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Why you must read JD Smith’s Tristan and Iseult


Tristan and Iseult is a retelling of the classic legend of love.

Iseult is the daughter of Irish kings and a woman of the blood, destined to marry the new leader of southern Ireland, Morholt, a man who is rumoured to have killed her father to gain position. But bloody duel changes her course, and she finds herself stranded on the coast of Kernow bringing with her the possibility of peace.

Tristan fights the Saxons as his Uncle, King Mark, defend the coast from the Irish Bloodshields. Mark is determined to unite the tribes of Briton and Ireland and forge an alliance that would see an end to war and the beginnings of peace.

But Tristan loses his heart to Iseult, and the future of Briton flutters grey.

We love that phrase: the future of Briton flutters grey.
What genre is this novel?
Historical tragedy. Think Romeo and Juliet, which was in fact based upon the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Oh really? We didn’t know that. No wonder we love that tale: we love this sort of thing.
If you like ancient Briton, have a passion for unrequited love mixed with swords, you’ll love my book.

How have you interpreted this ancient story to make it your own?
The story is told equally from both Tristan and Iseult’s viewpoint.

Iseult is shy and somewhat reserved, young but with heart and spirit. She feels at home with the sky and the sea and shingle of her home, and yet with her first freedom, she finds herself tied inexorably with politics once more, and her good nature and desperation to do what is right dictates an inevitable fate.

Tristan is taking the blows of life hard. He lacks belief in himself and his own future, unable to face that which he cannot have. And his meeting with Iseult is compounded by his own sense of guilt and belief that he does not deserve to fully live.

Have you written any other books that we should read next?
The Rise of Zenobia will be out in March 2014, describing the epic years of the reign of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, who led the greatest, most threatening rebellion the Roman Empire ever faced.

History again. We’re guessing your career has something to do with history.
I am a graphic designer, working predominantly on book design. My passion for books has led me to begin building my own library, and I have had printed my very own Pride and Prejudice wallpaper – the whole book in 9pt Garamond on my wall!

You’re part of the Triskele author collective, aren’t you? Tell us where we can find you and your colleagues.

What’s next for you?
The Overlord series, telling of the Rise of Zenobia, is going to be a big series, the first three books already written and will be published in 2014/2015.

How easily do new storylines come to you? If we give you four random words 
– Man, Woman, Mexico, Future – can you give us a brief storyline?
Man seeks revenge for the man he loves, killed by a woman wearing a red bandanna and a cheap sombrero. They meet in a bar in Honduras, guns by their sides, the sharp scent of tequila lingering in the sticky residue of the previous night. They talk, they threaten, they swear that neither will live out the year, then they part under a setting sun, to plan a future of that entails tracking and killing the other, until one or the other or both are dead.

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