When one of my favourite magazines, Lackington’s, put out a call for stories on a theme of “Gothics”, I jumped at the opportunity to write a story. About the Ostrogoths, because I am that kind of nerd, but also about several traditional concerns and motifs in Gothic fiction. And about women and history, naturally.
“A Thousand Tongues of Silver” is now available to read, in the latest issue of Lackington’s, and it’s keeping excellent company next to stories by some of my favourite writers.
I did a text interview with Lackington’s about the story a few weeks ago, which gives a bit of background into the influences and themes.
A note on the research: Most of the story is based on historical fact: There was a woman named Amalasuintha who ruled the Ostrogoths, and there was a Queen Christina of Sweden. Queen Christina definitely owned (part of) the Codex Argenteus, the book of purple pages and silver letters. Amalasuintha probably did; the usual assumption is that it was commissioned by her father.
My main sources for the history in this story are the two books pictured above, both fascinating biographies of amazing women:
- Amalasuintha: The Transformation of Queenship in the Post-Roman World, by Massimiliano Vitiello
- Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric by Veronica Buckley
Errors and wild inventions are entirely mine.