August 3rd, 2010

Gaila is Smarter Than You

Hovering Handcuffs?

So, I have this character: he's locked in a small cell with three stone walls, and a fourth wall comprised of iron bars. The wall opposite the bars has a small window, similarly barred, with a nice view of the cell's former inhabitants swinging from the trees. He himself is mancled and suspended roughly six inches off the ground in the center of the cell by his wrists, both because the antagonists know he's an escape risk and because they really don't like him, and know it's a stressful position be in.

As this guy is a protagonist, I'm going to have him try to escape and nearly succeed. Right now the plan is to have him swing himself towards the bars, and hook his legs through them, so that the pressure is off his arms while he picks the lock on the cuffs*. While checking to make sure that this would be plausible, I hit upon several helpful tips for escaping from handcuffs and several stories about Houdini escaping from a straightjacket in mid-air, but nothing about escaping from handcuffs while having to deal with them being chained to the ceiling. Does this still sound do able?

Search terms used include various combos of: "escaping from manacles" "escaping from handcuffs" "escaping in mid-air" "escaping from hanging in chains" and "how to".

*Cuffs are less modern-day police cuffs and more Victorian irons, with each cuff connected by a chain about four inches in length. Lock picking of all types is a life skill for this guy. More than anything else, I'm worried that it would be impossible to pick from the position he's in.

Hawking/falconry in 1500s

My historical novel is taking place from 1547 to 1566 in a village in Englanc (location yet to be determined.)

I searched on the internet using: hawking, tudor, renaissance, hunting, falconry. I also searched my city libraries, Amazon online and my local Chapters store.

I found some information at Wikipedia - Falconry Training and Technique, English History. net - Tudor Pastime, and
Hunting, Hawking and the Early Tudor Gentleman ,  By: Williams, James, History Today, 00182753, Aug2003, Vol. 53, Issue 8.

I want more information on the following:

How the hawk was brought into the field and by whom?
Wwhat commands it would be given?
What common names were given to the birds?
What the trainer would do and what the lord would do?
What were common injuries of hunting hawks? What injuries could be fixed?
What would they do if a bird did not return?
How often did a bird not return?
What would happen if a commoner found an injured bird and kept it?
What was the most common raptor used by lords?
Would gentry use them?

If anyone could point me to a book, article, or other resource which would have the answers, or provide the answers, I would be very grateful.