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From Medieval Manuscript to Modern Practice

Producing a book is a marathon, not a sprint, but the finish line for From Medieval Manuscript to Modern Practice: The Longsword Techniques of Fiore dei Liberi is in sight!

I’m in my study plodding through the first draft of the the laid-out print file. This is simultaneously very exciting (my NEW BOOK! HURRAH!), very nerve wracking (I’ve got to find EVERY error!), and very tedious (I’ve got to go through every page with a fine-tooth comb. For instance, in the bibliography I had the publication year for Domenico Angelo’s School of Fencing wrong. Doh!). This is simultaneously the best and worst part of publishing: the best because you can see that the book is real, not just a thing in your head; the worst because the temptation to rush through the last few hurdles is extreme. 

I have Basil Poledouris’ soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian on repeat coming in through my noise-cancelling headphones. This helps.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

In the late 14th century Fiore dei Liberi, an Italian knightly combat master, wrote a magnificent treatise on the Art of Arms. He called his book Il Fior di Battaglia, the Flower of Battle, and it is one of the greatest martial arts books of all time, describing how to fight on foot and on horseback, in armour and without, with sword, spear, pollax, dagger, or with no weapon at all. Guy Windsor has spent the last 20 years studying Fiore's work and creating a modern practice of historical swordsmanship from it. In this book, Guy takes you through all of Fiore's longsword techniques on foot out of armour. Each technique (or “play”) is shown with the drawing from the treatise, Guy's transcription and translation of the text, his commentary on how it fits into the system and works in practice, and a link to a video of the technique as Guy interprets it. The book contains a detailed introduction describing Fiore's life and times, and extensive discussion of the contexts in which Fiore's art belongs.

This is essential reading for any scholar of the Art of Arms, and will also provide fascinating insight to all martial artists and historians of the medieval and early Renaissance eras.

What do you think?

I don’t have a draft of the cover yet, but my friend Siobhan Richardson is starring in the image above (by Dahlia Katz) for it. I think it looks fantastic, and really tells the story of the book.

Staring at the pages of the new book means that I will soon also be staring at the bills coming in from my editor (Andrew Chapman) and my layout artist (Bek Pickard). Both these fine humans totally deserve to be paid for their work. And of course they will be no matter what – I would never stiff a freelancer.

I used to crowdfund my books through Indiegogo to cover the costs before publication. I don’t do that any more because the platform fees are rather high, and they also tend to hold onto the money for weeks. Instead, for the last couple of books I’ve taken limited pre-orders for the hardback, through my Gumroad account. It’s much more efficient- I get paid at the end of the following week, and the platform fees are way lower. I’ve set it up to allow maximum 75  pre-orders.

If you pre-order the hardback I can’t guarantee that it will be faster than ordering it through your usual bookshop (online or bricks-and-mortar) when it's released, because sometimes the shipping takes forever. But you will get immediate access to a pdf of the current draft (no images, but the video links all work), the ebook version the moment it's ready, and your book will printed and shipped before the book goes into general distribution. 

So, if you would like to order one or more copies of the new book, go here! https://gum.co/longsword

I'm sure you have an opinion: do share!

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