23 March 2018

Book Spotlight ~ The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man. 10 Years. 100 Life Goals Around the World, by Tal Gur

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Master the art of fully living, one life goal at a time. In this stirring book, author, blogger and lifestyle entrepreneur, Tal Gur offers his own transformational journey as an inspiring example and practical guide to implementing the art of fully living to its fullest potential. 

You’ll learn how to actualize your potential by forging all aspects of your life through the process built into your life goals. Once you discover “the art of fully living,” there is no going back; it will feel unacceptable to settle for less than your dreams—and what’s more, you’ll dream even more wildly, aspiring to action with greater clarity of purpose, broader horizons of possibility, and holistic vision across all areas of your life. 

The structure of this book models Tal’s immersive approach to goal-driven living: each chapter of The Art of Fully Living is dedicated to a year of focus—socializing, fitness, freedom, contribution, love, adventure, wealth, relationship, spirituality, and creativity—and follows Tal’s endeavors as he works toward fulfilling 100 life goals in only 10 years. 

This daunting ambition, springing from one late-night conversation among friends and a gnawing discontentment within the typical “success” story, becomes extremely relatable through Tal’s bold storytelling; what’s more, the deep lessons learned become immediately applicable for your own purposes as Tal thoughtfully extracts the actionable wisdom from his own experiences to articulate the principles and techniques of “the art of fully living.” 

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About the Author

Tal Gur is a blogger, entrepreneur, and devoted adventurer, who has spent a decade pursuing a hundred major goals around the globe. he says, 'I embarked on a long motorcycle trip in Australia and immediately fell in love with this remote, vast and spectacular corner of the world. I went back to my home country to pursue a bachelor's degree but the memory of that epic trip never left me. After several years working in the high-tech world and feeling there was something missing, I decided to change direction and follow a lifelong dream of living in Australia.' Find out more af Tal's website www.FullyLived.com and find him on Facebook and Twitter @Tal_Gur

Book Review - Kublai Khan: Khan of Mongol, Emperor of China, by in60Learning

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Get smarter in just 60 minutes with in60Learning. Concise and elegantly written non-fiction books and audiobooks help you learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time that it takes to read a typical book. Life is short, so explore a multitude of fascinating historical, biographical, scientific, political, and financial topics in only an hour each.

I know a little about Genghis Khan, but all I knew about his grandson Kublai Khan was from learning Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem at school. 

As a test of the publisher's claims, I limited myself to just one hour for this book and found it clearly written and informative. 

I had no idea, for example, that Kublai Khan conquered Southern China, Korea, and half of Southeast Asia, or that although he was born a Tengrist, believing in shamanism and nature gods, he became a master of Tibetan Buddhism.

His empire lasted over four hundred years, and thrived under his administration. Kublai Khan did much to develop trade, education and scientific understanding. 

If you would like to learn more but have limited time, these short books seem like a useful way to do it.

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About in60Learning

In60Learning is a new publishing brand producing concise non-fiction historical and biographical works that can be read or listened to in sixty minutes, helping readers learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time it takes to read a typical book. For more information visit www.in60learning.com and you can sign up HERE to receive free books and audiobooks, and updates on new releases from in60Learning.

22 March 2018

Guest Post by Seamus O'Caellaigh, Author of Pustules, Pestilence and Pain: Tudor Treatments and Ailments of Henry VIII

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Historian Seamus O'Caellaigh has delved deep into the documents of Henry's reign to select some authentic treatments that Henry's physicians compounded and prescribed to one suffering from those ailments. Packed with glorious full-colour photos of the illnesses and treatments Henry VIII used, alongside primary source documents.

I Would Rather Have an Epidural, Thanks 

On the 9th October 1537, Jane Seymour, mother to Edward I, went into labour. For three days the labour was hard, but finally, on October 12     th she gave birth to a healthy boy. The populace of England celebrated at the news of a Prince, a long-awaited male heir.  Elizabeth Norton in 'Henry VIII's True Love ' says " That night there were bonfires lit in the streets, with music and impromptu feasts. Hogsheads of wine were distributed, and further guns were shot in celebration of the news with the noise going on past 10 p.m. that night." Before modern medicine, what was done for a difficult birth or to decrease the pains of childbirth was a bit…ridiculous. Here are some of the outrageous treatments from various medical texts from  the 1st Century through to the 17th Century. 

