Review: A LOYAL TRAITOR by Tim Glister, published by Point Blank on February 10th

ISBN 978 0 86154 166 9 Since I’m a child of the 60s, I’ve always been interested in books of the period. I love Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, John le Carré, John Gardner … all inspired me with my own writing, and they’re writing about a period I know well.  It’s not just spy and … Continue reading

Review: MAN ON FIRE by Humphrey Hawksley, published by Severn House

ISBN: 978 0 7278 9034 4 There are some names which are immediately recognisable. When I hear certain names announced on the radio or on my computer, they instantly bring to mind something that makes me stop for a moment. Humphrey Hawksley is one such name. I seem to have known Hawksley for decades. As … Continue reading

Review: BOXING CLEVER by Andy Costello

There are few sporting stories that combine the achievement of so much, followed by utter collapse, as that of Andy Costello.  I first met Andy some six or more years ago. He had called and asked me if we could get together over a coffee to talk about his life story. It sounded interesting, and … Continue reading

Review: BLACK BRICK by Jack Spittler

Many times over the years I have been asked to read over someone’s book. Usually it is a friend. Invariably it is a nervous character who sidles up with an easy to recognise expression of anxious anticipation. They have the twin fears: first that I will say I cannot make time to read their work. … Continue reading

Review: THE DA VINCI FRAUD, by Jack Dunn and Jonathan Coad, published by Silvertail Books

Phew. Where to start with this one? Okay. When I wrote THE LAST TEMPLAR, back in the far-distant days of March 1994, not only did I know that this would be the start of a glittering literary career, I also knew that my research had been impeccable, the characterisation superb and the plotting without fault. … Continue reading

Review: SLAVES AND HIGHLANDERS; Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean, by David Alston, Edinburgh University Press

Published October 2021 This is one of those books which leaves the reader thinking. It raises many questions, mostly about slavery and the British – which yes, means Scottish and English – responsibility for slavery, as well as the French, Dutch and other European nations who ran slave plantations. But this is much more. It … Continue reading

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