About the author

So who is the author anyway?

 

The Chevalier Series tells the story of André de Roland - yet his is the one voice that never speaks. So far we have only two of his letters to go on, one to Anne, and one to his grandmother, Elisabeth, Comtesse de Vallon, neither of which provide any obvious insights. We're told about him by the others, of course, but their perception isn't always as sharp as we might like. There's certainly one very important aspect of André which only Anne seems to have noticed at all, although the reader is likely to pick it up much sooner than that...

 

In this sense Honour and the Sword and In the Name of the King are really written by their characters - among them a priest, a stable boy, a tanner, a blacksmith, a merchant's son, a soldier and an adolescent girl. It's their story, and only their voices are allowed to tell it, but it's sadly true they are not equally or consistently reliable. One at least of these characters is a liar, one a victim of self-delusions, one is prepared to distort appearances to make himself look better, one is determined to present the most respectable account for posterity, one is sometimes blinded by loyalty, another by political prejudice, and the last by innocence. We can only know what they choose to tell us, although it may sometimes be possible to read between the lines...

 

In another sense, the author is perhaps the Abbé Fleuriot, the young churchman who's so painstakingly gathered all this material together for reasons we can as yet only guess at. I think perhaps Stefan Ravel knows - there's one line in his last section in Honour and the Sword that suggests he's seen more in his interviewer than he's saying. We can't really know any more than that, since the Abbé has yet to speak a single line on his own account, but perhaps one day that will change...

 

For today's reader, the real author must surely be the editor, Edward Morton. He's the Cambridge scholar who has translated Fleuriot's documents and presented them for publication with an explanatory note of his own. His own style is rather pompously academic, and I rather enjoy the image of him laboriously translating Stefan's 17th century expletives into good old Anglo-Saxon equivalents. Making sense of the historical world of the Chevalier Series is clearly a passion for him, and you can find more of his commentary here.

 

A L Berridge
Photograph by Arif Gardner

But the truth is more prosaic. Morton and Fleuriot, Jacques, Stefan, Anne and the rest are all very real to me - but by practical standards, they don't exist. The person behind them all is the same as the author of the Harry Ryder Series - a woman called A.L. Berridge, who I'm afraid is only me.

 


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