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10 June 2023

New Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Night of the Wolf (A Brother Chandler Mystery Book 3) by Cassandra Clark

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

The ruthless reign of Henry IV and the clerical tyranny of Archbishop Arundel keep Brother Chandler and his friends under constant threat in this gripping medieval mystery featuring friar-sleuth Rodric Chandler.

Chester, 1400. Riding for his life, with a copy of Chaucer's heretical Canterbury Tales in his possession, friar-sleuth Brother Chandler is ambushed on the road and wakes up in a stranger's house.

Is his 'rescuer', wool merchant John Willoughby, friend . . . or foe? Willoughby declares that he, like Chandler, has renounced the self-crowned King Henry IV and will help Chandler get his dangerous belongings to safety. He seems trustworthy, but Chandler knows that if he's caught by the King's merciless censors together with the Tales, he'll be burned at the stake.

But then Willoughby's young wife perishes in a terrible accident at their house - or so it seems . . . Willoughby asks Chandler to help investigate if it was indeed an accident or if someone had a hidden agenda.

All Chandler wants to do is find safe haven for Chaucer's Tales and return to London, but he accepts the case. Little does he know that it will lead to secrets being uncovered which will put not only Chandler but also those around him in unimaginable peril.

The Night of the Wolf is the third book in the Brother Chandler mystery series, following The Hour of the Fox and The Day of the Serpent. A great read for history lovers who enjoy puzzling
murder mysteries with twists!

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About the Author

Cassandra Clark has an M.A. from the University of East Anglia and taught for the Open University on the Humanities Foundation course in subjects as diverse as history, philosophy, music and religion. Since then she has written many plays and contemporary romances as well as the libretti for several chamber operas.  Find out about Cassandra's other books on her website at and follow her on Twitter @nunsleuth

9 June 2023

Book Launch Spotlight: Brotherhood of Wolves: A Medieval Crusader military adventure (Knights Templar Thrillers Book 1) by Daniel Colter

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

The enemy strikes from within…

Jerusalem, 1177: The Holy City is in Christian hands and the Sultan Saladin has vowed to retake her, whatever the cost.

Two faiths are warring over sacred ground. It is within this feverish hotbed that Finn of Struan, a young knight dedicated to the Templars, is stationed.

Finn’s world unravels when his mentor, Robert of Saint Albans, murders a brother in cold blood. Worse, Robert joins the Devil himself — Saladin.

The foul deeds stain the Templar name and Finn is tasked with killing Robert, a man with a mind sharper than any sword.

But as Finn slips into enemy territory, he finds the hunter has become the prey…

As Templar fights Templar for control of the Holy City, can Finn avenge his dead comrade? Will the Brotherhood prevail?

Or will Saladin’s army emerge victorious?

BROTHERHOOD OF WOLVES is the first book in the Knights Templar Thrillers series: action-packed, authentic historical Crusader military adventures set during the Medieval era.

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About the Author

Daniel Colter has a graduate degree in anthropology / archaeology and worked twenty-four years as an archaeologist. He traipsed over many a remote, rugged landscape searching for prehistoric sites until life nudged him in a new direction. Now he writes novels. Daniel has a long-held fascination with ancient warfare, medieval history, and old sagas, which he uses as inspiration to spin epic adventure tales. When not writing, he can be found hunched over an anvil, burning his fingers while trying to make swords and knives. Daniel lives in the mountains of Utah with his wife and two lazy Labrador retrievers.  

8 June 2023

Book Review: Children of the House of Cleves: Anna and Her Siblings, by Heather R. Darsie

Available for pre-order from 

I enjoyed reading Heather R. Darsie's previous book Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King's 'Beloved Sister', and have since had a very different view of Anna. Children of the House of Cleves is a detailed study of the lives of her sisters, Sybylla, and Amalia, and brother, Wilhelm von der Mark, providing a rich context for understanding the children of Johann III, Duke of Cleves, 

Wilhelm, as the heir, had the best education as preparation for life as a duke,  but the girls were were not well prepared what was to face them. Brought up in the 'Frauenzimmer', a strict, women only court, they were taught to run a noble household. 

