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An author of historical fiction must take the point of view, her characters’, even if she doesn’t completely agree with it. As fond as I am of Alda, the heroine of The Cross and the Dragon, I find her view of eighth-century Lombard King Desiderius oversimplified.

To the teenage Frankish noblewoman, he is an enemy of Rome, and therefore the Church. Her king, Charles, cannot refuse the pope’s pleas for aid, despite concerns about hostilities with the neighboring Saxons.

Yet after doing research about Desiderius for Tinney Sue Heath’s Historical Fiction Research blog, I found his situation was complex, even though he was not a nice guy.

Tinney’s name might be familiar to you. She wrote a posts on Outtakes about Dante’s vision of Charlemagne in the afterlife and Florentines’ claim to the emperor.

The story I’ve written for Historical Fiction Research is a tale of shifting alliances, family honor, and brutal revenge. Visit Tinney’s blog for more.

Desiderius at Court illustration

Desiderius holds court in what is believed to be an illustration to Alessandro Manzoni’s Adelchi, a 19th century tragedy.