Zealand by Maori and European. It starts in the 1300’s with the departure of Pacific Islanders from Hawaiki in search of land far to the south; it ends in the 1700’s with Captain James Cook’s historic circumnavigation of that same land – a land he calls New Zealand – as seen through the eyes of young crewmember Nicholas Young aboard the bark Endeavour. From the outset the two stories are interposed. The adventures of the descendants of the earliest Maoris are followed down through the centuries, culminating in their often violent, sometimes romantic, always fascinating interactions with the white intruders they call pakehas.

New Zealand… the land that time forgot.

Shrouded in cloud at the bottom of the world, this was the land that time forgot: the last sizeable piece of undiscovered land on Earth. Two hundred million years after breaking away from the vast southern continent of Gondwana, Man had yet to leave his footprints on this prehistoric place.

Mythology would have it the land was fished up out of the ocean. In fact, earthquakes and volcanic activity forced it to literally erupt from the sea bed. This violent birth left it with a majestic ruggedness that would always reflect its former turbulence. The legacy of those fiery beginnings includes still-active volcanoes amidst the mountain chains that dissect the land.

Over time, its features softened. Scenes of beauty emerged out of the mists. There was a haunting stillness about the land. It was a place of mystery – of magical forests and sparkling lakes and rivers.

And the sea surrounded it – like some huge tidal moat.

Its isolation ensured it wouldn’t be until well into the First Millennium AD that Man would step foot on these shores. The brown-skinned people who settled here would call their new home Aotearoa – land of the long, white cloud. Not until its rediscovery centuries later by European explorers would the land receive the name by which it is known today…

New Zealand – aptly named by some as Aotearoa…Land of the long white cloud.

Author’s note:

New Zealand: A Novel is book one in The New Zealand Series. Target audience is adult readers; manuscript word count is 103,000 words. Genres include historical fiction, adventure, romance.

Given the increasing worldwide interest in New Zealand and the fascination over its indigenous people, I believe the timing couldn’t be better for this novel. While it has the lust and violence associated with those pre-European and Colonial times, New Zealand: A Novel has strong themes of love and romance, which will endear it to female readers as well as male.

Book two (as yet untitled) in the series has also been written and it continues two decades after book one ends. The storyline for book three has been fully scoped.

Lance Morcan

Excerpt:

The following excerpt from New Zealand: A Novel sees the surviving Hawaikan voyageurs reach their destination at the end of a gruelling six-week journey from their South Pacific homeland.

“I see land!” Rangi shouted triumphantly, leaping to his feet.

“Where?” Hotu demanded.

“There!” the excited navigator said, pointing directly southwest.

Kafoa was wide awake now. He pushed himself to his feet and squeezed between the two men, searching the horizon for a glimpse of land.

Hotu said, “Yes! I see it!”

Rangi adjusted the tiller until the canoe pointed slightly more to the west.

Others gathered around, aroused by the sudden commotion. 

Kafoa strained his eyes, but could see only sky and ocean. “Where is it?” he implored. “I cannot see anything!”

Hotu smiled. “Look for the signs and you will see it.”

Kafoa scanned the horizon, looking for any one of the signs he had memorised by heart. He absentmindedly massaged the stub of the extra small finger on his left hand as he studied the sea and sky around him. Finally he saw what the men had seen. Low on the horizon, at the limit of his vision, was a large landmass resting beneath a long white cloud. Studying the distant landmass, he murmured, “Aotearoa.”

Hotu nodded. “Aotearoa,” he agreed, “land of the long white cloud.”

Kupe’s land now had a name.

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The excitement aboard Ronui was unrestrained as the landmass now referred to by all as Aotearoa came into clear focus beneath the umbrella of cloud. Everyone who could stand was standing. The only voyagers not on their feet were those too weak to stand.

Hotu was now manning the tiller. His heart beat fast. Here at last was Kupe’s land! Tears filled his eyes and he murmured a prayer of thanks to the spirits of his Hawaikan ancestors. This land, their land, would be his people’s salvation. Of that he was sure.

