Guest post by Christopher Nuttall, author of ‘Trial by Fire’

Schooled in Magic is a fantasy book, but it draws extensively from real history.  The Allied Lands bear a strong resemblance to Middle Ages Europe, complete with self-obsessed rulers, clergy and commoners struggling to build a united state and a looming threat on the southern border from the necromancers.  I studied extensively to create the matrix for the Nameless World, reading hundreds of history books about kings, princes and their worlds.

Princess Alassa, for example, is based - at least in part - on Mary Queen of Scots.  Scotland was simply not used to having a queen on the throne (nor was England, but England was a more established country at the time) and the concept of being ruled by a woman shocked many of the higher noblemen.  Zangaria is a cross between Scotland and the United Kingdom of Charles I; there are social tensions between aristocratic, magicians, businessmen and traders, all of whom want to secure their own position and, if possible, demolish their enemies.  The prospect of Alassa - who was something of a brat before she went to Whitehall School - taking the throne spurred her enemies to act. 

Real history also discusses the limitations facing rulers in their times.  To us, the idea that Mary couldn’t rule in her own right seems absurd; to her noblemen, it made a convenient excuse for ignoring her from time to time.  (Elizabeth I had the same problem.)  Mary had to balance a number of competing factions, all of whom hated the others; in hindsight, it isn’t really surprising she lost her balance and fell off the tightrope. 

That’s not to say that real history should be used as a guide.  Alassa … may not end up being chased off her throne by her noblemen.  The story will go the way that suits its internal logic - and, unlike Mary, Alassa has magic.  On a fundamental level, the Allied Lands are different from Earth.  And that is something that should always be borne in mind.

About the Book
Title: Trial By Fire (Schooled In Magic 7)
Genre: Fantasy
Author: Christopher G. Nuttall
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Sample Chapter HERE.
Purchase on Amazon / OmniLit
Three years ago, Emily killed the Necromancer Shadye before he could sacrifice her and destroy the Allied Lands.  Now, the shadows of the past hang over Whitehall as Emily and the Grandmaster travel into the Blighted Lands to recover anything Shadye might have left behind, before returning to Whitehall to start the fourth year.  For Emily, it is a chance to stretch her mind and learn more about new and innovative forms of magic … and to prepare for the exams that will determine her future as a magician.
But as she starts her studies, it becomes clear that all is not well at Whitehall.  Master Grey, a man who disliked Emily from the moment he met her, is one of her teachers – and he seems intent on breaking her, pushing her right to her limits.  In the meantime, her friends Alassa and Imaiqah are acting oddly, Frieda seems to be having trouble talking to her and – worst of all – Caleb, her partner in a joint magical project, is intent on asking her to go out with him.
As she struggles to cope with new challenges and to overcome the demons in her past, she becomes aware of a deadly threat looming over Whitehall, a curse that threatens her very soul.  And when she makes a tiny yet fatal mistake, she finds herself facing a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose…
About the Author
Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son.  He is the author of twenty novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels.
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