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First Historical Novel About Origins of the Camino

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Year of past OR future Camino
"Portuguese Camino"
"Slow Camino"
"The First Pilgrim"
All on Amazon
Finally, after 20 months I have launched the first historical novel ever written about the origins of the Camino de Santiago.

The First Pilgrim.

By Terence Callery


I knew little about medieval Spain and had to do 4 months of research before starting.
The book is 300 pages and much longer than my memoirs about walking the Camino.

Both the Kindle version and the Amazon paperback are now up on the internet. There are no reviews yet--- so if you decide to get a copy- it would be appreciated if you posted a review on Amazon.
Thanks
Terry Callery
Cushing, Maine

midcoastmarketing99@gmail.com

They were long-shot underdogs and if they were to survive, they needed a miracle. The armies of Islam had swept like wildfire into the Iberia peninsula. By the beginning of the 9th century, King Alfonso’s Kingdom of Asturias was one of a couple of enclaves of Christianity remaining in Espania.

It was the year 814 and King Alfonso II had just received word that Charlemagne, the Frankish conqueror and protector of the Catholic Church, was dead. Alfonso’s small northern kingdom was no match for the Caliphate of Cordoba which had orchestrated a vast economic revival known as the Andalusian Enlightenment in the south.

The sophisticated Arabs minted silver coins, printed paper, read poetry, funded massive libraries, reconfigured the old Roman trading routes and created a far reaching Islamic legal system. The armies of Islam were large, disciplined and well-armed.

By contrast, King Alfonso’s kingdom was a land of small farms with little in the way of urban culture, learning, industry or secular institutions. His people were resigned to a meager subsistence economy based on agriculture, fishing and herding. The standing army was small, but the men of Asturias were excellent horsemen and skilled at “hit and run” mountain warfare.

The miracle they sought arrived with the news that the beheaded body of Saint James the Apostle was found by a wandering hermit in a Roman cemetery in Galicia. Alfonso’s kingdom might now have the powerful protection of a patron saint. The local Catholic bishop asked King Alfonso to make a pilgrimage to the burial site to confirm the identity of the body and to grant royal protection to the shrine that would be built there. In time, the place would become the holy city of Santiago de Compostela and the path to it would be known as the Camino.

This is the story of the first pilgrimage.

Accompanying King Alfonso is his Benedictine confessor Father Julian who foresees how Saint James would unite the Christian kingdoms and help to drive the Moors out of Spain. Musa is Alfonso’s foreign minister, born to an Arab father and a Jewish mother - he is a worldly traveler and is married to Doctor Ruth, a skilled herbalist and physician. All four characters are transformed by the inner journey of their spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

But Musa is skeptical about the beheaded body that was found in an unmarked grave with no clues left behind to identify it. If it is not the remains of Saint James, then who is buried in the grave? The First Pilgrim is an account of the aspirations of a nation, the determination of its King and the faith of its people.


It is also a medieval detective mystery. 1604315651840.png
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
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Wow, Terry, that's quite an undertaking! I wish you success for your efforts in researching history as it relates to the Camino, in addition to it being a mystery novel.
Best of luck!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF -Sept.-Oct 2018 , CF Aug- Oct 2019
(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
As a two time veteran pilgrim, I really enjoyed this book. It also made me appreciate just how easy it was for me to walk from St. Jean to Santiago compared to King Alfonso's shorter trip 1,200 years ago! Terry really did a great job of describing the whole pilgrimage experience a millenium ago.
Makes me regret I could not do it again this year and I fear next year will also be a no go.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola there @Terry Callery What a fantastic undertaking. The history of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela has held much interest/fascination for me. This looks like another "camino read" I will have to make time for. Thanks and Cheers - best wishes for a successful book. (Maybe it will become a Camino Christmas present!).
 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Year of past OR future Camino
"Portuguese Camino"
"Slow Camino"
"The First Pilgrim"
All on Amazon
Codex Calixtinus?
Yes of course - but my work is FICTION

With fictional characters (except for King Alfonso II)
Almost nothing was written contemporaneously about Alfonso or his pilgrimage - so I had a tabula rasa on which to work - I filled in the blanks with accurate historical backgrounds and characters of my own imagination -but all the dates and history of the Andalusian enlightenment and Visigoths were researched and are real history.
The only thing I could find after four months of research was:
"King Alfonso arrived from Oviedo to the Roman cemetery with a large party." That was it!

I filled in all the missing history!

The Codex is not a historical novel. Novels are fiction by definition.

Of course the miracles sections could be considered as fictional.

Plus my account is written as a contemporaneous account of the First Pilgrimage.
Really nothing like it - written ever.


From Wiki
"The Codex was intended as an anthology of background detail and advice for pilgrims following the Way of St. James to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great, located in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain). The collection includes sermons, reports of miracles and liturgical texts associated with Saint James, and a set of polyphonic musical pieces. In it are also found descriptions of the route, works of art to be seen along the way, and the customs of the local people." IE non-fiction.
 
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Lisa HS

Contributing Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (SJPdP - Santiago) Spring (2016)
Portuguese (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) Spring (2018)
What a great idea, Terry! This is a huge accomplishment...congratulations. I'm wondering if you can set up a downloadable Kindle Sample? I almost always download the sample (usually the first chapter) to read before I commit to buying. I'm betting you will get a lot of sales once you get folks hooked on the first chapter!
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Year of past OR future Camino
"Portuguese Camino"
"Slow Camino"
"The First Pilgrim"
All on Amazon
What a great idea, Terry! This is a huge accomplishment...congratulations. I'm wondering if you can set up a downloadable Kindle Sample? I almost always download the sample (usually the first chapter) to read before I commit to buying. I'm betting you will get a lot of sales once you get folks hooked on the first chapter!
1)Go to this address on Amazon/Kindle
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08M63XYBW
2) Next to the photo of "The First Pilgrim" there are the words "Look Inside"
3) Click on "Look Inside" to view the first four chapters of "The First Pilgrim"
4) You can do this on most Amazon/Kindle books
 
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Lisa HS

Contributing Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (SJPdP - Santiago) Spring (2016)
Portuguese (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) Spring (2018)
1)Go to this address on Amazon/Kindle
2) Next to the photo of "The First Pilgrim" there are the words "Look Inside"
3) Click on "Look Inside to view the first four Chapters of "The First Pilgim"
4) You can do this on most Amazon/Kindle books
Yes. I do see it, thanks. I just prefer to read books on my Kindle...even the samples! :) Will take a look on my desktop using this method.
 
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