From around twenty miles out, the land appeared dark and mysterious in the shadow of the cloudbank above it. Forbidding even. The sight had a sobering effect on the voyagers. All conversation ceased as they studied their new homeland.

Hotu glanced down at Kafoa who hadn’t left his side since the first sighting. Overcome with love for the boy, he reached down and ruffled his hair yet again. Kafoa looked up and smiled at the father he idolised.

As Ronui sailed onwards, floundering deeper than ever in the water, the land mass ahead slowly took shape. It was high – higher than the tropical islands of the Pacific – and it was covered in dense, lush, green bush.

Although still too far away to ascertain, the land appeared to be unoccupied, and some sixth-sense told Hotu it was. Which meant he and his fellow survivors would be the only people on these shores. He wondered what had become of Kupe’s fellow voyagers all those centuries ago.

Hotu’s mind returned to the present and he realised the bigger question was what had happened to Ra and the others aboard Tautira. He prayed they were safe.

#

By mid-afternoon, the clouds lifted and Aotearoa was bathed in brilliant sunshine.

The Hawaikans were close to shore now. They scrutinised every feature of their new land. Ahead of them breakers crashed against impressive white cliffs that rose straight out of the sea. The clifftops were fringed by trees whose distinctive flowers blazed scarlet under the summer sun. Kafoa thought it likely the branch that was recovered from the sea came from one of those very trees.

Hotu was anxious to find a suitable landing place before nightfall. It was the ever-vigilant Rangi who brought his attention to a bay slightly to the north of where they were heading.

“Over there!” the navigator said, pointing to a crescent-shaped bay.

“Uh,” Hotu confirmed, steering the canoe toward the bay. A prominent headland at the bay’s southern end guarded the entrance to it.

The rocky shoreline gave way to a white-sand surf beach. Calm water and only the faintest of breezes aided an uneventful beaching. After such a long and dramatic voyage, the landing seemed almost an anti-climax to the exhausted survivors.

Kafoa was first to disembark, jumping from the canoe into the shallows. In a few strides he was standing above the high tide mark on the beach, his hunger pangs and tiredness forgotten for the moment. One by one, the other survivors joined him.

The descendants of Kupe had come home.

Hotu prayed that Ra and the others aboard Tautira had also arrived safely. He had no way of knowing they would soon land on a similar beach several hundred miles to the north.

It would be two centuries before the descendants of these separated peoples would meet, and when they did, it would not be as friends but as mortal enemies.

The Hawaikans survived daunting odds to reach Aotearoa circa 1300 AD.

Captain Cook’s bark the Endeavour off New Zealand’s coast (above) and an adaptation of Cook’s map of New Zealand (below).

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For the First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest salmon was part of their staple diet – preferably eaten putrid and well past its used-by date – as young Englishman John Jewitt discovered when a captive of the Mowachahts of Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in the early 1800s. 

We include references to John’s aversion to putrid salmon in our epic historical fiction adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story). The earthy descriptions are accurate for we sourced them directly from a diary he kept during his years in captivity. To John’s chagrin, the surrounding woods abounded with game, but salmon was considered a delicacy compared to deer and such.

Mowachaht chief Maquinna and his family agreed to John’s request that he cook an English-style meal of roasted venison for them. However, to the young cook’s dismay, they were unimpressed by the meal, and stuck to their traditional diet.

John observed the Mowachahts’ diet, which also included whale meat and blubber, kept them healthy as illness was rare within the tribe except during harsh winters when starvation was a common occurrence.

One book critic describes INTO THE AMERICAS as “an incredible, true-life, wilderness survival story”. It is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook.

In Australia’s wilderness, Aborigines told escaped Irish convict John Graham if you want to live follow the Songlines. So he did… and he lived. John found sanctuary with the Kabi, a primitive tribe who had never seen a white man, and he marveled at their uncanny ability to navigate the landscape by following the mysterious Songlines – tracks left by their spirit ancestors from the Dreaming.

