Latest from the H for History blog

Ghost Ships and the End of the World by Karen Maitland

Posted on: 31/10/2016 with tags: Ghost Ships, halloween, karen maitland, Middle Ages, The Plague Charmer, vikings, Medieval, Middle Ages

Since ancient times, the sea has meant life for coastal communities of the British Isles, providing food, salt and even driftwood for building our homes and heating them. But we always have feared the sea too, not just for its own destructive power, but for the ships that sail on it bringing bloodthirsty pirates and warriors like the Saxons and Vikings to loot, rape and slaughter. But many of these early invaders settled and their mythology became part of our folklore which continues even to thi…

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Alice Morley reviews Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Posted on: 24/10/2016 with tags: Daisy Goodwin, English History, fiction, historical fiction, Victoria, Victorian

For the many fans of ITV’s Victoria series (amongst whom I count myself!) this is a must read: a novelisation of the first half of the series by its writer. (Spoiler: there’s not much Albert, sadly). All the memorable scenes between Victoria and her beloved Lord M are recreated, with the internal thoughts of the characters adding more depth to their feelings for each other. Even if you haven’t watched the TV, this is a fantastic read. Opening at the moment Victoria became queen, the novel charts…

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The Norman Conquest in Numbers by James Aitcheson

Posted on: 14/10/2016 with tags: author blog, English History, historical crime, historical fiction, Medieval, medieval england, medieval history, The Norman Conquest, Asian History, Medieval, Norman

This month marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings: the beginning of the Norman Conquest of England, and perhaps the single most famous event in all of British history. The battle, which took place on 14 October 1066, saw King Harold II killed and his English army defeated by Duke William of Normandy, who shortly afterwards was himself crowned king, ushering in a new French-speaking ruling dynasty and altering England’s destiny forever. 7,000 Estimated size both of Harold’s army an…

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Hamilton: when historical truth is more interesting than musical fiction

Posted on: 11/10/2016 with tags: American Revolution, author blog, Elizabeth Cobbs, Hamilton, historical fiction, historical novel, American Revolution, Georgian

Elizabeth  Cobbs, author of The Hamilton Affair reveals that, whilst the hit musical Hamilton may tell a good tale, the marital histories of the real-life Schuyler sisters were even more intriguing. In the brilliant new musical Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler shocks viewers by admitting that her sexy brother-in-law’s fiery intellect—and tight military uniform—set her “e’vry part aflame.” But duty calls. When she and her sister Eliza meet the penniless West Indian upstart, Angelica shrewdly, if reluc…

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Rooftop Bookclub comes to H for History

Posted on: 06/10/2016 with tags: alison weir, Anthony Riches, event, james henage, katherine clements, lindsay davis, robyn young, Rooftop Bookclub, s d sykes, simon scarrow, Medieval, Roman, Tudor

Join the H for History team on Thursday 10th November on the fabulous rooftop of Hachette HQ! Overlooking the Thames and the stunning London skyline, there will be two fascinating panel discussions. Tickets include two drinks to enjoy during the event, delicious nibbles, a book signing and packed goodie bag containing exclusive early proofs of three forthcoming historical treats. All this for just £10 per ticket! Click here to buy. Arrive for a prompt 6.30pm start. The event will run until 9.00p…

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Karen Maitland introduces THE PLAGUE CHARMER

Posted on: 03/10/2016 with tags: historical fiction, historical novel, karen maitland, Medieval, medieval england, medieval history, plague, Medieval

My new novel is set in 1361 when the Black Death swept across England for the second time. When it first struck in 1348, the plague had seemed like the end of the world, but when it returned it just thirteen years later it was with a far more cruel and devastating twist. It is strange how ideas come together to create a novel. I was watching the news about Ebola when the reporter turned to the camera and asked a simple, but chilling, question – what would you do to save the lives of those you lo…

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On the trail of the Second Battle of Copenhagen

Posted on: 29/09/2016 with tags: historical fiction, Inferno, Julian Stockwin, European

My latest book in the Kydd Series is Inferno, published October 6. Mention of the Battle of Copenhagen brings to mind Horatio Nelson famously disobeying Sir Hyde Parker’s order to withdraw by holding a telescope to his blind eye to look at the signals from Parker. But there was a second battle of Copenhagen six years later that generates controversy to this day – did the British commit a War Crime by their bombardment of a neutral country and subsequent seizure of their entire Navy? The phrase ‘…

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Ed O’Loughlin on why the historical novel has more fun

Posted on: 09/09/2016 with tags: 18th century, Arctic Canada, Canada, Ed O'Loughlin, historical fiction, Minds of Winter, Modern history, Polar Exploration

Historical novels are a cheap form of tourism: the past is another country, they do things more exotically there. We don’t really know what it felt like to live in Victorian London, any more than we understand the lives of the poor of Peru or Cambodia, but we can drop in for a while and be charmed by the quaintness, titillated by the strife and the poverty, then return to the dull here and now. Historical novels are an escapist resort for people who are dismayed by the dreariness of contemporary…

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‘The Britain we live in today is the Britain of Attlee’s creation’ John Bew on his new book, CITIZEN CLEM

Posted on: 09/09/2016 with tags: biography, Citizen Clem, Clement Attlee, John Bew, Labour Party, non-fiction, Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, 20th Century, World History, WW1, WW2

The gallons of ink spilled on Winston Churchill – and the huge appetite for books about him – have created something of an imbalance in our understanding of twentieth-century Britain. Not only does Clement Attlee’s life deserve to have a rightful place alongside the Churchill legend. It is also more emblematic, and more representative, of Britain in his time. It is difficult to think of another individual through whom one can better tell the story of how Britain changed from the high imperialism…

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Jeska Lyons reviews The Unseeing by Anna Mozzola

Posted on: 09/09/2016 with tags: crime fiction, debut novel, historical crime, historical fiction, history, Reviews, Victorian, Victorian England

What struck me the most when reading this book was the incredible sense of time and place Mazzola creates, and how vividly she paints a picture of grim 1830s London. We meet Sarah Gale, the epitome of a fallen woman, as she is sentenced to hang for assisting her lover James Greenacre in the murder of the seemingly innocent Hannah Brown. From the first page you are transported into poor Sarah Gales’ bleak world, and you don’t escape from her reality until you close the book completely. The atmosp…

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