Treatment #1: Hildegard von Bingen founded the abbeys at Rupertsberg and Eibingen in Germany. According to the 12th Century Abbess and seer, "A woman who is having difficulty in childbirth, so that she is not able to bring forth, should place a lion's heart on her umbilicus for a short time, not long. The infant within will loosen and quickly come forth."  This treatment makes me wonder how many wild lions there were in 12th Century Germany, or if there was a lion's organ trade route. Can you imagine in the throws of birth, placing an animal heart on the poor woman's navel and hoping that helps?! At least this treatment would not do harm, but I can't imagine that a lion's heart is an inexpensive trinket you pick up at the corner store. Maybe that is why Samson killed the lion in the book of Judges: The rising cost of lion hearts.\
Treatment #2: "[Stinking Arrach] cools the womb, being over-heated. And let me tell you this, and I will tell you the truth, heat of the womb is one of the greatest causes of hard labour in child-birth."  This treatment, from Nicholas Culpeper, gave no real directions, but anything with the descriptor "stinking" sounds less than desirable to me. However, it is often called mountain spinach and is eaten in salads. Nicholas is quoted having said, "No man deserved to starve to pay an insulting, insolent physician." He argued that expensive treatments supplied by apothecaries were not needed and that a person could be treated by wild plants in the countryside. While it is a great idea to be efficient and practical, I am not sure that I would rely on a spinach salad though to help a hard birth.

Treatment #3: The man above obviously is distressed by the dogs swarming the boar. At first glance, you may think it was out of fear of the meat being damaged, but maybe his wife is about to go into labour.  "For inflations of the uterus, it is found a good plan to apply wild boar's dung or swine's dung topically with oil: but a still more effectual remedy is to dry the dung, and sprinkle it, powdered, in the patient's drink, even though she should be in a state of pregnancy or suffering the pains of child-birth."   Pliny the Elder would not last a day at a modern hospital if he came to rub boar dung oil on a woman with a difficult birth. Or better yet, if he tried to sprinkle powdered faeces into the patient's drink , he would no doubt be spending some long days in jail.

Treatment #4: Dioscorides was Pliny's contemporary, and has a much better plan for the easing of a birth. However, there is nowhere to go but up when comparing to Pliny's faeces water  "treatment." In 'De Materia  Medica Pedanius' Dioscorides  wrote, "[Hog's Fennel] gently soothes the intestines, lessens the spleen, and wonderfully helps hard labour in childbirth."  Also called Sulphurwort due to the sulfur smell that comes from the plant's resin, Hog's Fennel was used through the 17th century medicinally, though more often as a diuretic.

Treatment #5: In Carmarthenshire, Wales, the Physicians of Myddfai were a family who lived in the village of Myddfai for generations. In their first herbal, they wrote "To help a difficult parturition: If a woman is unable to give birth to her child, let Mugwort be bound to her left thigh. Let it be instantly removed when she has been delivered, less there should be haemorrhage."  Mugwort contains camphor, linalool and thujone, all volatile oils, as well as sesquiterpene lactones, lipophilic, polyenes and aesculetin. None of these seems to have an ability to cause ease of birth. Used by herbalist for gastrointestinal ailments, poor circulation, and sedation, at least this treatment will smell good  - but no other effects would happen however when bound to the left thigh  (heaven forbid you tie it to the right!).

It is unknown what exactly was done to help ease Jane through her 3-day labour, but for all the good it would have done for her, it could have been any of these. From the 1st Century to the 17th Century the treatments offered where often senseless when seen through a modern eye.  Some treatments certainly do have valid science behind them, such as treatments related to willow bark, but some are just…outrageous. Lion hearts, boar dung, and mountain spinach are not likely to be found on a modern woman's birth plan, and that might be part of the reason birth success rates are much higher now.

Seamus O'Caellaigh
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About the Author

Seamus O'Caellaigh has always been interested in the Tudor dynasty and the many uses of plants. He grew up learning about plants from his grandmother Anne Kelley and mother Diane Prickett. Their love of plants has manifested in Seamus through his love of being out in the wild looking for medicinal plants, through his spending lots of time in the family garden and through spending time in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. He is most often seen with his head down, looking at the plants along the path and not at what lies ahead. Having joined a pre-1600s recreation group, Seamus found a way to incorporate his love of the Tudors with a study of medicinal plants from that time period, along with the many herbal books written from the 1st century to the turn of the 17th century. Nothing makes Seamus happier than finding an obscure reference, or his son Jerrick bringing him a plant for "Dad's Plant Projects."

