Contemporary crime reviews

During lockdown I had another go at reading Proust, but I’m still struggling. (The good bits are wonderful but the bad bits are like a parody of self-indulgent French intellectualism.) I’ve been given the graphic novel version of volume 1 (yes, it really exists and...

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James Burke, His Majesty’s Confidential Agent

James Burke, His Majesty’s Confidential Agent

I’m just finishing the sixth of the James Burke books and it’s made me look back at the series and see how different they are. This may or may not be a good thing commercially, but I’ve deliberately tried to change the mood between books. After a lifetime of hack writing (non-fiction) I am writing now for my own pleasure and playing with different approaches is something I enjoy. I hope it also keeps the books fresh for readers.
So how has this worked out in practice?

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Edging back to normal

Edging back to normal

I don't have a whole lot to say about books or writing or history this week. I'm still revelling in the opportunity to do things that we once took for granted. We've been allowed back into Wales for a few months now, so we took advantage of the heatwave to get out of...

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Thoughts from a week away

Thoughts from a week away

I’m sitting in Wales looking out the window at a landscape hazy in the heat of a July day. It’s a wonderful, lazy place where we walk and read and chat aimlessly about all sorts of things, usually pointless (Can analysis be worthwhile? Is the theatre really dead?) but...

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A few days away

A few days away

Ever since I discovered that about half my Twitter followers seem unaware of my blog, I've been telling everyone that I blog every Friday (and occasional Tuesdays). So it's a bit embarrassing to admit that I don't really have anything to say this Friday. That's...

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The joys of historical research (#125 in a continuing series)

I’m writing the next James Burke book. Or rather, I’m trying to write it but instead I am alternately bashing my head against a keyboard, playing an inordinate amount of Spider Solitaire, and writing this. Burke in Ireland was a rather more downbeat book than most of...

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James Brooke and his Journey to the Edge of the World

If you read the Daily Mirror on Saturday (26 June), you will have seen an interesting article about James Brooke. Although they were kind enough to mention me and The White Rajah, its focus is on the film, Edge of the World, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. The...

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The White Rajah – the true story

The White Rajah – the true story

With Edge of the World now available on DVD (covid having robbed it of a cinema release) there is growing interest in the life of James Brooke, the character portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Myers. Last year I wrote three blog posts about him and, though that's not so long...

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‘Edge of the World’

‘Edge of the World’

Edge of the World becomes available in the UK on Monday, but you've been able to watch it in the USA since 4 June and, thanks to the nice people at Signature Entertainment, I've seen a copy. Edge of the World tells the story of how James Brooke travelled to Borneo,...

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