A Broadside More

Cheating this week, I’m afraid…a fairly major work crisis, so no time to write a proper blog! But it’s all for a good cause, and there’ll be some exciting news about the ‘Quinton Journals’ coming soon. In the meantime, here’s a little ditty published in 1665. In fact, this serves a double purpose rather neatly […]

Happy New History?

First, a very Happy New Year to all! The next few months will be particularly exciting, with The Mountain of Gold being published in North America on 31 January followed by The Blast That Tears The Skies in the UK on 13 March (also the publication date of the UK trade paperback of Mountain of […]

The Real Tarpaulins, Part 3: Or, Getting It Wrong and Getting It Right

My original intention for this week was to do a ‘straight’ factual outline of the careers of the three most famous ‘tarpaulin’ officers of the Restoration period, the closely inter-connected Sir Christopher Myngs, Sir John Narbrough and Sir Cloudesley Shovell. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there was a […]

History and Fiction

I thought I’d take a brief break from my accounts of ‘the real gentlemen captains’ to give my impressions of last week’s conference at the Institute of Historical Research in London, Novel Approaches: From Academic History to Historical Fiction, which continues this week in virtual form. First of all it was great fun, and it […]

Rules of Succession

There’s been much spluttering about the announcement of a change to the royal rules of succession, both to allow elder girls to succeed before younger brothers and to end the prohibition on marriage to Catholics. Indeed, it’s been one of those rare cases of equally loud and indignant spluttering from both left and right – […]

Don’t Tell Your Mother

Apologies for missing my usual posting date last week. I’ve been in Wales for 10 days or so, packing in a lot of research and fieldwork for my new non-fiction book Britannia’s Dragon. I’ve had intermittent internet access and also managed to forget my access codes for the blog… Anyway, I thought I’d get back […]

Stepney 200

Last Monday, 3 October, marked the 200th anniversary of the death of a lesser known but fascinating figure of the Regency age: Sir John Stepney, Baronet, sometime ambassador to Dresden and Berlin. Stepney died at Trnava in modern-day Slovakia, and in many respects his afterlife proved as memorable as his 68 years of living. He […]

The Joy of Source

I’ve encountered some writers who look upon research as a huge and daunting mountain that they have to climb before they can actually start the fun part, the writing itself. I look on it very differently, probably because I spent many years as a ‘proper’ research historian before I started writing fiction and non-fiction aimed […]