The literary life of EDWARD JAMES, author,reviewer, occasional poet and former pension adviser to the government of Kyrgyzstan
I’ve decided to start a third novel – which isn’t to say I will finish it. So I’ve written the Prologue which you will find on this blog as a page titled THE IMPOSSIBLE WALK. A lot of people write sequels to their previous novels and some people write prequels. My new book will be set within the time frame of my earlier novel Freedom’s Pilgrim, taking one of the minor characters of that book as the central character of the new work – not a sequel or a prequel but a paraquel, running in parallel with the previous story.
Freedom’s Pilgrim begins with 200 English sailors marooned on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico near the Tampico river in 1568. Half of them turn south to search for a Spanish settlement where they could surrender, in the (vain) hope of being repatriated to England. Freedom’s Pilgrim follows the fate of one of these castaways. The other half turned north to face the unexplored land which stretched away to the Gulf of St Lawrence, where they could hope to be picked up by a French or English fishing boat. Half of these turned back within 24 hours, the rest pressed on and four thousand miles and nine months later three of them reached Canada to make contact with a French ship, most of the journey through land never before seen by Europeans. This is the impossible walk, so impossible that historians have argued ever since if it really took place. Whether or not it did, the tales that one of trio, David Ingram, told of his adventures helped to spur the first English settlement in North America. The Impossible Walk is David Ingram’s story.
My prologue imagines the crusty old mariner (he was already over 40 when he crossed America) telling his tale in a Thameside tavern many years later to one of Sir Francis Walsingham’s ‘intelligencers’ in return for a promise that they will take him with them on their attempt to colonise the New World.