The true story behind "A Prince of Norway."
Most of us Americans don't realize that Norway was under the control of Denmark for centuries: from the late 1300s until 1814. And in order to understand the period of Norwegian history that A Prince of Norway deals with, we must take a brief look at Napoleon.
At one time, Napoleon Bonaparte dominated Europe, defeating Austria, Britain, Russia and Prussia. Suffice to say, the little dude grabbed a lot of power.
But Napoleon made mistakes. Big ones. Long story shortened: by the end of 1812 Napoleon had destroyed (as in frozen and starved) most of his own army. And when the British invaded France in 1814, Paris surrendered without a fight, Napoleon abdicated as Emperor of France, and hid out on an island.
Now back to Norway.
After Napoleon's defeat in 1814, the Danish Prince, Christian Frederick, convened the National Assembly in Norway, where he was elected as King. But Austria, Britain, Russia and Prussia refused to accept this attempt by Norway to become independent, with the Danish prince as their new king.
Furthermore, the Treaty of Kiel stated that Denmark - because they sided with the defeated Napoleon - must cede Norway to Sweden. Following a brief show of strength by Sweden, King Christian Frederick caved, renounced all claims to Norway's throne, and fled the country.
Norway's Storting (Parliament) reluctantly accepted the shift of control to Sweden. But the new alliance never sat well with Norway - the seeds of independence had been sown.
When I created the setting for A Prince of Norway I backed up a couple of generations to King Christian VI. His son, Frederick V had seventeen children by 2 wives and a mistress - and one short-lived sister. So I gave Frederick a stronger, fictional sister.
My Marit Christiansen married and escaped her brother's lifestyle by emigrating to the New World. Settled in Philadelphia, she birthed a daughter, the princess Kirsten Sven. Kirsten's life was saved during the Revolutionary War by a handsome American soldier of Norse heritage - Reidar Magnus Hansen.
These are Nicolas's parents.
Now we have an unbroken link from the Kings Christian VI and Frederick V to Nicolas. And - thanks to his father - a purely Norse bloodline.
Before I could see which of the seventeen descendents of King Frederick might be involved in the 1814 switch of regents, they needed to be charted, tracked, and fictionalized if they fell off the radar, which almost all of then did. That was fun. (And the family tree is posted on my website: http://www.kristualla.com/)
So in 1818, the oldest and most powerful of these fictionalized descendents sent Nicolas a letter, strongly requesting that he return to Norway (he went there in 1806 at age 19). They wanted one of two things from him: either actively candidate for a reclaimed throne, or sign over his 10,000 acres and his title as Greve (Count) to their cause.
The times being what they were, the letter didn't reach him until 1820, at which point he had remarried and had a second child.
This is the set-up for A Prince of Norway.
The back-cover blurb: American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather's throne. His new wife Sydney isn't about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?
"Norway is the new Scotland!"
Links for all three books can be found at:
The offer still stands: For every 10 people who comment, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice - the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I'll give away three.
Tomorrow: Big boys and dirty politics.