Flodden novel tells archer’s story

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the fortunes of an English archer who stood alongside the Earl of Surrey at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 is told in the first historical fiction novel written by Harry Nicholson.

‘Tom Fleck - A Novel Of Cleveland And Flodden’ is Harry Nicholson’s first novel to be published.

Whitby writer Harry was born in Hartlepool, where his family have fished since the 16th century, and he goes right back to his family’s roots in the area to the 1500s for the setting of his novel.

His action-packed story is firmly rooted in Yorkshire and Northumberland, and follows the fortunes in war, peace and love of Tom Fleck, a farmworker and gifted archer.

He unearths two objects that could be keys to freedom: a torque of ancient gold and a Tudor seal ring. He cannot know how these finds will determine his future.

Rachel Coronel craves an end to her Jewish wanderings. When the torque comes to rest around the neck of this mysterious woman, an odyssey begins which draws Tom Fleck into borderlands of belief and race.

The seal ring propels Tom on a journey of self-knowledge that can only climax in another borderland, among the ‘flowers of the forest’ on Flodden Field.

The introduction says: “Here are Tudor kings and their nobles - their documented lives are rich material for writers - but now they play a minor part.

‘This is the story of Tom Fleck, a penniless farm labourer, who shares his dwelling with cattle.

“He is fictional only because he leaves no record - his people live before the keeping of parish registers, so they make no marks on parchment and are lost to history. We find his rare surname in the register of St Hilda’s church at Hartlepool: Baptisms 1596, September 19th: Christofer ye child of Willm Fleck.

“Perhaps William heard tales of how his great grandfather, Thomas, loved a strange woman and stood with the army on the terrible battlefield of Flodden. This story brings him to life.’’

After careers as a Merchant Navy radio officer and in Yorkshire Television studios, Harry (72) retired to concentrate on art, poetry and teaching meditation.

‘Tom Fleck - A Novel Of Cleveland And Flodden’ is published by YouWriteOn and is available at £7.99.