A Novel by John Foley
England, In The Year 1538
A tale stranger than a zombie attack - and historically accurate!
‘The Dancing Beast’ is set in 16th Cent. England but the action takes place far from the usual palace or court. The story contains unexplained phenomena (well, they’re explained later), political intrigue and, surprisingly, humo(u)r.
The story that became ‘The Dancing Beast’ actually started out Beast-free. The working title was ‘In Time’s Fullness’ and it was on its way to being an “Adventure / Mystery / Romance (with occasional Coarse Humo(u)r).” Actually the humor is far from coarse by modern standards and wouldn’t have bothered Shakespeare, either.
There’s a story behind the story. I’m also a music therapist and a few years ago I wrote an article on ‘Music & Healing’ for Renaissance magazine. I included a section on the phenomenon known historically as the “Dancing Plague”, a form of mass psychogenic illness. In Chapter Four of the new novel my hapless heroes rounded a bend in the road and encountered a full-blown episode. In describing the scene the “Dancing Beast” metaphor suggested itself and I had my title – and a very different tale.