Latest from the H for History blog

Boats, Beasts and Boots – Getting Around in the Ancient World

Posted on: 27/02/2014 with tags: ancient history, ancient rome, author blog, Cassius Corbulo, historical fiction, Nick Brown, The Far Shore

by Nick Brown Setting out on my third outing with Cassius and friends, I was keen to see the trio on the ocean wave and in THE FAR SHORE they depart from Rhodes on what soon becomes a perilous sea journey. Sailing was often a frightening prospect for the ancients but offered comparatively speedy access to distant locations. For the rest of the time, most had no other choice but to walk or ride. During the second book – THE IMPERIAL BANNER – Cassius, his servant Simo and his bodyguard Indavara us…

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How to research an historical novel – by Rebecca Mascull

Posted on: 20/02/2014 with tags: debut author, debut novel, historical fiction, historical novel, historical research, Kent, Rebecca Mascull, The Visitors, writing

THE VISITORS is not the first historical novel I have written. I practised the craft by spending three years writing a World War II drama set in both London and Poland, which sadly did not find a publisher (yet who knows, perhaps one day I might resurrect it …). That was the first piece of historical fiction I had attempted and, my word, what a huge learning curve it was. I learnt by doing, by trial and error, accident and inspiration. I found out what worked for me, what took too long an…

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Could the Black Death happen again? – by S D Sykes

Posted on: 30/01/2014 with tags: Black Death, contagion, death, debut novel, disease, England, historical fiction, history, Madagaskar, plague, plague land, s d sykes

An article concerned with the Bubonic Plague in this week’s online Lancet has led others to ask – could the Black Death grip the world in another deadly pandemic – as it has done on three previous occasions? In other words should we start panicking? Stocking up on bottled water and tinned beans? Building underground shelters, armed fortresses and mass graves? The Black Death is such an emotive term, conjuring up death-by-boils, greasy black rats and peculiar men posing as doctors in sinister bea…

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A Long-Held Secret: My Clandestine work in the WAAF, by Claire Lorrimer

Posted on: 30/01/2014 with tags: Battle of Britain, Claire Lorrimer, flying, radar, second world war, secret history, secret service, WAAF, Winston Churchill

Wednesday, September 12th, 2013 – an important date for me, as the secret work in Radar that I and my fellow WAAFS carried out for five long years of the Second World War was finally being recognised. This was the day that Prince Charles opened the new Battle of Britain museum at Bentley Priory: a commemoration of the work of all those who saved the country from invasion in the early years of the war. This January the museum is for the first time open to the public, and you can find more informa…

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THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY blog tour!

Posted on: 15/01/2014 with tags: blog tour, conspiracy, CW Gortner, Elizabeth I, England, English History, mystery, poster, Tudor Conspiracy, tudors

To celebrate paperback publication of THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY this week, we are excited to share details of the author’s tour around some of the very best UK-based bloggers who love historical fiction as much as we do. You can read the first review here: bit.ly/K1ocOL THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY is the second in Christopher Gortner’s thrilling historical crime series featuring Brendan Prescott, recruited as a spy by William Cecil, protector of the Princess Elizabeth. It is a time of immense da…

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Christmas at Sea by Julian Stockwin

Posted on: 23/12/2013 with tags: caribbee, christmas, Julian Stockwin, maritime, Robert Louis Stevenson

Christmas ashore is a jolly time of fun and festivities where families and friends get together to eat and drink and exchange gifts. But having a number of salty Yuletides under my belt I know it can be a poignant time for seafarers and their loved ones.  Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem ‘Christmas at Sea’, although perhaps a little OTT in terms of Victorian sentimentality, brings home the sadness of separation at this time. Christmas at Sea The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;…

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A PIE TO MAKE US MERRY: in Honour of the Christmas Pie by Martine Bailey

Posted on: 20/12/2013 with tags: An Appetite for Violets, christmas, histroy, Martine Bailey, pies

My favourite symbol of Georgian Christmas abundance has to be the Christmas pie. Not to be confused with small mince pies of mostly dried fruit, this pie is a monster – a battlemented fantasy of plenty, weighing as much as 15 stone.  Stuffed with increasing sizes of game, from small birds to rabbits to geese and turkeys, it was built to feed famished crowds. And in times when Christmas could last twelve days or longer it was designed to keep, thanks to an airtight layer of butter poured in throu…

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Gaslight Fairies by Ann Featherstone

Posted on: 20/12/2013 with tags: ann featherstone, christmas, dickens, gaslight fairies, history

Charles Dickens called them ‘Gaslight Fairies’ – the little children, some as young as four, who  populated the London and provincial stages during the pantomime season. They were recruited in November each year – up to two hundred of them for the larger shows at Drury Lane – as miniature soldiers or sailors, South Sea Island flowers, insects and of course fairies, which burst from an unpromising plaster mushroom or a prickly-leaved bush into a tiny, spangled flying creature every night. Over Ch…

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A Very Medieval Christmas by S.D. Sykes

Posted on: 19/12/2013 with tags: carols, history, Medieval, plague land, sd sykes

Growing up in the 1970s, I remember a lot of fuss about the true meaning of Christmas – a reaction to the rapid commercialisation of the festival. But what is the true meaning of Christmas? Really? As I get older and become increasingly disheartened by our long and dark winters, I can easily see why our ancestors wanted to celebrate something, anything in fact, at this dismal point in the year. For those last two weeks in December are different to any others in the calendar. The sun is low and m…

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