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
be published in September.
And so: there shall be blood.