April 21, 2011

Dramatis Personae - The Soldier's Cross

Having done this for both my recently-completed novel and my work-in-progress, I thought I would do it for my published novel as well. I do believe this was even harder than Wordcrafter's; I didn't have any possibilities when I started, but here is what I dug up. (Also, please forgive the severe lack of period-correct clothing. You try to find actors wearing fifteenth century clothing on their IMDb pages.)

Note: Mild spoilers ahead. Nothing very major, though, I trust.


Fiona is the daughter of a lesser English nobleman, and has lived all her life in a secluded manor just on the English side of Wales. She is little more than a child still, but her simple life is turned on its head when her brother, Giovanni, leaves England with Henry V's army. Before his departure he speaks to Fiona, not for the first time, of her need for something more than being part of the Church and attending Mass; showing her his cross pendant, he tells her that it will bring her peace. But she is quite comfortable in her worldly sort of peace, and laughs him off.

Then Giovanni is killed at the Battle of Agincourt and his body brought back home to England - without the cross. Mad with grief and believing she has had a sign from God, Fiona sets out across the Channel and a desolated France to find and regain her brother's silver cross.

Fiona is stubborn and naive, but also tenacious and, driven on by an emptiness inside herself that she must fill, capable of withstanding a great deal. She will stop at nothing to gain the peace her brother spoke of.


Giovanni is Fiona's older brother and only sibling. Since their father's mental and bodily failure several years ago, he has run the manor and provided for the family. Unlike most of Christendom at that time, he is a devoted follower of Christ and believes that salvation is something more than going through the motions; although Fiona does not know enough about the world beyond the manor to realize it, Giovanni is a Lollard. He does not believe in Henry V's campaign against France, but he joins the army in obedience to his sovereign.

Pierre [lord of gallandon]

Fiona stumbles onto Pierre's land accidentally, but "accidents" have no influence with the master of Gallandon, and Fiona finds herself a servant to his family. Pierre is the first-born son of the Duke of Alençon, but he is also illegitimate, which means he is not in line to inherit his father's wealthy estate; instead, the French crown granted him the marshy estate of Gallandon. Determined to improve his situation and make a name for himself, Pierre moves on to "plan B" - a good marriage. But he finds himself out of luck in that quarter as well, as the wife he gets has no titles and, in fact, is not even French.

Pierre looks older than he actually is, and maintains that appearance by his manner of speaking and dressing. His insecurities and his obsession with bettering himself make him harsh, but he is in fact little more than a boy. He fought in the Battle of Agincourt and, what is more, made it back alive to tell the tale.


Leah is of Germanic descent, without a drop of French blood in her veins, and is the daughter of a merchant. Pierre was tricked into marrying her, but when he discovered the fact, he was decent enough not to annul the marriage; however, their relationship is an uncomfortable one. Leah's muteness puts her at a distinct disadvantage, too, and one of Fiona's duties as Leah's personal maid is to translate for her. In serving her (a humiliating turn of fortune for a nobleman's daughter) Fiona gradually finds Leah to be something more than "the enemy"; she is beautiful with a beauty that comes from inside and shines out of her, and Fiona becomes devoted to her as a friend.


Christopher, Leah's brother, was the force behind her alliance with Pierre. He is a fortune-hunter, like Pierre; but unlike Pierre, he has no scruples about it and has little interest in working to earn his bread. He has no interest in war, no interest in owning land; he lives by deceit, and does it well. He is allied with neither France nor England and has never fought in any of the battles. Fiona first crossed paths with him at a French inn and then meets him again at Gallandon, and she fears him as she fears the Devil - or more.

(Remember, The Soldier's Cross and Jenny's The Shadow Things are both on sale through April. Purchasing with the PayPal button on the sidebar will get you an autographed copy of each book.)


  1. Despite the lack of period dress, your pictures are fantastic. Each one is perfect, especially those for the women. Giovanni looks so pleading. I'm put in mind of a puppy, which probably isn't a good thing. Pierre is perfectly brooding in his black and grey, and Christopher looks pleasantly conniving. All that hunting paid off!

  2. Great post! Even if they're not in period costume, making them in black and white made them seem more real. Your book sounds intriguing; I love Western European historical fiction. :)

  3. Thanks, Melody! Many of the pictures were in black and white already when I found them, which was nice; it gives them an older feel. They sure did take an age to find, though! (Regarding period costume, Giovanni's picture cracks me up in that the clothing is so very not accurate.)

  4. What fun, Abigail! I'm quite fond of all these characters -- well, except for Christopher, but he's the sort of person you love to hate. The only ones who don't look quite as I imagined them are Giovanni and Leah, but they still have the right look for their personality, I think.

    Now I want to read your book again. ^.^

  5. This post is just awesome sauce. When I saw the picture of Fiona, "I said to myself. Yep that looks just like Fiona." Giovanni looks as Jenny said "so pleading" which (seeing as that's the last we see him alive) I think is good a good thing. The others were all great too!

  6. If I had the money, I would buy both this and "The Shadow Things" right away. Since following your blog and Jenny's blog, I'm extremely curious about these novels and want to get my hands on them!

  7. Megan - Giovanni is technically supposed to be blond. But then, so is Charlie. You just can't have it all! And Leah isn't quite what I imagine her to look like, but she's close enough to suit. Pierre is my favourite, but I think I went through the cast list of every British TV show or movie I've ever seen (and some I haven't) to find someone to fit him.

    Lilly - Thanks! Fiona's suits her, I think; hers was the first I found.

    Finvarra - Oh, thank you! I'm glad they interest you, and I hope you enjoy them when you are able to get them. Through April we're offering them for a combined price of $20, shipping included. ^.^

  8. This is a fun exercise! I will have to try it. I spotted my very favorite modern day actor there -- Ioan! :)

    Looking forward to reading this book. Megan gave it to me and I'm excited! :)

  9. Pierre's picture is my favourite, although it took me so long to find. Ioan Gruffudd is a good fall-back for pictures because of the variety of roles he's played.

    Hope you enjoy the book!

    (Oh, and I warn you, this exercise will eat up your time in a heartbeat and leave you wondering where the day got to.)

  10. I read the book (devoured it actually; thoroughly enjoyed it) and now find it interesting who YOU have in mind for the characters. I think you did them justice.
    I WAS looking for David's face, however. But I suppose with him being minor character... he'll have to remain within the pages of The Soldier's Cross. :)

  11. Actually, Eva, I do have an image for him, but I couldn't find a good picture of the actor! The actor's name is John Lynch; he played Archibald Craven in the 1993 adaptation of "The Secret Garden." So there you go! So glad you enjoyed The Soldier's Cross.


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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