Book Spotlight ~ Jack Was Here, by Christopher Bardsley

New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Hugh Fitzgerald is losing control. In the aftermath of a traumatic end to his military career, his life has disintegrated. Hugh is approaching the end of his tether when a desperate plea for help arrives from a most unexpected quarter. 

Nineteen-year-old Jack Kerr, halfway through a coming-of-age trip to Thailand, has disappeared. He has left few traces, little information, and absolutely no answers. As the days turn into weeks, his parents grow increasingly frantic. 

They approach Hugh with a simple request; do whatever it takes to find their son, and do whatever it takes to bring him home. It sounds easy enough. The money is right. More importantly, it’s something to do – something useful. 

But as soon as Hugh touches down in Thailand, the illusion of control begins to slip through his fingers. Jack’s warm trail is easy to find, but it leads somewhere unimaginable. Finally, as he closes in, Hugh is forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures. 

Jack Was Here is an intoxicating glimpse into Thailand’s underworld. A startling debut from Christopher Bardsley.

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About the Author

Christopher Bardsley was raised in Melbourne, Australia. He undertook his studies at the University of Melbourne, where he received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education. In 2012, Christopher was the recipient of Melbourne University’s Above Water prize for his short story Little Rock. He also received an honourable mention in the 2011 competition for his story Cripple Creek. Christopher has also published poetry and cultural criticism through Farrago magazine. Christopher spent the beginning of his career teaching history at independent schools in Melbourne. While he is primarily an author of novels, his interests also include modern and ancient history, with a particular focus on interpreting political extremism. You can find Chris on Twitter @chriscoburg

21 March 2018

My Top Tips for Completing a Novel #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Let's start by assuming you have your great original idea, amazing locations and cast of compelling characters - how do you now turn all that into a wonderful manuscript?  There answer is different for everyone, as some like to wing it, others obsessively plan every minute detail. 

There is no shortage of well-intended advice, from Stephen King's 'shut yourself away from the world' to my own favourite,'write just one a page a day and that's a book in a year.'

I replaced the word 'writing' with 'completing' in the title of this post, as we all have so many distractions, it takes self-discipline to write a full length novel. I've written at least one novel each year for the past nine years, (three of which have become international best-sellers) so I'm happy to share what works for me.

1. Put together a simple outline in Excel for 25 chapters of 4000 words, with columns for progress and notes. This should enable to you arrive at a first draft of 100,000 words for editing. The actual chapter lengths can be whatever you suits your writing style (mine range up to 4500 but never less than 3000, although I read a book recently with some chapters of a single page.)

2. Set yourself an achievable word count target to reach every day.  As I write historical fiction, there is a lot of fact-checking and research, so my minimum target is 500 words a day. (Sometimes I've passed 500 before breakfast and others I might do more than 3,000 - but by sticking to my minimum I know I can have my first draft in 200 days.)

3. Keep a simple tally of how many words you actually write each day. I use another page of the same Excel file, as I find it motivating to see I'm ahead of target.

3. Keep going forward and avoid doing too much revision as you write. There's plenty of time for that later. (I picked this up from doing 50,000 words in 30 days for NaNoWriMo.)

4. Make sure you have a reliable back-up system and use it. Ever since I lost a few chapters when a laptop crashed, I've been a bit 'belt and braces' with a solid state drive for my daily backup and weekly versions to the cloud. (Never overwrite old backups, as you never know when you might want to restore something.)

5. This approach suits the way I write, but its a good idea to develop your own writing routine based on what works best for you - and make sure those around you understand and respect it. 

Happy writing!

Tony Riches

Do you have some great writing tips you would like to share?
Please feel free to comment

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in.

20 March 2018

Blog Tour: La Reine Blanche, Mary Tudor a Life in Letters, by Sarah Bryson

 New on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Author Sarah Bryson has returned to primary sources, state papers and letters, to unearth the truth about this intelligent and passionate woman. This is the story of Mary Tudor, told through her own words

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

At just eighteen years of age Mary Tudor, younger sister of King Henry VIII, was married to the aging French King Louis XII. Less than three months later, on the evening of 1 January 1515, Louis XII was dead and Mary a widow. The now Dowager Queen of France would not stay in a state of widowhood for long. A mere two months after her first husband died Mary took her life into her own hands and dared to marry a man of her own choosing. This man was Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

But who was this Charles Brandon and how did he, a newly made Duke and far beneath the station of the dowager queen, become her second husband? First it is important to look back at Brandon’s youth to understand his rise at court and how he came to be in the position to marry a member of the royal family.

