Review: Living With Shakespeare: St Helen’s Parish, London 1593-1598

History, as I learned at school, even at its very best and most exciting can, if a teacher or writer tries hard enough, become dull and tedious in the extreme. Which is why I picked sciences for A level and dropped history. I loved history as a subject, and had studied the medieval period, Victorian … Continue reading

Russia Research

I was chatting to a friend recently, and the conversation gradually migrated to Russia and the state of the world. His view was that Putin had given back pride to Russia, that he had made the country strong again, and though he deplored Putin’s methods, Putin had succeeded in making Russians feel a sense of … Continue reading

A Short Interlude

I’ll soon be back to normal. There are two books I really have to review here shortly – both superb pieces of historical research that deserve a much wider audience. However, unfortunately last week I had a horrible cold. It was quite vile, and knocked me backwards quite dramatically. Then, on Sunday, I discovered that … Continue reading

Review: THE SABOTEUR, by Simon Conway. published by Hodder and Stoughton.

NOTE: I conducted a short interview with Simon Conway on SHOTS E-ZINE, which you can find here: http://shotsmag.co.uk/interview_view.aspx?interview_id=318 I hope you enjoy that too! As a reviewer and reader, there are rather few authors whose work I look forward to every year. My old stand-bys like John le Carre and John Gardner, are dead. Other … Continue reading

Review: RED TRAITOR, by Owen Matthews, published by Bantam.

Just recently your reviewer has enjoyed a vast range of different books to read and comment on. The delightful editors of Shots are keeping me busy, thank goodness, because all too often the books sent to me by enthusiastic publicists tend to have got me confused with writers of bodice-rippers and historical romance, rather than … Continue reading

Review: A CURSED PLACE, by Peter Hanington, published by Two Roads, an imprint of John Murray. 

My first reaction? Not good. When I see that someone who has been a BBC journalist for twenty-five years has been published, and that he has wonderful shout lines from Kirsty Wark, Michael Palin, Melvyn Bragg, Allan Little, and a raft of other BBC members of staff or those who are often interviewed by the … Continue reading

Review: THE BLACK DRESS by Deborah Moggach, published by Tinder Press

Hardback ISBN: 9781472260529 This is a rather strange one for me. Occasionally I am lucky enough to have a new book sent to me to review, and I’m always grateful. After all, with my income any opportunity to read another writer’s work is to be appreciated. And because I’m an author it’s not always easy … Continue reading

Review: EMPIRES OF CRIME by Tim Newark, published by Pen And Sword History

ISBN:  1526713047 I have to admit, I picked this up with a degree of trepidation. There are so many books published which blame the British Empire for everything from famine, slavery, warfare and xenophobia, that I am forced to select my reading with care, just to avoid damage to my blood pressure. I need not have … Continue reading

Review: THE KILLER ACROSS THE TABLE by John E Douglas and Michael Olshaker published by William Collins

Many years ago I came to the conclusion that I should only review books I’ve really enjoyed. There was a logic to that decision. Basically, since I have a real problem with diverse authors, such as Philip K Dick, Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson, my judgements about books are not, clearly, mainstream! However, my attitude … Continue reading

Review: THREE STATIONS by Martin Cruz Smith, published by Simon & Schuster

I have always had a soft spot for Martin Cruz Smith’s book, ever since I first read GORKY PARK, the book that introduced Arkady Renko, the disillusioned cop of Moscow’s police force.  There are several books in the series, and I find each of them utterly captivating. Yes, they are page-turners, and they have great … Continue reading