Devo­tees of lo­cal au­thor get their wish

Af­ter years of re­quests from read­ers, Jack Whyte writes pre­quel to 1st book in pop­u­lar ‘Dream of Ea­gles’ se­ries

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA PEA­COCK The Okana­gan Week­end

The lat­est book by a world-renowned Kelowna au­thor tells the story be­hind one of his most fa­mous tales. Jack Whyte’s 17th book, “The Burn­ing Stone,” is a pre­quel to “The Sky­s­tone,” the first in the pop­u­lar “Dream of Ea­gles” se­ries, which be­gan in 1992.

“‘The Sky­s­tone’ is a story about how a Ro­man of­fi­cer in­her­its a knife made by his grand­fa­ther, and ac­cord­ing to his grand­fa­ther’s notes, the old man smelted the stone for the dag­ger from a piece of rock that fell out of the sky,” said Whyte.

“Ever since the first book came out, my read­ers have been go­ing crazy. They’ve been writ­ing to me and say­ing ‘tell us how his grand­fa­ther found the orig­i­nal stone,’ and that’s what this new book is about. It took me 26 years to get around to writ­ing it.”

“The Burn­ing Stone” takes place fur­ther back in time than any of his pre­vi­ous books.

“I had to go back fur­ther than I’ve ever gone be­fore, and I had to look at what was hap­pen­ing in Ro­man Bri­tain and the Ro­man Em­pire dur­ing the late third and early fourth cen­turies,” said Whyte. “Ev­ery­thing takes place against the back­ground of the per­se­cu­tion of the em­peror Dio­cle­tian.”

Whyte said “The Burn­ing Stone” is an ex­cit­ing ad­ven­ture love story.

“You don’t have to have read any­thing else,” he said. “It’s a com­pletely stand-alone novel set in Ro­man Bri­tain in the fourth cen­tury.”

Whyte said he has al­ways loved his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, and he has a com­pul­sion to write about it.

“It’s just some­thing I seem to have been put here to do,” he said.

“I’ve gone look­ing for le­gends and tried to strip away all the ac­cu­mu­lated crap of the cen­turies and un­cover what it was orig­i­nally that made this story and these peo­ple so great.”

Whyte is a for­mer Daily Courier colum­nist, whose health prob­lems caused him to stop writ­ing a year ago.

“I put ev­ery­thing on hold to try and get my health back, which I did, thank God, and now I’m back,” he said. “When you find your­self trapped in a sit­u­a­tion where you can­not even con­cen­trate enough to string words to­gether, there is noth­ing worse for a writer.”

Whyte is al­ready think­ing about which book he’ll write next.

“Too many ideas, not enough time,” he said.

Spe­cial to The Okana­gan Week­end

“The Burn­ing Stone” is the lat­est book by Kelowna au­thor Jack Whyte.


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