Brandon was born to William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn sometime during 1484, in France, while his parents were in exile with Henry Tudor. William Brandon accompanied Henry Tudor and his army back to England where Henry laid claim to the English throne. On August 22 1485 the Battle of Bosworth at Bosworth Field took place between the forces of Henry Tudor and Richard III. William Brandon was Henry Tudor’s standard bearer and was killed by Richard III. Brandon was only around one year of age when his father died.

The date of Charles Brandon’s return to England is unknown. However he spent his early years under the care of his grandfather, also called William Brandon, and then his uncle, Sir Thomas Brandon. Thomas was a member of Henry VII’s court and the king’s Master of the Horse. It was under Thomas’ care that Brandon began to learn the ways of court.

During his youth Brandon and Henry Tudor, the future Henry VIII, became friends. Brandon was six years older than the Prince and it was through Brandon that Henry could live his youthful experiences of jousting, flirting with women and other fun activities at court.

At around the age of twenty six Brandon married his first wife Anne Browne at Stepney church. After the birth of their first daughter Brandon left Mary to marry Margaret Neville, Dame Mortimer. Dame Mortimer was many years older than Brandon and on 7 February 1507 Brandon had licence of Dame Margaret's lands and began to sell them off in quick succession, profiting over £1000. After seeking to have his marriage to Dame Mortimer annulled Brandon returned to Anne Browne and married her in a public ceremony at St Michael Cornhill. The couple had a second daughter before Anne died in 1511.

In 1513 Charles Brandon was contracted to marry Elizabeth Grey, Viscountess Lisle, daughter of John Grey 2nd Viscount Lisle, who had died in 1504. On May 15 Brandon was created Viscount Lisle and received a number of grants to signify his new position. Also in 1513 Charles Brandon flirted with Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy causing a huge scandal by stealing a ring from her finger! Rumours spread that Brandon and the Duchess would marry and while Henry VIII may have at first supported the prospect of the marriage, ultimately he had to deny any involvement and publicly reject the prospect of a marriage.

On 23 April 1513 Brandon was elected to the Order of the Garter. He continued to go from strength to strength and on Candlemas Day, 2 February 1514, Charles Brandon, Viscount Lisle was formally invested as the Duke of Suffolk. The ceremony took place at Lambeth and was conducted by the King.

A mere thirteen months after this, Brandon was married in secret to Mary Tudor. Toward the end of 1514 the eighteen year old Mary married the fifty two year old Louis XII, King of France. The marriage was one of the terms of a peace treaty England and France. However, before Mary left for France, at Dover, Mary made her brother promise that, should Louis XII die before her, she could remarry a man of her own choosing.

Mary’s marriage lasted less than three months and on 1 January Louis XII died. With his sister now a widow in France, she was a valuable pawn in the political game that could be married off by Francis I, now king of France. Henry VIII sent Brandon to France to bring Mary, and as much of her dowry as possible, back home to England.

Before Brandon left for France Henry VIII made the Duke promise not to marry his sister in France, but to wait until they both returned to England. This promise suggests that Henry knew that Brandon had feelings for the young dowager queen. If Henry VIII had any intention to keep this promise remains questionable, neither does it suggest that he remembered his earlier promise to his sister. 

In addition to this just before Brandon’s arrival in France two English Friars met with Mary. They were sent to turn Mary’s mind against Brandon, adding that the English Privy Council would never consent to her marrying Brandon. They added that Brandon and Thomas Wolsey, Henry’s right hand man, had performed witchcraft to turn Henry VIII’s mind towards their will – namely Brandon’s marriage to Mary. What this meeting highlights is that, in addition to Mary’s promise extracted from her brother, and Henry VIII’s words to Brandon, is that both Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor had feelings for one another and that their minds, even before her wedding to Louis XII, were turned towards marriage.

Brandon did bring Mary home to England, however he did not keep his promise. By the beginning of March 1515 Brandon and Mary were married and in doing so Brandon had committed treason by marrying the King’s sister without permission. The pair threw themselves at the mercy of Henry VIII and decided to lay the blame for the secret wedding upon Mary – after all how could the king punish his most beloved sister? Henry however, had to appear furious at the news of the wedding. It had been undertaken without his permission and he could not be seen as being taken for a fool. He demanded all of Mary’s dowry, her jewels and plate as well as fining the couple £24 000. However six years after their marriage the couple had only repaid £1324, which makes one wonder just how angry Henry VIII was about them marrying.