“Those who lose dreaming are lost.” -Aboriginal proverb

Here, we relate some of John’s true-life experiences from our epic historical adventure WHITE SPIRIT (A novel based on a true story)

As his companion Mamba explained, “You know we sing to the land and its sacred landmarks because it is alive… The Songlines allow us to follow the paths left by our spirit ancestors from the Dreamtime. Our ancestors have told us it is so, remember? By following the Dreaming Tracks we walk in footprints of those who went before us and so we journey safely…and never get lost.”

Mamba continued, “The language of the Songlines is in the rhythm of the song, not the words. The rhythm is an echo of the sky and of the land below. Listening to it, or singing it, guarantees you always have a path to follow.”

White Spirit (A novel based on a true story) by [Lance Morcan, James Morcan]

Set in Nineteenth Century Australia,  WHITE SPIRIT is based on John Graham’s remarkable true story. After escaping from the notorious Moreton Bay Penal Settlement, John finds refuge with the Kabi, a tribe of Aborigines who eventually accept him as one of their own. Attempts to recapture him are orchestrated by a variety of contrasting characters working for the all-pervasive British Empire. They include Moreton Bay’s tyrannical, opium-addicted commandant Lord Cheetham, the dashing yet warlike Lieutenant Hogan, native tracker Barega and the penal settlement’s captain, Tom Marsden.

WHITE SPIRIT is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook. https://www.amazon.com/White-Spirit-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B01LWIRH9J/

4.4 out of 5 stars after 185 reviewer ratings on Amazon.

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My inspiration for this short story was the real-life abduction by Maori of a young white girl who happened to be one of two identical twins living in 19th Century New Zealand. The girl’s bereft father spent years unsuccessfully searching for his missing daughter.

That true story had a happy ending many years later after a chance sighting in Wellington saw the separated twins reunited. It turned out the abducted sister had been raised as a Maori by the tribe that had taken her; she’d had two loving husbands, both Maoris, and had children by them both; she spoke fluent Te Reo Māori and had no desire to return to her previous life.    

In Once were Brothers, seven-year-old Daniel Thomas is abducted from the family farm in New Zealand’s Far North by Maoris opposed to the presence of white settlers. Daniel’s father devotes his remaining years to searching for his missing blue-eyed, blond-haired son. Until his death a decade later, he’s assisted in his search by Daniel’s identical twin brother Benjamin.

Twenty years later and now a family man himself with children of his own, Benjamin receives a tip-off that could confirm one way or another whether his brother is alive or dead.

Once Were Brothers by [Morcan, Lance]

Once Were Brothers is available via Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082Z5FBVZ/

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“These are stories that plead to be films!” That’s Amazon Hall of Fame Top 100 reviewer Grady Harp’s assessment of the four epic novels in our FOUR HISTORICAL ADVENTURES box set.

Box set includes White Spirit, Into the Americas, World Odyssey and Fiji: A Novel.

Totalling 2935 pages, the novels include:

White Spirit (A novel based on a true story)

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story)

World Odyssey (The World Duology, Book 1)

Fiji: A Novel (The World Duology, Book 2)

The above novels are all critically acclaimed and all available via Amazon as paperbacks and Kindle ebooks.

FOUR HISTORICAL ADVENTURES (White Spirit, Into the Americas, World Odyssey, Fiji: A Novel) has a 4.5 star review rating on Amazon. You can check out the reviews at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07X49D17B/

Producer enquiries regarding any or all these potential period films are most welcome!

Meantime do check out James’ behind-the-scenes clip of his directing debut movie Anno 2020 adapted from his recent release novel of the same name… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCndxcZbWFGcNQ76TLVSZaeg

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In WHITE SPIRIT (A novel based on a true story)  Irish convict John Graham is mistaken for a white spirit by primitive Aborigines after he escapes from Australia’s infamous Moreton Bay penal settlement. His is an epic tale!

White Spirit (A novel based on a true story) by [Lance Morcan, James Morcan]

Set in nineteenth century Australia, WHITE SPIRIT  is a sweeping yarn that encapsulates all the nuances of the southern continent’s unique history and provides detailed insights into the tribal life of First Australian (Aboriginal) peoples.

