My apologies if you got an earlier version of this filled with gremlins. This month I’m featuring in Helen Hollick’s A-Z blogging challenge. As part of this she has interviewed the leading characters featuring in 26  books which  have been chosen as Editor’s Pick for the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews. This was extremely generous of her to offer and also great fun to take part in. I’m honoured to be in the company of these fantastic writers. My opportunity with my book FAR AWAY comes later in the month.Here’s a sum up of the  week so far. It’s been highly eventful.

A – AURELIA – by Alison Morton. Aurelia is a major in the Praetorian Guard in a Roman Empire which has survived into the 1960s and in which women fight. She is a woman who would “rather throw herself from the Senate House roof than pair up with Caius Tellus to have another child.” Aurelia is not a woman to cross but definitely a woman to follow and read about.


B – BLOODIE BONES (1796) by Lucienne Boyce.  Dan Foster is a Bow Street runner and pugilist who goes undercover in a Somerset village, Barcombe, to investigate the death of a gamekeeper, Josh Castle. This is the first in the series but in the second he gets to meet Mary Wollstonecraft,  who he finds” bewitching and not at all hyena like” – a very winning reaction to my mind.


C – THE MAN WITH THE CANARY WAISTCOAT by  Susan Grossey. Constable Samuel Plank is a magistrate constable in 1820’s London investigating financial fraud. In this case investment in the new form of energy, gas lighting. Susan is an investigator into money laundering and writes non-fiction books on the subject so this should be fascinating.


D – DUBH-LINN by James Nelson a novel of Viking Age Ireland. You must look at this one for a gorgeous picture of James dressed as a Viking. I have the sneaky suspicion he must be channeling an ancestor for these books. Or maybe getting them directly from Odin himself.


E – EVERGREEN IN RED AND WHITE by  Steven Kay. This is fascinating a novel about the first Romany professional footballer, all five foot five of him paid £4 a week which was more than he’d have got for going down the pit in the 1890s. My guess is fans of David Peace’s The Damned United would like this one.


F – FORTUNE’S FOOL by David Blixt. This interview is an almighty row between Dante’s son Pietro and his bolshie foster son, Cesco, “rascal, scoundrel and rakehell”. Helen can’t get a word in edgeways and it is extremely funny!


G – A GIFT FOR THE MAGUS by Linda Proud is about Renaissance painter Fra Filippo Lippi described as friar, scumbag and painter of divine images.  With that description you’ve got to read it, haven’t you?


The interviews and characters are great fun and can be found here: http://www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.co.uk on Helen’s blog along with all relevant links to the authors.  What a brilliant set of books. I’m off to buy them. Incidentally I hope we get to hear from Helen’s pirate hero what he would reply to the question she has been asking these characters, namely, “What do you admire in your author?” I think by the end of April there will be 26 authors who will say her generosity!



  1. What a nice blog, Vicky! And it’s nice to hear you like Dan Foster’s response to Mary Wollstonecraft – Wollstonecraft is one of my heroines along with other 18th century women, Frances Burney and Charlotte Smith.


    • Hi Lucienne thanks for dropping by. I’m very much looking forward to reading Bloodie Bones. It sounds fascinating and I’m also very interested in the suffragette material on your website. My mother always said there was a suffragette in my family history but that would have been in Norwich and she never named her. One of a multitude of great aunts she had! Many congratulations on getting into the final and lots of good luck.


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