Guest Blog: Feminine Muse – Historical Inspirations for Female Characters by Thaddeus White author of Kingdom Asunder

As part of my author guest blog series I am proud to present another guest blog spot. Thaddeus White the author of Kingdom Asunder has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for MightyThorJRS today. I am very excited and I would like to thank Thaddeus for the opportunity to host this Guest Blog. 

Kingdom Asunder by Thaddeus White

is Out NOW!

So go get your copy!

And on sale at Amazon from 24th January, (Saint Francis’ Day, a patron saint of writing) until 27th January for just $0.99 (previously $4.99).


Purchase Links


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Amazon UK –

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Barnes & Noble –

Feminine Muse – Historical Inspirations for Female Characters (by Thaddeus White, author of Kingdom Asunder)

I started Kingdom Asunder by doing background work on the three most important female characters (Princess Karena, Sophie Hurstwood and Charlotte de Vere). Because it’s a medieval fantasy with a mostly realistic feel, I was keen to avoid either having a ridiculously slanted character list (not hard finding roles for men in a medieval war, it’s amongst the most masculine of environments) or stretching credibility too far by having multiple Briennes of Tarth.

Classical and medieval history are two areas I really like reading about, and it was from them that I drew inspiration for both the roles women could have, and the traits that could inform their decisions. I was also keen to avoid having a cookie-cutter approach, copying and pasting so there were three prim and proper noble ladies, or three warrior women as major POV characters.

I started off with Karena, as she is the single most prominent POV character in the book. Her age was dictated by the plot (old enough to take the reins when her brother was severely wounded, young enough to have managed to stave off marriage) but her character was determined by numerous women from history. The single biggest influence was Livia, from I, Claudius (the wife of Augustus). For those who haven’t seen the excellent drama, it’s about political intrigue, conspiracy and treachery in the early imperial period of Rome, from the time of Augustus to Claudius. Livia is an iron-willed arch-manipulator, with a razor-sharp mind and a willingness to be utterly ruthless in the pursuit of achieving supreme power for her son, Tiberius.

Another woman who was utterly ruthless was Roxanne. She was one of the lesser wives of Alexander the Great, but the only one known to be pregnant after his sudden death. Working hand-in-glove with Perdiccas (the regent), she had Alexander’s two other wives assassinated. This was a pre-emptive move, because if either had been pregnant their much higher status would’ve ensured their children had a better claim to the throne than hers. (If you’re wondering, Roxanne ended up being killed along with her son when he reached an age that meant he was becoming a threat to the warlords who had carved up Alexander’s empire).

In the 6th century, sports riots almost toppled an emperor. The Nika rebellion saw the blues and greens (chariot team fans) unite to try and overthrow Justinian, the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Emperor, who had somehow managed to annoy the two factions enough for them to put aside their enmity and collaborate against him. The Emperor was in his palace, preparing to flee the city, when his wife, Theodora, refused to go, insisting she would rather die as an empress than live as a peasant. His wife having put a bit of steel in his spine, and Justinian resolved to remain, putting the rioters to the sword (tens of thousands of them, in fact) and kept his throne.

Slyness, ruthlessness and iron will are all critical character traits in Karena.

Sophie Hurstwood is also a noblewoman (the daughter of an earl), but cut from a different cloth. She’s a pipe-smoking gambler who happens to be having an affair with the captain of her guard ahead of her marriage to the King. But she’s also got a spirit as resilient as oak. Whereas Karena is more of a strategic figure whose challenges are of a broad political/military nature, Sophie faces more direct, personal threats as well as emotional blackmail.

In The Odyssey, Penelope is the eponymous hero’s wife. Whilst Odysseus struggles to get home, his wife is stuck there with her husband missing, presumed dead. Suitors arrive and she lacks the power to throw them out, but never relents or gives up hope her husband will come back. Every day, Penelope works on weaving a burial shroud for Odysseus, promising to marry one of the suitors when she’s finished. And every night, she undoes her day’s work.

Another example of sheer bloody-minded stubbornness is Lady Mary Bankes. During the Civil War in England, she held Corfe Castle, as her husband was away fighting. With just five men (as well as servants and her daughters) she defended the castle for three years against a force of hundreds of Roundheads. Now, the castle was splendidly designed, but even so, it was a staunch defence. Later, the enemy force increased to nearly a thousand men, but still the castle was held. It only fell when one of the men defending it turned his coat and led the enemy inside. In terms of moral strength and resilience, Lady Bankes was a fine example.

Charlotte de Vere is the captain of the mercenary company Les Sanguinaires. Female warriors in history are neither unheard of, but nor are they nearly as common as men.

One famous example of a warrior-woman was Sichelgaita, the second wife of Robert Guiscard. When he invaded the Balkans in the 11th century, she commanded soldiers on the battlefield (sometimes seen in artwork as a Valkyrie figure).

Earlier in history, 4th century BC, there were a slew of Macedonian women who had a leading role in the brutal political and military struggle that ensued after Alexander’s death. Cratesipolis (a nickname which means ‘conqueror of the city’) led armies herself in Greece, though details of what she did are sparse. Adea (aka Eurydice) and Olympias (the wife of Alexander’s half-brother and Alexander’s mother, respectively) actually led two armies against one another, perhaps the first time two female-led armies met in history. They didn’t actually fight, as sentiment caused Adea’s troops to desert her, as they were unable to bring themselves to fight Alexander’s mother (which was probably a very poor decision).

So, those are some historical (and a few fictional) women who helped inspire the characters of the three major female POV characters in Kingdom Asunder.

If you find the prospect of three she-wolves battling over the fate of a kingdom intriguing, do give Kingdom Asunder a look. It’s on sale at Amazon from 24th January, (Saint Francis’ Day, a patron saint of writing) until 27th January for just $0.99 (previously $4.99).

Thaddeus White is a writer who finds third person bloody awkward, especially when persuading people his book is worth buying (because it is). He’s a Yorkshireman, and in 2016 to date has had short stories included in the Woodbridge Press anthologies The Haunting of Lake Manor Hotel, and Explorations: Through the Wormhole. This year also saw the publication by Tickety Boo Press of his fantasy-comedy The Adventures of Sir Edric. In the first half of 2017, his short story Black Sails will be included in the anthology Journeys (also featuring stories by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Julia Knight et al.).


Kingdom Asunder (release day 24 November) is his third self-published fantasy novel, the last being released in 2013, and the first part of The Bloody Crown Trilogy. When not writing, Thaddeus relaxes by reading classical history and fantasy, as well as watching/betting on F1 (which has currently been going about as well as a drunk attempting to impregnate a beehive).

Kingdom Asunder by Thaddeus White

What crime is more unforgivable than treason?

Princess Karena is all that stands between the House of Penmere and ruin. The King, her brother, was gravely wounded in a failed assassination attempt, and once-loyal followers are flocking to the treacherous Usurper’s golden embrace.

But Karena knows the surest defence is attack, and will stop at nothing to destroy any rival to her brother…  or herself.

Against her, the Usurper musters a vast army to crush Penmere once and for all, but in a war of treachery those closest to you can be the greatest threat.

Purchase Links


Amazon US –

Amazon UK –

Kobo –

Barnes & Noble –

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