** SPOILERS AHEAD**
If you don’t want spoilers for Cronin’s Key, please don’t read :)
Cronin’s Key has been out for a little while now and I wanted to shed some light on research; the fact and the fiction. As all writers know (or at least they should) research is a huge part of any story. And out of all my books (all 20 of them), I think I have done more research for Cronin’s Key than any other.
Cronin’s Key is a paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, sci-fi, action romance. So, by rights I could have ignored all fact and just gone with fiction. I could have taken creative license and created a world all it’s own and made it all up as I went along, and in many ways I guess I did.
But there is an awful lot fact in this fiction. And if you’re a history buff you might get the references as you read the book, but for those who aren’t, I wanted to outline some of it for you. :)
Every name in this book (and the sequel – yes there will be a Cronin’s Key II) was chosen for a reason, and has a special meaning to that character. For example:
Eiji (pronounced Eeee-jee) is an old Japanese name meaning “Two Protectors”. Jodis is an old Nordic name meaning “Ice Priestess/Goddess”. Eleanor means “Shining Light”. Bes is an Egyptian name meaning “Bringer of good news” and Keket is an Egyptian name meaning “Mythical Goddess of darkness”.
But the names aren’t really what I’d call research. The history related elements mentioned by characters in this book, regarding dates/locations are, as close as I could twist them, accurate. I just added a vampire lore to them to suit. For example, the battle of the Picts in Dunadd, Scotland, in the year 744 that saw Cronin’s human life end, was an actual event in that location. As were the viking invasions that followed, hence how Jodis came to Scotland and found a dying Cronin. The semicircular field below, edged by trees, is where Cronin takes Alec. It is the field upon which he died.
The descriptions of food (rabbits, eel, fish and bread) were the typical diet of this area in the 8th Century, and the descriptions of the clothing and boots were also historically accurate.
I originally wanted Cronin to have a dirk and taber on the shelf in his room, but he was about a thousand years too early for that. So the ax and helmet on Cronin’s shelf would look a little like this though, only Cronin’s ax has a handle. These are from the correct era, just not quite the right location.
My personal favourite little spin I did on history was the Yersinian coven. The characters refer to this coven as the Black Plague. In actual fact, the yersinian pestis bacterial virus, was indeed the black plague that ravaged Europe in the 1300s. When Cronin mentions all other plagues [“There was another plague in London in 1665, then in Moscow in 1771. Only a few tens of thousands of humans were killed in those…” Cronin cringed, likely at how callous that sounded. “There’s been plague incidents in Italy, Africa, Helsinki, Baghdad. They weren’t as severe as the first time, and the Yersinians, what little remained of them, were finally eradicated after Moscow.”] Were actual plague outbreaks throughout history.
In the book, Eiji was a royal guard to the Japanese Queen Himoko (170–248 CE). Queen Himoko was a shaman queen of Yamataikoku in ancient Wa (Japan) at that time. Her supposed burial tomb looks very suspiciously like a key hole, yes? ;) You can read more about her HERE.
The Egyptian Gods Anubis, Osiris and Ra, you’ve probably heard of. But if you haven’t, yes they are/were real. According to Egyptian mythology/history, Anubis is credited with mummification and protecting the dead. He would also take the heart of the dead person and weigh it during the mummification process, to see if he or she were worthy of an afterlife. According to mythology/history, it was Anubis who took the heart of Osiris.
Osiris, amongst other things, was known as the Lord of the Dead. Osiris’ tomb (or what they believed to be his tomb) was essentially unmarked and buried deep under Abydos, Egypt.
Ra was the Sun God, with the solar disk. He is shown here, with the disk atop his head holding the all important ankh. This is what Alec realises the ancient Egyptians were telling him in the hieroglyphs: the disk of blood, holding the key. You can read more about Egyptian Gods HERE.
The mummies in Cronin’s Key were described as blackened, shrunken skin, sunken eyes and claw-like hands.
And the stench that was mentioned many times, of camphor, myrrh and cassia, were the three main oils/ancient chemicals ancient Egyptians used to embalm their dead with.
The ankh, as Alec discovers is the symbol of the key, looks like this
The mentions of hundreds of pyramids all over the world, including Peru, Mexico, Greece, Sudan, China, Europe, Egypt are all real. And yes, there is evidence of deliberate and accidental mummification throughout all these areas.
The layout of internal tunnels of the pyramids was as close to accurate as allowed. The distances, dimensions and construction of burial tombs and corridors in Cronin’s Key were as correct as I could make them.
The vampires refer to the Coyolxauhqui stone as once being a key to the demise of the Aztec coven. This stone is an important part of Aztec history/mythology with the Templo Mayor and two of the biggest pyramids in Mexico.
Bes is from the Fatimid coven in Egypt. The other coven in Egypt are the Mamluks. In real history, the Fatimid and Mamluk peoples are credited with Dynasties in Egypt from 900 – 1200 respectively.
In one scene, the vampires see a wooden bullet, recognize it as made from hawthorn and they immediately know the bullet was from an Illyrian. How? Because in ancient Illyrian times, hawthorn was used primarily in all wood/timber manufacturing for furniture and weapons. The Illyrians did in fact inhabit and occupy what is now Albania, Croatia, Hungary etc, just as Alec said. You can read more about them HERE.
Cronin said the ancient Illyrian coven was taken down by another “key”, the humble bow and arrow. He told Alec of the lore where nine Ancient Egyptians used bows and arrows to stake the rogue coven with. He referred to this as the “Nine bows” which is actually an ancient Egyptian term to refer to any enemy. You can read more about that HERE.
There’s probably a hundred other references I’ve forgotten, and I’ll be sure to add them into the post I do regarding the research that went into Cronin’s Key II. And that’s the beauty of fiction: take literal fact, or make shit up. It’s completely up to you. <3