★★★★★ “Disturbing, brutal, honest, unputdownable. It is real, very, very real with fascinating characters at the helm. Very highly recommended! Both men and women will enjoy the story.” – ‘History and Women’ org.

★★★★★ “This is a tour de force of a book… every page and chapter is riveting.” –Amazon Reviews

★★★★★ “It kept me enthralled from start to finish” –Amazon Customer

WHITE SPIRIT  is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LWIRH9J/

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Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, is the setting for our adventure novel Into the Americas. It was here that 19-year-old John Jewitt found himself captive after Mowachaht warriors attacked his ship and slaughtered his crewmates.

Here’s what Amazon reviewers are saying about Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story):

★★★★★  “An awesome tale!” -Great Historical Fiction Book Reviews

★★★★★  “Extremely well researched, the main character’s ‘coming of age’ is told with detached and stark brutality.” -Award-winning author Lee Murray

★★★★★  “Want a great historical fiction read? Here it is!” -Author Alice DiNizo

★★★★★ “VERY entertaining! Near impossible to put down.” -Amazon Reviews 

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story) by [Lance Morcan, James Morcan]

Into the Americas is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook.  http://www.amazon.com/Into-Americas-novel-based-story-ebook/dp/B00YJKM51E/

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In the action-romance short story A Gladiator’s Love  dashing Greek gladiator Leonidas is looking forward to fighting for his freedom in the Colosseum of Ancient Rome. That is until he learns who it is he must fight.

A Gladiator's Love by [Lance Morcan]

★★★★★ “Rich in flavor and fine characterizations, this novella makes for a fine winter evening’s read. Highly recommended.” –Amazon Hall of Fame Top 50 reviewer Grady Harp

Footnote: Did you know there were gladiatrix, or female gladiators, in Ancient Rome? And there is evidence to suggest they were honored as highly as their male counterparts. History suggests many of them were ‘high born’ women of means… I guess they bred ’em tough in those days!

A Gladiator’s Love is available via Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082S2MKN3/

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John Jewitt…the central character in our historical adventure novel Into the Americas. The scar on his forehead was left by a Mowachaht warrior intent on decapitating him. All but one of Jewitt’s crewmates were beheaded after their brigantine the Boston was attacked in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island. The portrait sketch, incidentally, was drawn years after these dramatic events.

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story) is a gritty, real-life adventure based on one of history’s greatest survival stories. It was inspired by the diary entries of young English blacksmith John Jewitt during his time aboard ship and also during his sojourn at Nootka Sound, on North America’s western seaboard, from 1802 to 1805.

It’s a tale of two vastly different cultures – indigenous North American and European civilization – colliding head on. It is also a Romeo and Juliet story set in the wilderness.

Into the Americas is available via Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YJKM51E/

You can read the opening chapters if you click on the book’s cover on its Amazon page… Happy reading!

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In the opening chapters of our historical adventure INTO THE AMERICAS (A novel based on a true story) we describe as follows the arrival of young English blacksmith John Jewitt in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in the early 1800s…

John and his crewmates returned their attention to shore as The Boston entered Friendly Cove. Nootka village came into view and the drumming sound that had heralded the brig’s arrival earlier intensified.

Mowachaht villagers could be seen drumming sticks against the exterior of their lodges. To John’s eyes, those employed in such a way appeared to be working themselves up into a frenzy.

On the sandy beach in front of the village, warriors were in the process of launching some of the twenty or so canoes resting there. John could see the Mowachahts were intent on approaching The Boston and he hoped they meant the brig’s crew no harm. The fact that all were armed and most carried muskets did nothing for his confidence.

Dorthy, who stood alongside John, noticed his assistant’s interest in the activity ashore. “Them the Mowachahts,” the armorer said. “Savages every one of ’em, so watch your scalp.”

John hoped Dorthy was joking. The expression on his face indicated he wasn’t.

 

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

INTO THE AMERICAS is available via Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YJKM51E/

 

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