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Writers Inspiring Change feature review: Heaven in a Wild Flower

Heaven in a Wild Flower, by John Broughton, is a wonderfully written historical tale, the first book in the trilogy that follows the life and adventures of Aella, a Saxon leatherworker in 7th century Britain, who crosses paths with Saint Cuthbert, and who inspires the young man. Because of his skills, the monks ask Aella to create a cover for the Gospel of St. John, a work that shines the spotlight on the young leatherworker, eventually earning praise and a commission from the King himself to do more such work. If you enjoyed Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, you will love this story. It is beautifully written, capturing the simplistic and pastoral lifestyle of 7th century Britain, and not without adventures and battle scenes and near misses with death. The story is told from Aella’s perspective, and through his eyes we see the immense detail, love and passion he puts into his work to create a masterful composition of the life and the miracles of Saint Cuthbert. In a day and age where we can print a book in just minutes, this story reminds us just how much dedication was required to create just one or even a handful of books. Book II and III are about the generations that follow in Aella’s footsteps, and I have no doubt they will keep us engaged.

About John Broughton

John Broughton was born in Cleethorpes Lincolnshire UK in 1948: just one of the many post-war babies. After attending grammar school and studying to the sound of Bob Dylan he went to Nottingham University and studied Medieval and Modern History (Archaeology subsidiary). The subsidiary course led to one of his greatest academic achievements: tipping the soil content of a wheelbarrow from the summit of a spoil heap on an old lady hobbling past the dig. He did many different jobs while living in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Leamington, Glossop, the Scilly Isles, Puglia and Calabria. They include teaching English and History, managing a Day Care Centre, being a Director of a Trade Institute and teaching university students English. He even tried being a fisherman and a flower picker when he was on St. Agnes island, Scilly. He has lived in Calabria since 1992 where he settled into a long-term job at the University of Calabria teaching English. No doubt his lovely Calabrian wife, Maria, stopped him being restless. His two kids are grown up now, but he wrote books for them when they were little. Hamish Hamilton and then Thomas Nelson published 6 of these in England in the 1980s. They are now out of print. He’s a granddad and, happily, the parents wisely named his grandson Dylan. He decided to take up writing again late in his career. When teaching and working as a translator he didn’t really have time for writing. As soon as he stopped the translation work, he resumed writing in 2014. The fruit of that decision was his first historical novel, The Purple Thread followed by Wyrd of the Wolf. Both are set in his favourite Anglo-Saxon period. His third and fourth novels, a two-book set, are Saints and Sinners and its sequel Mixed Blessings set on the cusp of the eighth century in Mercia and Lindsey. A fifth Sward and Sword is about the great Earl Godwine. Creativia Publishing have released Perfecta Saxonia and Ulf’s Tale about King Aethelstan and King Cnut’s empire respectively. In May 2019, they published In the Name of the Mother, a sequel to Wyrd of the Wolf. Creativia/Next Chapter also published Angenga a time-travel novel linking the ninth century to the twenty-first. This novel inspired John Broughton’s venture, a series of six novels about psychic investigator Jake Conley, whose retrocognition takes him back to Anglo-Saxon times. Next Chapter Publishing scheduled the first of these, Elfrid’s Hole for publication at the end of October 2019; the second, is Red Horse Valeand the third, Memory of a Falcon; the fourth is The Snape Ring; the fifth, Pinions of Gold, like the others is on sale on Amazon; The last of the series The Serpent Wand is also now available.

The author’s project previous to The Rebel Scribes was a trilogy of ‘pure’ Anglo-Saxon novels about Saint Cuthbert. The first is Heaven in a Wild Flower, The Horse-thegn is the second and the third is The Master of the Chevron.

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