Dear Mr. Bernard Cornwell,
my name is Rosa , I do not read fantasy books but on Italian television I saw “The Last Kingdom”. In a scene (the one of yesterday) Uhtred together with the pagan magician Queen Iseult, they take the son of King Alfred, and during the night with the "new moon" they make a ritual putting the child in a mud grave, the morning after the son the king is safe but Queen Isetul cries because another child died in his place. (It is called "alchemical exchange" in black magic). I am 52 years old, my life has been a long failure, everything has gone wrong since I was born, and I have not succeeded in anything. I come from a family of unhappy and quarrelsome people for futile reasons. I began to realize that in my life there was something strange since I was 33 years old. I was able to compose all the pieces of the puzzle (so I thought) around the age of 47. I secretly burned my mother's wedding kit in pure Italian linen with bobbin embroidery, and I threw between 150 and 200 maligned items in my house. In this dismal story that arises from a family curse, I realized, about 5 years ago, that there had been an important passage linked to the death of my brother. A child born June 18, 1962 and died June 29 (day of St. Paul) in 1962. In his place, I discovered over the years, lives a certain "Paul" born March 15, 1962, but of poor health. The women who did the ritual are the grandmothers of Paolo (two sorceresses of my small country, here in Sicily, born, respectively, in 1888 and 1905, but death after my birth).
I discovered these things not only by making various connections, and noting that when I burned objects (at night in the fields) my ears were ringing, I felt sick, my head was spinning and I felt like something bad was coming off of me , but also by consulting cartomancy. But the fortune tellers, as well as betraying and taking advantage of me, were limited to telling me only the response of the tarot. No one has ever told me how exactly these things work. So, Mr. Cornwell, could you please tell me where did you read about that exchange ritual of a child's life for another that you describe so well in your novel? Are there ancient documents describing these rites in the early Middle Ages? Where can I document myself?