The king’s man – new book about Tudor England

If you enjoy well-researched historicals and haven’t discovered Tony Riches yet, you’re in for a treat. I have read his Tudor trilogy and, as a consequence, ended up reassessing Henry VII whom I had always considered a rascally usurper, no more, no less. Tony paints a far more complex character of the man who grasped …

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A last gasp – the death of a British Celt

Sometimes, the dinner discussions in our home veer towards the macabre, which is how we ended up talking about bog bodies – you know, those ancient remains that now and then crop up when someone cuts too deep into a peat moss. Most of these remains are very old, but we were discussing Bockstensmannen, Sweden’s …

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Putting sound to silence

It is here. Correction: THEY are here. Actually, they were here already yesterday, but that is neither here nor there. And no, I am not talking about people from outer space. I am talking about my first three audio books. As of yesterday, A Rip in the Veil, Like Chaff in the Wind and The …

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Of horses, crusades and premature death – a short medieval life

As part of the research for my latest series, I have had the pleasure of spending some time on the Iberian peninsula in the 13th century. And once there, I seem to have got stuck, intrigued by the constant conflicts between Christians and Moors, Castilians and Aragonese. Strong women, powerful warrior kings – Eleanor of …

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The Great Matter of a Medieval King

Say “the king’s great matter”, and everyone thinks “Aha! Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.” Okay, okay: not EVERYONE. After all, there are peeps out there who have no interest whatsoever in this Tudor king and his determination to rid himself of one wife to wed another. I know: somewhat incomprehensible to us history buffs, but …

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A slippery slope indeed…

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but after years in relative obscurity, corduroy is back on centre stage. To me, this is a material I have very lukewarm feelings towards. I remember those dark brown corduroy jeans I had as a teenager—jeans so tight I had to lie on my back to have a chance …

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The Greatest Love of All

No sooner was our third child born but I turned to look at my husband. “We have to get better at this,” I said. “We still haven’t got the breathing down pat. We need to practise more before the next one.” The midwife looked at me as if I were crazy. Hubby, to his everlasting …

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Of tangled webs and maybe-ghosts

Every picturesque ruin need a ghost or two, preferably with an intriguing and gripping backstory. Rarely do people who die peacefully in their sleep or due to an overconsumption of cake become ghosts. No, ghosts tend to be the impressions left behind by people who came to a violent end. Really good ghost stories also …

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The Sicilian affair – a lesson in 13th century politics

In 1262, a very young princess named Constanza was wed to Pedro of Aragón. He was twenty-three, she was thirteen. He was a proven soldier and leader of men, having spent many of his formative years riding side by side with his father, Jaime I of Aragón, as the latter spearheaded the Reconquista. (The Reconquista …

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The Norman Excuse For Conquest… a little matter of an oath.

I am so excited today! As we approach the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings (this weekend. I will toast Harold and cry a bit) Helen Hollick has popped by with a post about Harold Godwinson’s supposed oath of fealty to Duke William of Normandy (Bill, in the below). Personally, I am stuck on the …

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