Adventures in Bookland: A Bloody Campaign by Jemahl Evans
One of the things I write down in my notebook is potential names for characters. A good name is better than a thousand words of description. It can obviate the need for pages of character development. A good name tells you most of what you need to know about a character. A great name becomes a synonym for the very characteristics you are describing. You don’t need to call someone a miser: call them a Scrooge! Ebenezer Scrooge. Harry Flashman. Uriah Heep. Hannibal Lecter. (Dickens was particularly good at character names!) A great character name is more important and harder to devise than the plot of a whole novel. So I was particularly jealous of Jemahl Evans: he’s come up with a name for his character that’s worth a hundred thousand words of background material: Blandford Candy.
Brilliant, isn’t it? You just know that Blandford Candy is going to be an upper-class rogue, rolling bon-mots out of one side of his mouth and sweet talking tavern lasses from the other. But, in a rather brilliant turn, Jemahl Evans (the author doesn’t do too badly on the great name front himself) has Blandford Candy end up taking on the Parliamentarian cause during the Civil War, turning a natural Cavalier into a Roundhead. It’s a fascinating stroke and sits really well with a time in our history that modern-day readers have almost no sympathy with and even less understanding of the causes that drove men to tear the country apart in a truly bloody struggle that saw some 200,000 casulaties.
A Bloody Campaign has five short stories featuring Blandford Candy and other characters and makes a great introduction to the time and the series. With the English Civil Wars being the most disgracefully neglected period in our history, Jemahl Evans’ stories of the reluctant Roundhead make a great introduction to the period for anyone wanting to learn more while reading some thoroughly entertaining stories along the way.