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Antonia Hodgson on Street-Level History

Posted on: 15/08/2016 with tags: antonia hodgson, author blog, fiction, historical crime, historical fiction, Georgian

I write about the early Georgians. Someone has to. I confess I stole that punchline from Bill Bryson. But it’s true – it’s a neglected period. Hardly any-one writes fiction set in the early to mid 1700s. Is it the wigs? The Whigs? (Now that’s my kind of joke – historically accurate, and not very funny.) Historical fiction tends to draw on the great stories of wars and monarchs. Henry VIII’s life has moved beyond history to the point of myth – and like all great myths, can be told over and over w…

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Intelligence, Secrets and Lies: The dark hour of the British Army during WW1

Posted on: 10/11/2014 with tags: Andrew Williams, author blog, Field Marshal Haig, first world war, historical fiction, historical novel, John Charteris, passchendaele, shells, Siegfried Sassoon, The Suicide Club, trench warfare, World War One, Ypres

For many people the name of one small Belgian village has come to represent the sacrifice and senselessness of trench warfare. ‘I died in hell, they called it Passchendaele’, the poet, Siegfried Sassoon, wrote of the battle that bears its name. Three months of fighting in a wilderness of mud and corruption came to end on the 10th of November 1917. Four days before, Canadian soldiers had fought  their way into the ruins of the village. ‘The shell-exploded bodies were so thickly strewn a fellow co…

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Ebola: the new Black Death?

Posted on: 15/10/2014 with tags: author blog, Black Death, Bubonic Plague, Ebola, medieval england, medieval history, plague, plague land, Pneumonic Plague, s d sykes

by S D Sykes, author of PLAGUE LAND In October 1347 a fleet of Genoese ships sailed into the Italian port of Messina. Their freight contained not just the goods they were transporting from the trading city of Caffa in the Crimea, but also a deadly cargo: the Plague. Here is a contemporary account of what happened next. ‘When the inhabitants of Messina discovered that this sudden death emanated from the Genoese ships, they hurriedly ordered them out of the harbour and town. But the evil remained…

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Triumphs of the Table: The Final of The Great British Bake Off

Posted on: 08/10/2014 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, author blog, historical fiction, historical novel, Martine Bailey, The Great British Bake Off, The Penny Heart

This week it is the ultimate test on The Great British Bake Off. It’s the grand final between three astonishingly good bakers: Richard, Luis and Nancy. The challenges have not been announced, but there is little doubt it will involve something very large and architectural. We may imagine that the trend for man-size towers of croquembouche or gingerbread houses you could happily inhabit, are new phenomenon – but as ever, history is merely repeating itself. In Britain a fashion for sculptural food…

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