The Pre-Columbian World Traveller

There is an idea for a story I came up with several years ago that I haven’t followed up on.

I had been reading one of the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell. He always includes a short commentary on the actual historical events. In one he noted that he has Sharpe fighting in two different battles that occurred far apart and he would not have had time to travel from one to the other. His comment is that it is the fate of fictional heroes to always be at the worse places. That made me want to develop a writing project like the Sharpe books.

A short time later I was reading about Christopher Columbus. The article I was reading talked about entries that Columbus had in his notebooks about “Chinese” people drifting in from the Ocean to parts of Europe. In none of these cases did the people survive the crossing. The article notes that later there were confirmed cases of Inuit hunters who crossed the Atlantic in Kayaks and survived the trip.

This inspired the idea for a series of novels about a person who crossed the Atlantic before Columbus. I planned to have a young native North American be blown out to sea and land in Britain in around 1460 to 1470. This person would want to return home. He would get into all kinds of interesting adventures in his attempts to get back.

He would travel over Europe and Asia meeting all the great luminaries of the period. For example he would meet a young Leonardo da Vinci and teach him how to paint. This is fiction; you can bend the truth a little.

At various times in the story he would meet Christopher Columbus and spark his interest in travelling west across the seas. In the final book he would travel with Columbus to America. He takes his leave of Columbus and finally reaches home.

I got stalled on this project because I didn’t feel up to doing all the research that would be needed. It was, and still is, a much bigger project than I want to take on.

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