Blending History with Fiction – Guest Post by Ako Eyong

The human imagination is limitless in its potential for imagining things. And this ability is the main reason that man has evolved in the way that he has, creating a recorded history of six thousand years, from the ancient Egyptians, passing through the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, etcetera, all the way to the contemporary world. Six thousand years of time!

open up to imagination,

open up to imagination,

We can all agree that upon examination these six thousand years will reveal countless numbers of very interesting and very inspiring people, events, and ideas. Some of the greatest people in history either came up with or were in the grip of some idea that led them to experience the particular historical events for which they are mentioned in history. As an author of fiction, not only do I find this interesting I think it’s very inspiring. It is the stuff of which real heroes and superheroes are made.

But even more interesting is the thought that all of these historical events were accompanied by the strong and, more often than not, powerful emotions of the people who engendered or experienced them. With this thought comes others: was it a good or a bad event for humanity? Could it have been better? Could it have been prevented?  How would I have fared if I had been living when the event occurred? Was the cost of the event worth the result? Did we learn from it? What could we learn from it?

Vision of the Blind KingThese, are some of the types of questions that inspire writers, I think, to want to blend fiction into history, an act that gives the creative mind a vast license and freedom to not only explore questions but to also raise and examine related thoughts and ideas that are deemed worthy of the effort. Of course, this must be done within historical context.  In The Vision of the Blind King, for example, my intention was to write a story that would look at some of the factors that cause civilizations to rise or fall.  In other to do this I chose a particular event in history that encapsulates the dynamics I sought to express, the Hyksos invasion of Egypt in the year 1720 BC.

It is an event that plunges the Egyptian kingdom into troubled waters. The Hyksos invader, Salatis, who became king of Egypt after defeating Pharaoh Nehesy son of Neferhotep, ruled for about fifteen years, a time during which he tightened his hold on to power by means of a new dictatorship that became the foundation for two centuries of Hyksos occupation and rule. It is into this backdrop or context that I introduce aspects and elements of fiction and even the supernatural, all calculated to assist me in my examination or portrayal of the core ideas or “thought”
behind the whole book.

Recommended Article: The Vision of the Blind King – a Review

  2 comments for “Blending History with Fiction – Guest Post by Ako Eyong

  1. June 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Good stuff. I write YA. One of my series is based on the Welsh origins of Arthurian myth, but also includes bits about Hammurabi, Egypt, Boudica, English history, and Seneca myths. I’m always happy to see other authors working with history, too.

    • Ako
      June 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      Thank you, Armen. Historical fiction, from any part of the world, is a very powerful vehicle through which humanity can examine its footsteps in a bid to learn from past mistakes so as to avoid a needless repetition of the same shortcomings. It also reminds us of the honor and nobility with which we can choose to interact with our environment. King Arthur is a very good example of the latter. Do you have a website where I can see and read a bit more about your work? Thank you.

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