The “Dark Ages” were not as dark as you might think

In my book Strongbow’s Wife, which tells the story of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the late twelfth century, I included a scene in which she meets a protegé of her husband’s cousin. He is a writer attempting to produce an epic poem in the style of the ancient Greeks. One reviewer claimed that passage was so far from the reality of life in that period that he was unable to take the book seriously. I felt duty bound to respond, in a comment beneath the review, that the gentleman concerned was a real person. His name was Hugh de Rotelande and his epic poem is…