Some of my research books have recently arrived.
This is always exciting, although somewhat anxiety provoking as if I can’t source something from a library or obtain a preview on Google Books, I am often taking a calculated risk based on scraps of evidence gleaned from the web and a writer’s hunch.
Due to lack of shelf space, the majority of my physical books consists of an eclectic collection of hardback and softcover history works, material I’ve collected while researching Ars Magica writing projects or both (you never know what will be inspiring) as I now try to read everything else in digital (kindle or iBooks) format to save space.
Both books are about (Old) London Bridge, and both look to be useful, fortunately in complementary ways although there is considerable overlap.
Old London Bridge: The Story of the Longest Inhabited Bridge in Europe (2001), by Patricia Pierce, covers the whole history of the bridge until its replacement by Rennie’s bridge in 1831 and is rife with interesting nuggets of information, small illustrations and a full double-page concept sketch of the bridge detailing it’s seven different phases. Although criticised in one review for its attempt to pack in every piece of information the author uncovered, this approach makes it excellent to mine for potential story material.
Although only the first chapter is really key to the actual period relevant to the default ArM5 1220 setting, and therefore the later chapters are somewhat anachronistic, they do contain a lot of relevant in period material, albeit more difficult to access amidst the later material. IN addition, some of the later ideas like the various fires, the River Thames Frost Fairs, and the joust on the bridge could be readily be incorporated into Sagas as Story Seeds that magi or their associates can become involved in.
The more pictorial second book, Peter Jackson’s London Bridge, actually covers the whole history of the bridge, including the later and modern bridges. The 54 page first chapter “The Bridge with Houses” is a wealth of illustrations, plans and maps that fills out some of the detail of the first book by providing the necessary imagery that Pierce’s text lacks.
Taken together, I think the two books provide enough source material to provide not only the basis for the actual mundane fabric of the London Bridge Covenant project but also plenty of material to inspire the Hermetic and supernatural elements.
It’s going to be a whole lot of fun…