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The story of a truly fateful Frankfurt fair

Posted on: 12/10/2015 with tags: alix christie, books, frankfurt, frankfurt book fair, gutenberg, gutenberg bible, historical fiction, historical novel, printing, printing press

Alix Christie explains for us why publishers owe a special debt to Gutenberg’s apprentice – the title of her dazzling debut novel.On an October day in 1454, a book appeared in Frankfurt that amazed and terrified the merchants and the priests who first laid eyes upon it. Publishers from around the world are again making their pilgrimage to this German city, showplace of kings and kaisers, and the spot where their industry was founded five hundred and sixty-one years ago. Few, though, will k…

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Andrew Miller on the Inspiration for Pure

Posted on: 04/09/2015 with tags: andrew miller, fiction, historical fiction, literature, pure

A very special treat for you this Friday, as Andrew Miller’s new novel THE CROSSING has just been published, we thought it was high-time to revisit his historical novel (and winner of the Costa Book of the Year) Pure! Here is a short piece Andrew wrote on his inspiration for the novel: I first read about the destruction of the cemetery of Les Innocents some ten years or more ago. There were a couple of pages on it in Phillipe Aries’ book The Hour of Our Death, a history of Western funerary custo…

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Langley Abbey

Posted on: 18/08/2015 with tags: company of liars, dangerous art of alchemy, h for history, historical fiction, karen maitland, langley abbey, leiston abbey, Medieval, the raven's head

Karen Maitland talks about Langley Abbey, a key location in her latest book, THE RAVEN’S HEAD Cellarium, Langley Abbey. Photographer: Ashley Dace‘A tall, gaunt man steps from behind one of the pillars into the glow of the furnace.’There are some people who appear friendly, even charming, like the neighbour spraying his roses who cheerily calls ‘good morning’. But behind the chintz curtains he is adding that deadly pesticide to his wife’s tea, as he did for his three previous wives whose bones no…

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Nick Brown on Agent of Rome

Posted on: 04/06/2015 with tags: agent of rome, historical fiction, Nick Brown, Rome

From one word to one hundred thousand: Nick Brown on writing an ‘Agent of Rome’ novelIt’s scary. Less scary than it used to be – but still scary. No matter how many times you do it, writing a book is always a big, intimidating task.At some point (certainly no less than ten months before the publisher’s deadline) I get to work. As the series has been going for a while now, I usually have a rough idea of how the story will unfold. My first port of call is a messy Word document entitled ‘plots’, an…

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