He was last seen in the Lynn News in October 2011 after completing a 10,000 mile cycling adventure across the globe. And now Theodore Brun, who divides his time between London and Great Massingham, is back in the news as an author.
His first novel, A Mighty Dawn, is an epic historical fantasy. “It is set in the Old Norse world of early 8th century Scandinavia,” Theodore says. “The tone of it feels something like a mash-up between Game of Thrones and Scandi noir. But anyone who likes Bernard Cornwell or Giles Kristian will like this too.”
The book has already been praised by bestselling author, Tilly Bagshawe, who writes: “Forget Game of Thrones. A Mighty Dawn is a sensational debut from Theodore Brun, gripping, bloodthirsty and packed with edge-of-your seat plot twists. Hopefully the first of many.”
Theodore is himself a third generation Viking immigrant, his Danish grandfather having settled in Norfolk in 1932.
He also studied Dark Age archaeology at Cambridge, where he graduated with a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology and an MPhil in History. So writing the book gave him a chance to reconnect with his Danish roots, as well as revisit research material familiar from his student days.
After Cambridge, however, Theodore worked as an arbitration lawyer, in London, Moscow, Paris and finally Hong Kong. But in 2010, tired of the law and looking for a change, he quit his job in Hong Kong and cycled 10,685 miles across Asia and Europe – crossing a total of 20 countries – back home to Norfolk.
On average, he rode 80.7 miles a day and tried to spend every fifth day resting – though it didn’t always work out like that. Meanwhile he raised £35,000 for his two chosen charities: the Harry Mahon Cancer Research Trust and Wellspring International – a charity supporting vulnerable women around the world.
Arriving back at Great Massingham he told the Lynn News: “The last three miles I couldn’t stop shouting, I was so excited to be home after more than a year on the road.”
At the time he revealed that he had an idea for a historical fiction series and that his next challenge would be to see if he could get that off the ground. And now, with A Mighty Dawn, he has completed the first novel in that series.
It opens as a coming-of-age tale, set in the violent world of dark age Scandinavia, but then turns into something more mysterious and brooding.
The story begins in Northern Denmark. Hakan, son of Haldan the Lord of the Northern Jutes, swears loyalty to his father in fire, in iron, and in blood. But when a terrible tragedy befalls Hakan’s household he is forced to leave his world behind.
Nameless and alone, he embarks on a journey to escape the bonds of his past and seeks to pledge his sword to a new king. Whispers of sinister forces in the north pull Hakan onwards to a kingdom plagued by mysterious and gruesome deaths.
But does he have the strength to do battle with such dark foes? Or is death the only sane thing to seek in a world of blood and broken oaths?
A Mighty Dawn by Theodore Brun is published on Thursday, March 2, by Corvus, £12.99 Hardback, eBook available Follow him on Twitter @theodorebrun