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Real History

Over the coming months I’ll be adding essays on medieval history. This is real history, drawn from the college courses I taught online since 1993. I’ll put a list here as a kind of teaser. I’m still unsure whether I’ll make these essays part of the Altearth site or build them into a separate site.

  • The Crusades
    • First
    • Second
    • Third
    • and all the way through the Seventh
    • with additional essays on the Crusader States
  • Hundred Years War
  • The Black Death
  • The Carolingians
  • Heresy
  • Late Antiquity
  • Late Medieval Church (Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism)
  • The Papacy
  • Renaissance
  • The Tenth Century
  • William the Conqueror
  • The Reformation
    • English Civil War
    • Scientific Revolution
    • Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the gang
  • and, as the ad copy runs, many more. Not available in any store! (but available in hundreds of books)

A Child of Great Promise

This is my current writing project. I have the first part of the story written and the ending is clear, and I have several chapters in between. Watch the News feed for updates, but as of August 2017 I can say that it will be some months before this project is completed.

The image is not the cover, it’s just a photo from the Camargue, wherein part of the story takes place.

Goblins at the Gates

Read first four chapters at Amazon.

When goblins invade the Roman Empire, everything in Altearth changes. A Horde a quarter million strong is moving toward Constantinople, and the Empire’s best hope for survival is not all that great.

Julian is the son of a famous general, but he hates the army. He’d rather drink, gamble, and annoy his fellow nobles with pranks. One prank has gone very wrong, though, and Julian’s only option is to escape his enemies by taking command of a frontier legion on a mission for the Emperor.

There he stumbles into the goblin invasion, and now must learn how to become a general even as he struggles just to survive and keep his legion intact. He does have help, of a sort.

Inglena is a princess in exile, cast out by her tribe for the terrible crime of magic, for she has a remarkable white sword that never stains and never dulls. She has gathered other exiles to her, and decides to join forces with the Roman general. If her own people will shun her, then Rome is her only hope. Her magicians can wield astonishing power, but their command of magic is erratic, and they have never had to work with disciplined troops.

Together these unlikely allies must escape the onrushing Horde, warn Emperor Valens, and find a way to save the Empire from the monsters.

All will be needed. Not all will survive.


Mad House

When they brought Quinn-the-Sprite to the Black Isle, the Chapterhouse wizards thought they had everything under control. They had framed him for royal crimes, so he would have to open the locked Library. Still not trusting him, they set the ogre John Golly to keep an eye him. But they did not know Quinn and John Golly had both been tunnelers in mercenary bands. Nor did they know (for wizards do not know everything, even when they know anything) that the House wanted John Golly to do it a favor.

And no one could have anticipated the storm.


This tale takes place off the coast of Bretagne in the year 1791 AUC. It marks the first appearance of the Chapterhouse and its wizards. It’s also the first appearance of sprites and ogres. The story began being mainly about a house that was constructed as much with magic as with wood and stone, and what might happen when that magic grew old and began to fray. I really don’t remember how Quinn of Clan Five showed up, but he refused to go away. Once he was there, John Golly just seemed a natural addition, and the story began to be more about them.

I’m glad it turned out that way. People are more interesting than houses. Even mad ones.

The Garden of Hugo Vuerloz

Hugo Vuerloz believes he has discovered the scientific underpinning for all magic. When his beloved Annelise is killed, he finds there are darker uses for his discovery.

John Mead is Hugo’s old friend. When he brings a mysterious package to Hugo’s castle in the Swiss Alps, he becomes entangled in Hugo’s bizarre world of scientific magic. But Mead isn’t the only one coming to Walensee. Sinister and secret forces are determined to seize Hugo and his discovery. Now Mead has to decide whether an old and brittle friendship is worth risking his life.

The Roadmaster

Free short story at Bewildering Stories.

A young hitchhiker stands on a desert highway fleeing something he doesn’t quite understand. An aged wizard driving a Buick Roadmaster can provide answers, but will he be in time?

Read at Bewildering STories

The Carrotfinger Man

A short story. Read for free at Aphelion Magazine.

Two dwarves take a shortcut through the forest, where they learn the risks of taking shortcuts through forests, especially where pixies are involved.

Read at Aphelion Magazine