How did I come up with the idea for “Alaric, Child of the Goths”?

800px-Toledo_Zoo,_Ohio,_USA-17July2010

My wife Amanda and I rarely get a chance to take a weekend off and spend it together (without the kids), but back in 2009 we visited the Toledo Zoo (with our son). Amanda was wiped out from walking all around, so I had the chance to watch the History Channel after she fell asleep. We do not have cable, so this was as much a part of vacation as was watching the polar bear tear apart a trash can.

The episode was—you guessed it—about the Goths. I stared at the screen as I heard how a group of farmer-soldiers were cheated by Rome but decided to stand up to her, though she was the greatest empire in the world. They would not put up with bullying. The program ended: “Oppression sires rebellion, and when pushed too far, even the weak and the shattered can rise to challenge their oppressor.”

I dealt with bullies in school, mostly by staying away. I feel a sense of helplessness when I hear of problems in Rwanda or Kosovo. So, I knew that this story of the victorious oppressed had to be told, especially when I found how little there was on these Goths, both in the way of nonfiction and especially fiction. Why so little? Because the Goths passed away, leaving no nation or descendants. The Goths traveled to Spain, where they settled until 711, when the Umayyads came up from Africa. But that story is told in my next book, The Hammer of God, coming soon.

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