There’s a genial review of my book ‘Zombies From History’ on The Spooky Isles site. “Holder’s humour and writing style is very engaging,” apparently. The book serves as “an excellent and entertaining introduction to famous
historical figures” as “he hammers home facts which you may not forget in a hurry.” Oh, and “The illustrations are also rather amusing and really well done.”
And the reviewer, a former sociology student, appreciated the joke about a resurrected Karl Marx leading the
Living Dead faction of the anti-capitalism movement with the slogan “Zombies of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your brains”.
The full review is here. And ‘Zombies from History: A Hunter’s Guide’, the definitive work on what do do when the
historic dead return during the zombie apocalypse, can be purchased on that there Amazon for ready money here.
My thanks to MJ Steel Collins.
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.
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
And so: there shall be blood.
My latest book, The Little Book of Scotland, has 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.
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.
‘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
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.