The newly married couple return to Dover on the 2 of May and are married again on the 13 May at Greenwich in front of the king and queen. Brandon and Mary went on to have four children, a son named Henry after the King, born on 11 March 1516 between ten and eleven o’clock at night. A daughter named Frances born on the 16 July between two and three o’clock in the morning. Another daughter named Eleanor born sometime between 1518 – 1521 and a second son named Henry born in 1522.

After Brandon and Mary’s return to England the Duke continued to serve his king, despite not always agreeing with his decisions. In late 1526 Henry VIII’s eye famously fell upon Anne Boleyn. Daughter of Thomas Boleyn, Anne was educated in the European Courts and being highly intelligent she more than a match for Henry VIII. Dissatisfied with his marriage to Katherine of Aragon and desperate for a son and heir, Henry sought to take Anne as his second wife. Personally Brandon strongly disliked Anne Boleyn, the two never seeing eye to eye. Brandon silently sympathised with Katherine of Aragon and resented Anne Boleyn’s rising position that resulted in his own influence with the king slipping. In addition, his wife Mary was a loyal friend of Katherine and deeply resented Anne Boleyn’s influence and displacement of Katherine whom she believed to be the only rightful queen. Despite his personal sympathies, Brandon remained loyal to his king and supported Henry VIII throughout the resolving of The King’s Great Matter and the subsequent annulment of the royal marriage.

On January 25 Henry and Anne married and on Sunday 1 June 1533 Anne Boleyn was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey. Charles Brandon’s role was to walk before the future queen carrying her crown and then during the coronation he stood close to the queen holding a white staff of office. Brandon then acted as Lord High Steward and Constable at Anne Boleyn’s Coronation feast, which was held at Westminster Hall. He wore a doublet covered in pearls and rode a charger covered in crimson velvet up and down the hall.

Less than a month later on the 25 June Mary Tudor died. It was a great loss for Brandon, not only was he no longer brother-in-law to the king, but he lost Mary’s French pension. In desperate need of money, on the 7 September 1533 Brandon married Katherine Willoughby. At the time Brandon was forty-nine and Katherine fourteen! Despite it not being uncommon for a man to marry a woman much younger than himself, this extreme age gap brought about several mutterings of disapproval at the time.

In 1539 Charles Brandon was appointed The Lord Grand Master/Lord Steward of the Household. Brandon was responsible for the household of the court below stairs, including such things as the running of the kitchens, the provision of fuel for the household, drinks and other domestic responsibilities as well as overseeing the maintenance of the grounds and gardens of the household. Brandon was also responsible for felonies or offences committed by the king’s servants. Brandon was also the head of the Board of Green Cloth.

During the last ten years of his life Brandon was very active in military matters. On 1 October 1536 The Pilgrimage of Grace began. The Pilgrimage was a protest against the suppression of the monasteries, complaints against various taxes being imposed or rumours of taxes and importantly complaints against those people who were working for the king, including Thomas Cromwell. Over the coming weeks it was reported that the rebels had gathered 40,000 men to support their cause. On the 9 October the rebels dispatched their petition of grievances to the king. Charles Brandon was chosen by Henry VIII to keep an eye on the rebels. Brandon arrived in Huntingdon on 9 October at 6am, then on the 15 October Henry VIII wrote to Brandon again detailing that he should instruct the rebels to surrender their weapons and give all the information they can about how the rebellion started. If they would surrender. they would be dismissed without any further problems. By early 1537 the Pilgrimage was finally subdued and the rebels dispersed. 

In the early 1540’s relations between England and Scotland were breaking down. There had been many ‘hit and run’ attacks conducted by the English into Scottish towns just across the border where English forces had burned villages and stolen livestock. The king needed someone he could trust to guard the English Scottish borders and once more he turned to Brandon.

Brandon was appointed as Royal Lieutenant of the North and sent to the Scottish borders in January 1543, staying there and overseeing the defences until March 1544. His duties did not just include protecting the border from Scottish invasion, piracy or insurrection by the local Scots, he was also entrusted with overseeing trials and administering punishments accordingly, as well as following the directions given to him by the king and the Privy Council. A tentative peace treaty with Scotland was signed at Greenwich on 1 July 1543, ratified on 25th August 1543, but rejected by the Scottish parliament in the December of that year.