The eldest, Sybylla, found herself defending the siege of Wittenberg against the formidable army of Charles V, and Amalia was the first choice as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII - until he was persuaded to marry Anna.

Heather Darsie was unable to visit many of the locations in the book due to the global pandemic, but has more than compensated for this through her forensic study of primary sources.

I knew how the royal families of Europe were interconnected in complex ways, but I'd not realised how this led to the Thirty Years War in Germany, and so much religious and political conflict.

Tony Riches

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About the Author

Heather R. Darsie lives in the United States. She has a Bachelor of Arts in German Languages and Literature, and a Juris Doctorate. During her time at university, she studied in Costa Rica and France, with visits to Germany and other countries. She is currently studying for an MA in Early Modern History. Find out more at  and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @HRDarsieHistory

6 June 2023

Book Launch: Penelope - Tudor Baroness (Book Four of The Elizabethan Series)

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

A Life of Love and Scandal

I became intrigued by the story of Penelope when I was researching my book about her brother, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.  I was impressed by her resilience, yet had many questions about this Elizabethan noblewoman who seems to get away with living life on her own terms. 

Lady Penelope is one of the most beautiful and sought-after women in Elizabethan England. The daughter of the queen's nemesis, Lady Lettice Knollys, Countess of Essex, she becomes the stepdaughter of Robert Dudley when he marries her mother in secret. 

Penelope's life is full of love and scandal. The inspiration for Sir Philip Sidney’s sonnet Astrophel and Stella, she is inevitably caught up in her brother Robert's fateful rebellion.

A complex and fascinating woman, her life is a story of love, betrayal, and tragedy. Discover how Penelope charms her way out of serious charges of treason, adultery, and forgery, and becomes one of the last truly great ladies of the Tudor court.

A maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, Penelope outlives the end of the Tudors with the death of the old queen and the arrival of King James, becoming a favourite lady-in-waiting to the new queen, Anne of Denmark.

“This is the story of a woman who lived life on her own terms, and one that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.”

Book Launch: The Waterfront Lass, by AnneMarie Brear

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Wakefield 1870: On the banks of the River Calder, Meg Taylor struggles to care for her younger siblings and sick mother whilst her father is away working as a boatman on the canals. The slums where they live are rife with disease, and Meg longs for a different life, away from the grinding poverty, but she'll never leave her family.

But with the canals slowly dying as trade moves to the railways, and with Meg’s father stubbornly holding onto the past, Meg fears her family’s future is going to get even bleaker. If only there was a way she could save them….

Christian Henderson is tired of the greed of his wealthy family. He sees the poverty around him and wishes he could do more to help the proud working-class people he meets. People like Meg Taylor, whose courage he so admires.

From the moment he meets Meg, Christian is captivated – Meg might be poor, but she is proud and spirited!

Meg’s dreams of being with a man like Christian are fantasy. How can a lass from the waterfront be with a wealthy man such as he?

And worse, if she follows her heart to be with him, what will happen to the family she loves?

Praise for AnneMarie Brear:

'AnneMarie Brear writes gritty, compelling sagas that grip from the first page.' Fenella J Miller

'Poignant, powerful and searingly emotional, AnneMarie Brear stands shoulder to shoulder with the finest works by some of the genre’s greatest writers such as Catherine Cookson, Audrey Howard and Rosamunde Pilcher.'

'Mesmerising from beginning to end.' Lizzie Lane

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About the Author

AnneMarie Brear was born in a small town in N.S.W. Australia, to English parents from Yorkshire, and is the youngest of five children. From an early age she loved reading, working her way through the Enid Blyton stories, before moving onto Catherine Cookson’s novels as a teenager. Living in England during the 1980s and more recently, AnneMarie developed a love of history from visiting grand old English houses and this grew into a fascination with what may have happened behind their walls over their long existence. AnneMarie now lives in the Southern Highlands of N.S.W. Australia. Find out more from her website and find her on Facebook and Twitter @annemariebrear

5 June 2023

Historical Fiction Spotlight: The Image of the King, by Julie Maxwell

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

England, 1648. King Charles I is a prisoner on the Isle of Wight. He has lost the civil wars. He now stands to lose his head. Escape is imperative - but it seems increasingly impossible.

