THE BEST KIND OF PRAISE
'A gripping read', 'well-written and extensively researched', 'a fast-moving, Tudor crime story', 'wonderfully well-rounded characters', 'D.K. Wilson is a master of intrigue and suspense', 'historical crime at its best', 'unputdownable would be an understatement'. To judge by the early reviews, The First Horseman will give fans of historical fiction a great deal of pleasure. A writer can't ask for more and I'm very grateful to those who send in reviews or contact me direct to express their appreciation. Yet what gratifies me particularly is comments such as the book, 'illustrates clearly what a different world the past was'. I can only really feel I've done my job properly if readers find my writing authentic; if their response is, 'Yes, that's what it must have been like.'
For a long time I wanted to write about the year 1536-7 because it was such a crucial year in the reign of Henry VIII - a real turning point. The king had de-poped the English church and begun the process of grabbing for himself much of its landed wealth (the biggest nationalisation in our history). More than that, the regime gave encouragement to scholars, preachers and pamphleteers who challenged some of the basic religious teaching that people had believed for generations. And 'believed' is the operative word, for what marks the Tudor age from our own is that virtually everyone was 'religious'. The social, intellectual and spiritual upheaval profoundly affected people at all levels of society. It dismayed those who clung to the status quo but, at the same time, thrilled others, who were hungry for change. That was why the northern half of the country rose in the most widespread rebellion England had ever seen. It was why bonfires and gallows throughout the land were well supplied with victims. And it was why, on a foggy November morning, a London merchant really was shot and killed in Cheapside.
That's the point from which the tale of The First Horseman (published in paperback on 28 August and now available in ebook format) takes off. What follows is certainly a whodunit. It propels its main characters on a journey of investigation, revenge, danger and divided loyalties. But above all - I hope - it conveys something of the insecurity of an England turning its back on its past but unsure where its future lies.