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Wenceslas : The First King of Bohemia

By Cody W Urban All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Blurb

Picture Braveheart—with more heart and more action, about the first king of Bohemia. His deeds were so great, it wasn’t until after his death was he titled saint and king—a good king. The young duke must choose what’s right for the people over the wishes of his pagan sorceress of a mother. This forces him to struggle with his own personal demons caused by his mother’s curse through a ritual she forced upon him on his birthday. Now, he must raise an army and storm Prague to wrestle the throne from her grip before she enacts the same curse upon his beloved younger brother all while she schemes a catastrophic conquest over Bohemia at the hands of a foreign enemy. A historical epic of passion, betrayal, conflict, and bold endeavor for peace.

Foreword

Destiny. I have always been fascinated by it. The driving inspiration in my debut novel, Nicholas: The Fantastic Origin of Santa Claus, was the intrigue of a normal boy who would inspire the ageless legends of Santa Claus. There was no way a young orphan would ever think his life would eventually bless and enrich the lives of children for over a millennium after his time on Earth. Another element of literature I find captivating is the idea that there’s more to every story—elements that never found their way to the page because it didn’t serve the overall arc of the author’s story, but in themselves can tell a whole other story.

When I was in third grade, we read in class the book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, and my imagination danced in delight with the notion that there can be so much more to a story than simply what appears at face value. While this has captivated my interest in books like Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Geoffrey McGuire, it has pushed me to try and see if there is more to every tale told, even stories we are entirely familiar with. One day, I do believe I will find an iconic villain and interpret their motivations into an original story that will build sympathy for a character that audiences have historically hated. Disney reinvented Maleficent, the villain from Sleeping Beauty, and did that exact same thing.

This novel, however, is not the interpretation of a villain. This is seeing a fable and seeking the story behind it. This is finding a historical figure and finding the destiny on his shoulders. Most people, typically, when I told them I was working on a screenplay about Good King Wenceslas made a perplexed expression. “Why does that name sound so familiar?” they’d ask. I’d remind them of the carol, and most would instantly recognize the tune of the song. Very, very few would ever know the lyrics. Somehow, Good King Wenceslas has found a way into our ethos, but has faded from contemporary relevance. I think that’s lamentable and having examined the historical man behind the classic carol, it has become my mission to share his story and revive him back to social relevance. Is this fictional? Yes. Is it factual? Yes. Is it fable? A bit. If my story was not a culmination of all those, well, I would feel it wasn’t a story worth telling.

I took the Wenceslas story as I interpreted the historical documents and legends about the man and wrote a screenplay, which placed as a finalist in competition. As of the writing of this manuscript, the screenplay remains available for purchase and production by Hollywood. The screenwriting award became fuel for my motivational gas tank, and so I felt the inner desire to embark on letting my fingers dance upon the keyboard again to lay out the life and times of the first king of Bohemia, one remembered in legend and song as Wenceslas the Good.

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out

on the feast of Stephen,

when the snow lay round about,

deep and crisp and even.

Brightly shone the moon that night,

though the frost was cruel,

when a poor man came in sight,

gathering winter fuel.

Hither, page, and stand by me.

If thou know it telling:

yonder peasant, who is he?

Where and what his dwelling?

Sire, he lives a good league hence,

underneath the mountain,

right against the forest fence

by Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.

Bring me pine logs hither.

Thou and I will see him dine

when we bear the thither.

Page and monarch, forth they went,

forth they went together

through the rude wind’s wild lament

and the bitter weather.

Sire, the night is darker now,

and the wind blows stronger.

Fails my heart, I know not how.

I can go no longer.

Mark my footsteps my good page,

tread thou in them boldly:

Thou shalt find the winter’s rage

freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his master’s step he trod,

where the snow lay dented.

Heat was in the very sod

which the saint had printed.

Therefore, Christian men, be sure,

wealth or rank possessing,

ye who now will bless the poor

shall yourselves find blessing.

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