The idea of writing a historical novel absolutely terrifies me. Hats off to anyone who does. I love history but the trouble is the people in history insist on leaving piles of written evidence around and, before you know it, you’re researching beeswax candle-making in late 17th century Cleethorpes just so you can write your steamy bodice-ripping erotic thriller.
But. If I were to write a historical novel I’d probably plump for Minoan Crete (2700-1450 BC). In fact I’m shocked more people haven’t. It’s a colourful society that were thoughtful enough to leave absolutely no account of themselves, or none we can decipher.
However, what they do leave is evidence so unusual it’s inspiring to lazy hacks like me. Women, for instance, seem to be in near all the positions of power (or at least that’s what the art suggests). There are no fortifications and almost no weapons which, in the Bronze Age, is the equivalent of waltzing blindfold across the M1 motorway (and yet the Minoans prospered for centuries). Oh, and they apparently leaped over bulls. No biggie. They leaped over bulls like we go to Starbucks and buy overpriced latte.
All that shit is gold to a writer. You can shove whatever worldview or harebrained concept you want onto all of that. In truth, the modern world has been doing that to the Minoans (who didn’t even call themselves Minoans. We don’t know what they even called themselves) since the moment archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans first shoved a spade in the ground.
All that said… I’d still be wary writing a novel set even then. I know enough of history to know I don’t know enough.