Readers ’embarrassed’ for author who made epic mistake in ‘serious’ history book

When writing a book, an author will often spend a lot of time researching certain topics, to ensure they come across as knowledgeable in their work.

However one writer has recently been mocked online for not doing enough research.

John Boyne, who is known for penning The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, released his latest novel A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom in July 2020.

The book follows multiple generations of a family over two millenia.

It’s been a hit with readers who have left a number of five star reviews on websites such as Amazon and Waterstones – but one person spotted something rather odd about the book.

Writer Dana Schwartz has gone viral on Twitter with a thread highlighting a big mistake in the novel.

She tweeted: “OKAY. This is a thread, but it’s worth it I promise. On Reddit today, user u/nonono_ohhoho posted a page from acclaimed Irish novelist John Boyne’s latest book, A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom. Note the ingredients.”

Alongside this, she shared a photo of a paragraph, in which a character is explaining how they dyed a dress. It goes on to list the ingredients for the dye, which include bizarre items such as an “Octorok eyeball”, “red lizalfos” and “four Hylian shrooms”.

“If those ingredients look weird to you,” Schwartz explained “it is because they are straight out of the Zelda game, Breath of the Wild.”

WAIT… WHAT?!

Yes, apparently in the game an Octorok is an “octopus-like monsters best known for their method of attack; shooting rock projectiles from their cylindrical snouts in short intervals”, while a Lizalfos is a “quick-witted lizard-like monster”.

Schwartz went on to say how she wondered if the ingredients from the fantasy game were some sort of “homage” or “Easter egg”, but it just didn’t make sense, as the book is “a historical drama set in the real world”.

Eventually she just tried putting the words ‘ingredients red dye clothes’ into Google – and the top search result listed the strange items from the video game, Breath of the Wild.

She concluded: “So while John Boyne was doing a perfunctory Google search for how to dye clothes red he found a site listing monster parts and accidentally put them in his very serious book.

“I am very embarrassed for him and this is my nightmare but it’s also very funny.”

The posts about the book went viral, garnering thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets – and even Boyne himself responded.

He said: “LOL that is actually kinda hilarious. I’m totally willing to own it. Something tells me I’ll be telling this anecdote on stage for many years to come…”

The Irish novelist later added that he would leave the mistake in his book as it’s “quite funny” and might add Zelda to the acknowledgements page when it’s published in paperback.

“I’ll leave it as it is. I actually think it’s quite funny and you’re totally right. I don’t remember but I must have just googled it.

“Hey, sometimes you just gotta throw your hands up and say ‘Yup! My bad!”