What first inspired The Relic Hunters series?
The initial idea started from the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
Have you ever heard of that? No? Well don’t worry. Until I read a book called “Wild Swans” I hadn’t either, but I was stunned by the story. The story was so shocking that the book was banned in mainland China!
If you (or your grown-up, as it’s a very, very long book) are interested, here is a link. Wild Swans Book
What happened during The Chinese Cultural Revolution?
There are lots of history books on the subject, but here is a short summary.
This was an idea from the Chairman of the Communist Party of China (he was sort of like the President or Prime Minister), decided that ‘true’ Communist ideology was being lost and that he needed to remove all the elements of capitalism from society. Many people think the Revolution was a disaster, but it may have helped some Chinese people, particularly agricultural workers and industrial workers.
So what did Chairman Mao do?
Between 1966 and 1976 there were many violent struggles and people were persecuted. Regardless of whether the reasons for the Revolution were right or wrong, these are shocking events.
The particular action that inspired The Relic Hunters was that he destroyed historical relics and artefacts, which means he destroyed things like books and paintings. He thought they were a bad influence on people. Do you think books could be evil?
Nobody knows how much was destroyed, but they ransacked historical sites, museums and houses.
That got me thinking. What would I do if the government tried to take away my treasures? The “Gulliver’s Travels” painting that Finn has in his cabin is real. It isn’t valuable, it was painted by my great great granny, but I love it. I could never let it be destroyed intentionally. I mean if the house caught fire then it might get destroyed, but that would be an accident. So if someone was going to take it away and destroy it on purpose, I would try to hide it from them.
But then what would you do if you wanted to buy or sell or move something that was banned? You need a “black market”, an illegal market. And if you have a black market, you need smugglers. But what if the smugglers aren’t bad people? What if you actually agree with them?
And that is where The Relic Hunters story started.