Interview with Paul Doherty, Author of The Herald of Hell
25 Jan 2016
‘The Herald of Hell’ is a medieval mystery, a tale of murderous mayhem in the London of 1381. The Peasant’s Revolt is imminent. The vortex of violence has begun. The terror which is about to engulf the city is now a grim reality. The peasant armies from the surrounding shires are determined to invade London, seize the Tower and, some whisper, kill the young king, Richard II. Secret messages are passed backwards and forwards. Spies meet at the dead of night. Men who should be trusted, betray their masters and commit grisly suicide in a London brothel. All these are strands pointing to the coming violence. People whisper about the Day of the Great Slaughter when the strongholds fall and the New Jerusalem emerges on the banks of the Thames. Others plot a more gruesome way forward where the city is purged through a bloodbath and a new system of government is imposed.
If you had to pick one place to vacation for the rest of your life, where would you choose?
The place I would chose for a vocation for the rest of my life would be Rome. They call it the Eternal City and rightly so. It’s also eternal in its attractions, be it the Coliseum or the Catacombs or a walk down the Via Appia where Crassus crucified Spartacus and his followers. Rome is a great city of marvellous beauty and yet chilling bloodthirsty memories. There is so much to see both within and without.
Who was your childhood hero?
My childhood hero would have to be Sherlock Holmes, that enigmatic figure striding through the misty streets of Victorian London in hot pursuit of some cold-hearted murderer or deadly assassin.
If you could invent anything, what would it be?
If I could invent anything it would be a computer that can take dictation directly and accurately.
What’s on your writing desk?
My writing desk is littered with pens, paper, little gifts, important books and the manuscripts of novels I am currently working on.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
My favourite historical figure must be Joan of Arc. An absolutely incredible woman, a military genius and a born leader. A true saint but also a soldier. How can you forget Joan shouting at an English mercenary captain to show himself, “Come out Glasdale, so I can send your soul to Hell.”
What’s your favorite quote or scene from The Herald of Hell?
I like the way the novel ends, “That when the storm breaks and the lightning flashes in one corner of heaven to light up the other, we shall all be sheltering under the same tree, Master Thibault.”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
My favourite quote is from the Jesuit poet Hopkins, “The world is charged with the Grandeur of God. It will shine out like the shining from shook foil…..”
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