The Top Ten

I’m not tweeting very much at the moment, as I’m largely keeping my head down and working on my new Tudor project, but the other day, I had a bit of a brainwave, and tweeted a ‘top ten’ of the most popular posts ever (in terms of visitor numbers) on this blog. This seemed to […]

Come in Number Thirteen, Your Time Has Come

Last week saw the official publication of my new non-fiction book, Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy, from the wonderful people at Seaforth Publishing. By my reckoning, this is my thirteenth complete book, and my fifth non-fiction title, to add to eight novels to date. But even I’m losing track […]

Medway 350, Day 3

(With an affectionate nod toward Samuel Pepys, esquire, sometime Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board, sometime Secretary to the Admiralty, sometime President of the Royal Society, sometime Master of Trinity House, sometime serial bonker)   Up betimes, and to ye dockyard at Chatham, where I enquired where I might find Pett. ‘No pets […]

The Warship Anne

This week, I’m delighted to welcome Richard Endsor as my guest blogger! Richard will be known to many of you as the leading authority on the design and construction of seventeenth century British warships. His book The Restoration Warship, focusing on the Third Rate Lenox of 1677, has justly become a classic, and has, indeed, inspired an […]

Kings on the Way

Cue drum roll… I’m delighted to be able to announce that my new non-fiction book, Kings of the Sea: Charles II, James II and the Royal Navy, has gone off to Seaforth Publishing, and should be published next summer. And here, for the first time online, is the cover – In many ways, I feel that Kings […]

‘We’ve Got Pepys Bang to Rights This Time,’ said Morse

Every now and again, a historian comes across something which is so far from left field that it’s actually from a completely different farm. That’s certainly the case with the discovery made a few years back by my friend and colleague, Richard Endsor, author of The Restoration Warship. As he’s doing a ‘star turn’ next weekend, dressing […]

Samuel Pepys versus The Incredible Hulk

Don’t make me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Or, alternatively, it is a truth universally acknowledged that those who get outraged by things on Twitter are in need of a life. Having said that, occasionally one sees something on Twitter which is so staggeringly crass that the metaphorical shirt-ripping (but, of course, […]

Pepys Show and Tell

These days, I approach major exhibitions dealing with subjects I know something about with a considerable degree of trepidation. Maybe there’ll be massive omissions, or catastrophic errors of emphasis, that wreck the whole thing. Perhaps right-on organisers will have applied a gut-wrenchingly awful, unhistorical, and anachronistic interpretative slant. Maybe the layout of the exhibition space […]

The Lost Journal of Captain Greenvile Collins, Part 2

On 22 May the English ships anchored off Tenedos, which ‘lyeth right opposite the vast Ruines of old Troy’. Collins provided a long, detailed description of the island and its people, commenting in particular (as he often did in Mediterranean ports) on the merits of the local wines. He soon discovered that the ‘vast ruines’ […]

The Turn of the Cards

You know the scene. Perhaps it’s in a 1930s cop movie, or maybe it’s a 1970s Cold War thriller. In either case, there might well be a moment where a bespectacled drone leads our hero into a huge, dark basement. The lights flicker on, illuminating the cobwebs in the corners. Rats scurry across the floor. […]