Category Archives: Book releases

Posts relating to book releases and signings

In which the Author publishes his 31st book, ‘Bloody British History’…

Bloody History of Britain coverBloody British History, my 31st book, has just been published. It’s a sanguinary canter through some of the

more gruesome aspects of British history, with an eye to not merely the murderous and macabre, but also to

the strange and, at times, surreal. Delve within the illustrated pages and you will learn of prehistoric cannibals using skulls as drinking cups, discover how to boil a poisoner to death, understand the technique of chemical warfare during medieval sea battles, and learn more about the use of cheese as an instrument of torture than you ever wanted to know.

With a full cast including Ancient Britons, Romans, Barbarians, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans, Pirates,

Jacobites and invading Frenchmen, Bloody British History relates some of the most famous episodes in the

history of the British Isles from unfamiliar perspectives. The sight of the largest ship in the Spanish Armada

keeling over with blood pouring from its scuppers. The giant Viking at Stamford Bridge finally defeated by a

spear thrust to the testicles from below the bridge he was defending. William the Conqueror turning the North of England into an uninhabited wasteland. The Scots inventing the concentration camp. Roman SEALs

conducting amphibious warfare. Witchcraft in Westminster politics. Not the six wives, but the Six Executions of Henry VIII. And how not to assassinate Queen Victoria.

Featuring walk-on parts from all manner of unpleasant characters from Richard the Lionheart and Bloody

Mary to Jack the Ripper and Hitler’s Gestapo, Bloody British History does what it says on the can.

There will, indeed, be blood.

The book is published by The History Press and is available through all the usual retail channels, including the country’s hard-pressed but indispensable brick-and-mortar bookshops.

Bloody History of Britain cover

In which the Author proofs his next book: Bloody British History…

Bloody British History is my next non-fiction book for The History Press. It deals exclusively with the sanguinary

moments in British history, from prehistoric cannibals and the reality of  Iron Age warfare to First World War

Zeppelin raids and the Gestapo’s detailed plans for ‘rationalising’ an occupied Britain in 1940.

Along the way you will encounter bloody massacres, revolting peasants, battles at sea and on land, foul murders,

royal executions, piracy in the English Channel, and a multitude of inventive punishments. There are also

explorations of the tactics of Roman Special Forces, how to boil people to death, and a medieval case of sex, lies and witchcraft.

William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, Mary, Queen of Scots and the seven putative assassins of Queen

Victoria all get a look-in as well. Other episodes instruct you how to use medieval chemical weapons to blind your opponents, why the Wars of the Roses were like the longest football match ever, and the use of cheese as an

instrument of torture.

Yes, cheese.

One of the key moments between an author delivering the manuscript and the book actually being published is the revising of the proofs. These are the pages of the book printed out on double-sided A3 pages. The author combs

through the proofs, correcting any typos, formatting errors, incorrect image captions and so on. I’ve just completed this stage, and it’s a pleasure to see my prose matched with full-colour images on every page – not to mention

liberal splashes of graphic designer gore.

Here’s a preview of the cover, which may change a little between now and publication. Bloody British History will

be published in September. Bloody History of Britain cover

And so: there shall be blood.

In which the Author publishes a new book on Scotland…

Little Book of Scotland

My latest book, The Little Book of Scotlandhas just been published. Here’s the blurb:

The ultimate compendium of trivia miscellany about Scotland’s unusual history

Take a funny, fast-paced, fact-packed look at the most frivolous, fantastic, or simply strange information that there

is to tell about Scotland. Here we find out about unusual crimes and punishments, eccentric inhabitants, famous

sons and daughters, and literally hundreds of other wacky facts about Scotland. This book contains historic and

contemporary trivia, including such gems as the real story of William “Braveheart” Wallace, which king was

murdered in a barn, and where the World War II Commandos were formed. With subjects ranging from Sir Walter Scott to Sir Sean Connery, Queen Victoria to Mary Queens of Scots, this remarkably engaging compendium is

essential reading for travelers and Scots alike.

scottish sun

The book has already picked up a fair amount of press interest in Scotland: here’s the full-page feature from

Saturday’s Scottish Sun. No doubt more to come.

The Little Book of Scotland can be picked up online here or here or at your favourite bricks-and-mortar bookshop – support bookshops, people, especially independent bookshops, they are Good Things.

In which the author publishes another book (this one’s on witchcraft)…

‘Maggie Wall – The Witch Who Never Was’ is out on December 1st. Telling the story of my investigations into the

famous Maggie Wall Witchcraft Monument in Perthshire, Scotland – the only historic monument to a named witch

in the whole of the UK – it is a non-fiction detective historical story, leading to some very surprising conclusions

about this most enigmatic of monuments. Here’s the blurb:

A remarkable and striking B-listed roadside cross in Perthshire is painted with the words

‘MAGGIE WALL

BURNT HERE

AS A WITCH 1657′

Maggie Wall has subsequently become the most famous witch in Scotland, featuring in folklore, folk history and

modern pagan belief alike.
Which is strange, seeing as she never existed.
This is the story of the Witch Who Never Was.

 

‘Maggie Wall – The Witch Who Never Was’ is  published as an ebook by The New Curiosity Shop out of Edinburgh. It is currently available on Amazon/Kindle, and will soon be downloadable for Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and the Apple iBookstore. The cost is around £2.80 or $3.60. 

Maggie-Wall938x1500

zombies cover for blog 3

In which the Author appears on Into the Dark Radio (again) to talk zombies…

Those estimable gentlemen Steve Rogers and Shawn McMahon recently allowed me to blether on about Zombies from History: A Hunter’s Guide on their podcast-tastic Into the Dark Radio show. We talked anti-zombie weapons, where best to ride out the forthcoming zombie apocalypse, how the zombie of Charles Darwin would probably be writing Great Exhumations and David Potter’s Field, and other fun stuff, not least the exploding corpse of William

the Conqueror.

(It’s great being an author of the strange and peculiar: you can write “the exploding corpse of William the

Conqueror” as if it’s the most normal sentence in the world.)

You can listen to the podcast via iTunes or Stitcher, or go to Into the Dark Radio itself.

into the dark zombies

zombies cover for blog 3

In which the Author has a new book published (this one’s on zombies)…

Zombies from History: A Hunter’s Guide has just been published by the History Press. 

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Are you worried about the zombie apocalypse? Kept awake each night imagining you’ll only manage to take out a

few before that chap at No. 9 gets you? Well, fret no more! Clasp a copy of this book and get a better class of

horrible death from one of Britain’s best-loved historical legends. With full zombie-hunting details – including the

locations of tombs, any wounds and weaknesses, and a carefully calculated difficulty level – no apocalyptic history

lover should leave home without it!

FULL DETAILS of where to find –and how to kill – all of Britain’s most historic zombies.

FACT FILES on the undead in history, including ROMAN REVENANTS, people who were BURIED ALIVE and some RESURRECTED ROYAL CORPSES!

HIGH-PROFILE TARGETS including JANE AUSTEN, HENRY VIII, RICHARD III and WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

And here a few zombies for your delecatation… Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin and St Patrick respectively:

happy hunting….

oliver cromwellZombies-52 USEZombies-2 USE alt