No one proves more enterprising than the king's spy-mistress Jane Whorwood. Yet no one poses more of a threat to his image as a family man.

The plot against Charles soon takes a new and elaborate turn. For the first time in history, a head of state will be impeached by his own subjects and put on trial for his life. But how can a king possibly be tried for treason?

John Milton watches as the coup d’etat unfolds. Betrayed by former allies, Milton is determined never to get involved in politics again.

So is it providence or a mere conspiracy of circumstances when his cousin John Bradshaw is appointed the King’s Judge?

Oliver Cromwell has decided on Bradshaw. But he has also decided on Milton. A writer is needed to reconcile the nation to regicide and reply to the royal memoir The Image of the King.

As the propaganda wars intensify toward their tragic climax, the monarch is not the only one in mortal danger. Belatedly Milton discovers just how far the royalists will go to defeat their opponents.

Praise for The Image of the King:

'An intricately organised, subtly ironic perspective on a tumultuous historical period' Craig Raine.

"What was really great about the book was the characters around Charles and the intriguing conspiracies to get his release. The plot twist at the end was completely unexpected. Brilliant stuff."  Five-Star Amazon Review 

"The Image of the King is a thrilling tale of the Civil Wars' battle for hearts and minds. Through the eyes of King Charles I and the failing eyesight of John Milton, we watch politics and propaganda slide out of control until lives and afterlives lie on the line. Impeccably researched and engagingly told, The Image of the King will entertain and educate in equal measure." Miranda Malins, author of The Rebel Daughter.

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About the Author 

Julie Maxwell was born in Southall in 1975 and took a First in English at Christ Church, Oxford. She received a Gibbs Prize and a Charles Oldham Shakespeare Award. Subsequently she gained a Distinction in the M.Phil. in Shakespeare studies, and was elected a Senior Scholar of Christ Church to work on her D.Phil. thesis about Renaissance drama. She also held British Academy/A.H.R.B. Studentships and taught English at Trinity College, Oxford. In 2003 she was elected the Weston Junior Research Fellow in English Literature at New College, Oxford, where she wrote 'You Can Live Forever', her first book. She also drafted a monograph about Ben Jonson and religion, which is nearing completion. She was offered a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Liverpool but instead defected to Cambridge as a Fellow and Lecturer in English at Lucy Cavendish College. She has now returned to Oxford. You can find Julie on Twitter @JMaxwellAuthor

4 June 2023

Historical Fiction Spotlight: Shadow of Treason (The Queen's Intelligencer Book 3) by Peter Tonkin

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Redriffe, London, Wednesday 27 April 1603> A gunpowder mill explodes, causing death and destruction. A passer-by becomes involved in helping victims but is recognised and arrested – for he is a wanted man.

The arresting officer is Spymaster Robert Poley, Queen Elizabeth’s Chief Intelligencer under Francis Walsingham and now King James’s under Robert Cecil. The fugitive is the Catholic Robert Catesby.

Catesby is imprisoned. On his release, he secretly begins to recruit a group of desperate associates. Some form of a plot - and an act of violence - is afoot.

Poley turns his attention towards the conspirators. His intelligencers target an expert in gunpowder and explosives. His name? Guy Fawkes.

And so a desperate game of cat and mouse unfolds as Poley races to discover exactly what the conspirators are planning. Gunpowder, treason and plot.

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About the Author

Peter Tonkin attended the Queen’s University, Belfast, 1969 – 75, where he studied with Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Bernard MacLaverty and Ciaran Carson; and directed Ciaran Hinds in Hamlet.  He published his first novel, Killer, to international acclaim in 1978.  Since then he has divided his time between writing and teaching.  He has published 52 other novels including the Master of Defence series of Elizabethan murder mysteries and the 30-book Mariner series of action-adventure-thrillers.  Since retiring from teaching, he has been preparing a series of thrillers set in Ancient Rome.  He is pictured here preparing to attend a Literary Evening at Trinity College, Oxford, of which he is a Benefactor. Find out more at Peter's website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @petertonkin50