“Reiksguard was my second novel and kicked-off a line of books exploring different regiments in the Empire’s army. While the late-medieval fantasy setting was more familiar and accessible than the far future space adventures of Relentless that familiarity made me all the more determined to present the Reiksguard—a knightly order which guards the realm’s emperor—in an authentic manner. My research led me not only to the real-world stories of the Knights Hospitaller and Templar, but to medieval fechtbuch (fight books) containing illustrations of the knightly martial art, to modern societies recreating the art and to my own certification in combat for the stage.
“What I learned blew the antiquated image of the lumbering, over-burdened knight from my mind and gave me the confidence to tackle describing knightly combat. Ultimately, though, the combat is an element of the setting and not the story itself. While the novel is well-stocked with multiple mysteries, interpersonal conflicts and the character I have most enjoyed writing ever, fundamentally I discovered that it was a story of perspective and leadership. The young knights inducted into the Reiksguard are divided and the plot-line of how they determined who amongst them should lead was something from my history. The plot-line of perspective, meanwhile, reflected my own better understanding of the world around me.
“Delmar and Siebrecht fight beside each other through the same war, but they emerge with radically different viewpoints on it. To quote Siebrecht’s uncle: It behoves clever men not only to know the world, but also to understand how it works. There are the spoken reasons, and then there are the unspoken reasons. And it is the unspoken reasons that are by far the most valuable.”