Tuesday, 10 March 2009

New World



By strange coincidence I was already well on the way to writing New World when Terrence Malick's movie of (almost) the same name came out. The movie is about Pocahontas and the Jamestown colony, whereas my book is about Roanoke.

There are still many people who think that the Mayflower in 1620 was the first ship to drop colonists in what is now the USA, but they were not even close to being the first. If we discount the Spanish and French settlements, then Jamestown in the Chesapeake Bay predates the Plymouth Plantation by thirteen years and Roanoke predates Plymouth by thirty-five.

Admittedly, the Roanoke colonies were failures, culminating in the famous 'Lost Colony'. My book deals with the first settlement, its planning by Raleigh and the polymath Thomas Harriot, the rather inevitable falling out with the local Algonquian Indians, and their rescue by Sir Francis Drake. It is all seen through the eyes of young Kit Milton who is apprenticed to the painter and mapmaker John White.

I haven't seen The New World - it did not get good reviews - but the trailer makes it look fantastic and strangely it could easily be a dramatisation of my book: almost everything shown happens in my book. Maybe that just goes to show how history simply kept repeating itself over and over in the tragic meetings of Europeans and Native Americans.

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