Soon after Henry VIII turned his attention to war against France. This would be Henry VIII’s final hurrah against his old enemy and he sought to align with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in an attempt to capture P.aris. A peace treaty between The Holy Roman Emperor and England had been signed in February 1543, but at the time Scotland was causing difficulties and the king’s attention had been turned to his northern borders. Now that Scotland was no longer an issue Henry VIII returned his sights to invading France

Brandon was called to action and at the age of fifty nine/sixty he went to war once more. While Henry VIII’s initial plan was to take Paris, he abandoned this plan and decided it was more strategic to take Boulogne because by occupying it, the town could be held for ransom. Brandon was appointed lieutenant & Captain General of the army and tasked with the taking of Boulogne; and it would seem that he was excited about what lay ahead as he made jokes with the other members of the Council about the forthcoming war. Meanwhile the Duke of Norfolk was ordered to besiege Montreuil.

By the end of June 1544 Brandon and his men were in France and shortly afterward they began the great siege against Boulogne. Brandon was firmly in control of his men and the campaign working with his council to ensure that not only his men but also the horses that had been brought across had enough food and water for the campaign. Brandon saw that no mercy was shown to the town of Boulogne. Over a period of six weeks he ordered approximately 100,000 gun stones fired into the town. In addition to this bombardement, tunnels were dug under the city walls in order to weaken the outer ring of defences of the city.

Even when the king arrived on the battlefront, albeit at a safe distance, the organisation and operation of the siege was left to Brandon. Boulogne finally surrendered on 14 September 1544 at 10am. Brandon was granted the honour of riding into Boulogne signalling the surrender of the city. Brandon’s friend and one time brother-in-law, King Henry VIII of England, could not have granted him a higher honour as it should have been the king who first entered the city.

Satisfied with this victory the king returned home, but not before ordering Brandon to provide aid to the Duke of Norfolk at Montreuil. However, before Brandon could provide this aid, on 18 September Francis I and Charles V signed the Treaty of Crépy-en-Lannois leaving England alone against the French. Poor weather and lack of supplies saw Brandon, Norfolk and their men retreat to Calais. Peace between France and England would not be concluded until 7th June 1546 with the signing of the Peace of Ardres.

Less than a year later, on 22 August 1545 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon Charles Brandon died at Guildford. Although wishing to be buried in the college church of Tattershall in Lincolnshire without any pomp or display.

The king was struck with grief at the loss of his longest and most loyal friend. Upon hearing the news of Brandon’s death Henry VIII declared that Brandon had been one of his best friends. He went on to say that Brandon had always been loyal and generous and that he had never taken unfair advantage of a friend or enemy and was truly fair towards all his political enemies. On the 9 September Brandon was buried at St George’s Chapel in Windsor near the south door of the choir at the king’s expense. This was the final gesture of friendship and honour that Henry VIII could bestow.

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk had a successful court and military career and died one of the Henry VIII’s most beloved and dearest friends. He had married the king’s sister, Mary, without permission and thus had become brother-in-law to the king of England. He was a loyal, dedicated friend and courtier and one of the 16th century’s most intriguing men.

Sarah Bryson


Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.
Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1871.
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, World Public Library, http://www.worldlibrary.org/articles/Charles_Brandon,_1st_Duke_of_Suffolk; viewed 18 December 2017.
De Lisle, L; Tudor: The Family Story; Chatto & Windus, London. 2013
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.: 2015 ‘The Most Noble Order of the Garter’; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/226255/The-Most-Noble-Order-of-the-Garter; viewed 18 December 2017,.
Gunn, S; Charles Brandon, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire, UK. 2015
Hall, E; Hall's chronicle: containing the history of England, during the reign of Henry the Fourth, and the succeeding monarchs, to the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth, in which are particularly described the manners and customs of those periods. Carefully collated with the editions of 1548 and 1550, J. Johnson, London. 1809
Hutchinson R; The Last Days of Henry VIII, Phoenix, London. 2006
Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509-47, ed. J.S Brewer, James Gairdner and R.H Brodie, His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1862-1932.
Levitt, E; “A second king”: chivalric masculinity and the meteoric rise of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk (c. 1484- 1545)”, University of Winchester - Gender and Medieval Studies; 2014.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Brandon, Charles, first duke of Suffolk (c.1484–1545), 2015, Oxford University Press, < http://www.oxforddnb.com/>; viewed 18 December 2017.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Brandon, Sir Thomas (d. 1510), 2015, Oxford University Press, < http://www.oxforddnb.com/>; viewed 18 December 2017.
Richardson, D & Kimball G Everingham; Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families; 1st Edition, Genealogical Publishing Co., USA. 2004: 2nd Edition - Createspace 2011.

