The Moniker of the Rose

A relatively short blog this week. When it’s published, I’ll be in Venice – and by complete coincidence (naturally!) we’re staying next to the great Venetian dockyard, the Arsenale, and the naval museum. Does this mean that a future Quinton story might be set in Venice? I couldn’t possibly comment…but hopefully next week’s post will […]

Blasts from the Past

I’ve been exploring the loft. To be exact, I’ve been exploring ‘my’ loft, i.e. the one above my workplace, ‘the Lair’. (As regular readers will know, this is a converted garage in the garden; probably the only garage in Britain with a bay window. Don’t ask, the previous owners had some very strange ideas…) The […]

Aristocrats

When this post goes ‘live’ I’ll actually be beavering away in the search room of Anglesey Archives in Llangefni, where I hope to obtain some useful material for Britannia’s Dragon. I’ll report back on my North Wales research trip next week, but in the meantime I thought I’d explore a theme that connects my current […]

1665: The First Blast

The new Quinton novel, The Blast That Tears The Skies, is set against the dramatic events of the year 1665. This is one of the few dates in British history that most schoolchildren allegedly still know, but its prominence is due principally to the dreadful outbreak of plague that swept through London that summer – and from […]

The Princes, the Removal Men and the Big Hole in the Ground

It’s been a busy week! On Saturday I chaired the Naval Dockyards Society AGM at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, before joining a party of society members on a walking tour of the site of the old Deptford royal dockyard. This is currently the location of a huge and ongoing archaeological dig preparatory to redevelopment […]

By Any Other Name…

I’m back in full writing harness after a few days away in the Weald of Kent, visiting the likes of Hever Castle and Chartwell as well as making the obligatory jaunt over to Calais to pick up some cheese and one of those nice French apple tarts (and, yes, possibly the odd bottle of wine […]

The Art of Male Multi-Tasking

It’s a very odd and hectic time at the moment. I’m simultaneously completing the final edits of ‘Quinton 3’, The Blast That Tears The Skies, ahead of its UK publication on 17 April, while also writing number 4, The Lion of Midnight, keeping a weather eye on the US publication of The Mountain of Gold […]

Vanished Empires

‘The Journals of Matthew Quinton’ are set principally during what are known as ‘the Anglo-Dutch wars’, but like most generalisations used to describe historical periods, that label actually conceals a much more complex picture. For one thing, the wars were not exclusively Anglo-Dutch: the second, from 1665 to 1667, also involved France, Denmark-Norway and even […]

The Real Tarpaulins, Part 1

In recent posts, I’ve looked at the lives of some of the real ‘gentleman captains’ who became models for my fictional character, Matthew Quinton. Drawn from the aristocracy and gentry, often possessing very little prior experience of the sea, the ‘gentlemen’ became increasingly dominant in the navy of Charles II and Samuel Pepys. By doing […]

Gentleman in the First Person

A few weeks ago, Susan Keogh, author of the Jack Mallory chronicles, posted a pretty positive and particularly thoughtful review of Gentleman Captain, in which she raised a couple of interesting and important critical points. I’ve been meaning to post about these for some time, but a combination of holidays and the completion of the […]