Sunday, 9 January 2011


As readers of this blog will know my novel, No Quarter Asked No Quarter Given, is loosely based on the events in the life of Daniel Mendoza; he was the inspiration behind the story to be told. Mendoza himself was such a complex character, so in developing the story, I split his character into two separate people, one the honourable pugilist Samuel Medina, and the other the roguish Captain John Campbell-John.
The reason for using the character Samuel Medina was that I could not know, from this distance in time, what sort of man Mendoza really was. It was relatively easy to research about his exploits but the man himself; well that’s a different story. I did not want to attribute personal characteristics to Mendoza that were invented; what I was writing was an historical novel not a biography. So some of the main events in his life form a backdrop to the story but everything else is a fiction of the authors making.
So what did Mendoza look like? I had seen some facsimiles of him fighting but they were crude and showed little of his features. So I start with a blank canvass and could invent an appearance that I could put in my readers mind – here, this is what Samuel looks like. The first description of a teenage Samuel can be found in chapter 2 as described by Captain John Campbell-John as follows:

The lad had large brown eyes that were warm and compassionate. He wore his hair in a pigtail and his face was shaven in the style of an Englishman rather than wearing side ringlets and a beard in the style of his father. His general countenance reflected his kind-heartedness, his olive skin and aquiline nose being softened by two great soulful eyes. He had one of those faces which, while not handsome, was warm and encouraging; the kind of face that attracted the fairer sex.

When the book was ready for publication I was asked by the cover designer, Paddy Brennan, if I had found any images that could form part of the design. I took to the Internet again, for images of the 18th century pugilist and spent many hours searching various sites. But then a strange thing happened – I came upon a portrait of Mendoza as a young man. This was not the pugilist Mendoza but a head and shoulders portrait.

This was spooky – the image that I had drawn for my readers was, I had thought, purely factious. But here was the man I had invented smiling out at me from two centuries ago and he is exactly as I had described him.

See what you think from the image attached. Is that spooky or what?

If you agree, send me a comment.

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