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About the Author

Sarah Bryson is a researcher, writer and educator who has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education with Honours. She currently works with children with disabilities. She is passionate about Tudor history and has a deep interest in Mary Boleyn, Charles Brandon, the reign of Henry VIII and the people of his court. She is the author of Mary Boleyn in a Nutshell and Charles Brandon: The King’s Man. Sarah lives in Australia, enjoys reading, writing and Tudor costume enactment, and wishes to return to England one day. Find out more at Sarah's website sarah-bryson.com and follow her on Twitter @SarahBryson44.

19 March 2018

Blog Tour ~ Pustules, Pestilence and Pain: Tudor Treatments and Ailments of Henry VIII, by Seamus O’Caellaigh

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Henry VIII lived for 55 years and had many health issues, particularly towards the end of his reign. Historian Seamus O'Caellaigh has delved deep into the documents of Henry's reign to select some authentic treatments that Henry's physicians compounded and prescribed to one suffering from those ailments.

Author Interview with Seamus O’Caellaigh

How did you go about researching the health of Henry?
I investigated the health of Henry VIII by working back from the better-known things about his conditions, then created a more detailed picture by adding letters from his court and the written works of his physicians. We know that his health affected the relationships he had with his six wives. Those relationships are notorious and the Tudors have become a well-known family because of it. Established Tudor history tells us the story of his life and some of the illnesses he had, but I wanted to go back to the people that saw him every day and to what they said about his fitness. From there, I studied the treatments his physicians used, using their written works.
How did you set up and take such stunning photos?
Henry VIII was visually impressive, many of those that visited his court said so in the letters they sent home. It is fitting that, if we are examining his health, the pictures would be equally impressive. My photographer did a wonderful job as they worked with me to capture images of the apothecary, Tudor medicine, and Tudor history. I compiled ingredients, made the treatments, and then spent hours over a series of days working to get everything as visually pleasing as possible. I am overwhelmed with how well my vision became the amazing photos in this book - a new and stunning way to look at Tudor life and the story of Henry VIII.
Was it difficult to find the primary sources on his illnesses?
It's not difficult to read about Henry VIII and the dramatic changes he made to the history of England and Europe. It is, however, more difficult to find primary sources about his illnesses and the treatments used. Physicians of the time did not keep the same sort of medical records that modern ones do. One source I used, in particular, is handwritten and stored in the Royal British Library, only available by requesting copies directly from them. The prescription book of Henry VIII took a while to find too, with many leads ending to dead ends. We are lucky that so many of correspondence to and from his court are recorded but it is a double-edged sword, as that increases the number of letters to look through to find the desired information.
What makes your book different to others on Henry's life?
The health of the monarch was at the forefront of many people's thoughts in the Tudor era. My book does not directly look at the six wives of Henry, the break with the Roman Catholic church, or the rebelling of the northern lords. Instead, it looks at the treatments of the Tudor period, those that Tudor Physicians recommended for a patient suffering from small-pox, fevers, and various injuries. The Tudor era was an important time in the history of medicine, filled with many advancements, and at the same time drawing off of the diagnostic practices of the past. While other books about Henry VIII look at the other aspects of his life, I have chosen to focus on his health and how this was a huge factor for the way his life played out.

Seamus O’Caellaigh
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About the Author

Seamus O’Caellaigh has always been interested in the Tudor dynasty and the many uses of plants. He grew up learning about plants from his grandmother Anne Kelley and mother Diane Prickett. Their love of plants has manifested in Seamus through his love of being out in the wild looking for medicinal plants, through his spending lots of time in the family garden and through spending time in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. He is most often seen with his head down, looking at the plants along the path and not at what lies ahead. Having joined a pre-1600s recreation group, Seamus found a way to incorporate his love of the Tudors with a study of medicinal plants from that time period, along with the many herbal books written from the 1st century to the turn of the 17th century. Nothing makes Seamus happier than finding an obscure reference, or his son Jerrick bringing him a plant for “Dad’s Plant Projects.”