Ex-marine writes first book, an historical epic

09:40 31 March 2014

Stephen Boden

Stephen Boden

Archant

A retired Royal Marine has won a personal battle by completing his first book, a historical novel, despite penning much of it while stationed in a warzone.

Former Exmouth Comprehensive School student Stephen Boden, 47, finally sees his book Cortez; The Road to Purification on general release from April, 12 years after first putting pen to paper.

It tells the story of Hernando Cortez, the 16th century Spanish mariner, nobleman and Conquistador, infamous for his lust for gold and who was responsible for the fall of the Aztec Empire and for the events that brought much of Mexico under Spanish rule.

But the book almost didn’t happen after struggling to write while he was stationed in Kosovo and Afghanistan and his losing four chapters following a computer glitch.

“It has been difficult,” he admitted. “Trying to write in Nowzad (Afghanistan) was a challenge.

“We only had two Honda generators giving us power and two power sockets which everybody used to charge their phones, laptops, cameras and other equipment.

“So I had to get up really early every morning to write.

“But once I got into my stride I completed most of the book within six months.”

He added: “So when I finished it last year it was a relief. I celebrated by having a cup of coffee!”

He categorises the book as ‘historical fiction’ in the same vein as Hilary Mantel’s books about Thomas Cromwell or I, Claudius by Robert Graves.

And his gaining of a diploma in European History and Archaeology has helped in his meticulous research.

“When it comes to who said what, when and to who is where the fiction comes in, but the events, historical details and facts have to be right.

“I loved doing the research and I have always been in interested in archaeology and anthropology but you have to get the little things right. For instance, what was the currency in Spain at the time? Nobody seemed to know.”

The book is available from Amazon from April priced £9.50 from Fast Print publishing.

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