Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Post by Derek Birks, Author of Crown of Fear (The Wars of the Roses Book 9)

1 March 2022

Special Guest Post by Derek Birks, Author of Crown of Fear (The Wars of the Roses Book 9)

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

England, August 1485: For almost thirty years, the Elder family has been ravaged by the feud between York and Lancaster. Now exiled John Elder, yearning for an end to the Elders’ troubles, throws his support behind a young, untried pretender, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond.

Crown of Fear brings to an end a journey which began more than ten years ago when I wrote my debut novel, Feud. That first book was the start of my Wars of the Roses series which follows the fortunes of the fictional Elder family as they negotiate the troublesome period from 1459 through to 1485. Feud is a story of youthful inexperience, rash behaviour and young love; but in Crown of Fear, set 25 years later, we are nearing the end of the family’s long struggle. We find that some familiar characters are weary and drained of resolve so that all they crave is an end to the conflict as soon as possible.

Some characters attempt to keep out of trouble completely but, as in every novel of the series, the war pursues the Elders wherever they go and their actions – wise or otherwise – are woven into the events of the time. So, in this final book I bring the Elder family, kicking and screaming to the eve of the pivotal battle of Bosworth – and there I hit something of a problem in devising my story.
Usually, I try to offer the reader a different take on well-known events, but so much has been written about Bosworth, that I had to work hard to achieve some originality this time. I have focussed not so much upon Richard III and Henry Tudor - though I could hardly ignore them - but upon two other prominent leaders at Bosworth whose armies did not fight at all: Lord Thomas Stanley and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. 

By inserting my characters into the plotting and planning of those two wily nobles, I have managed – I hope – to approach Bosworth from a different perspective. Throughout the series, I have endeavoured not to make a battle the climax of the story but merely its backcloth. Here then, the threat to the Elders is resolved not at Bosworth itself but elsewhere after the battle is over.

The characters of the Elder family have been a part of my life for over a decade and one in particular has survived everything I have thrown at her. Eleanor Elder has charmed and bludgeoned her way into the hearts of many readers and quite a number of them asked me a little nervously about her fate in this final book. I hope that readers will find her story in Crown of Fear faithful to the character we all first met as a rash and vivacious fifteen-year-old.
While Crown of Fear inevitably ties up some Elder family ‘loose ends’, it is a story which centres upon one of the most interesting events of English history: the demise of Richard III. People never seem to tire of this king and, though the main focus is not upon him, I have given him a walk-on part which I hope will entertain readers.
Derek Birks

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About the Author

Derek was born in Hampshire in England but spent his teenage years in Auckland, New Zealand, where he still has strong family ties.  For many years he taught history in a secondary school in Berkshire but ten years ago he took early retirement to concentrate on his writing. Apart from writing, he spends his time gardening, walking and taking part in archaeological digs. Derek is interested in a wide range of historical themes but began his writing career with the late medieval period. He writes action-packed fiction which is rooted in accurate history.  His debut historical novel, Feud, is the first of a series of eight books and one novella now entitled The Wars of the Roses which follows the fortunes of the fictional Elder family. The series ends with Crown of Fear which is out now. Derek has also written a bestselling trilogy set largely in post-Roman Britain. The Last of The Romans focuses on the real Romano-British character of Ambrosius Aurelianus during the fifth century AD. Find The Last of the Romans here:
You can follow Derek on Twitter as @Feud_writer and his author page on Facebook is: To find out more about his books, or to contact him you can go to his website: and he also has an occasional blog:

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