Tales of Empire is free on Kindle next week (12 – 16 September). Here’s why you should grab a copy.
Tales of Empire is a book of short stories. There are only four, which is why even when you have to pay for it, it costs only 99p. The four showcase the work of four very different but uniformly excellent historical fiction writers. (Well, three excellent writers plus me.)
The authors were asked to submit a story set anywhere from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the end of the century. Although they all write conventional historical fiction with no revisionist agenda, all four stories ended up challenging some of the more traditional approaches to Empire.
These are the authors and what they write about.
Antoine Vanner is the author of the Dawlish Chronicles, a series of novels (and the odd short story) about the adventures of Nicholas Dawlish who joins the Royal Navy in the second-half of the 19th century as the Navy is moving from wooden sailing vessels to the modern world of ironclad steamers. The stories show Dawlish developing from a very young man to a seasoned mariner, his own progress mirrored in the development of the ships that he sails in. Vanner is fascinated by the technology of naval warfare and his stories are full of solidly researched detail, but they are adventure stories too with Dawlish caught up in espionage and fighting alongside regular army forces as well as engaging in the sea battles that you would expect of a naval series.
Antoine’s contribution to this collection is a story about the Royal Navy’s attempt to suppress the slave trade and how difficult this could turn out to be in practice.
Jacqueline Reiter is a professional historian whose biography of John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, The Late Lord, is the definitive work on his life. The Late Lord is a joy to read and Reiter’s affection for, and understanding of, her subject shines through. A fictional account of a real episode in Pitt’s life is her contribution to this collection.
Penny Hampson writes mysteries set during the Regency. A Gentleman’s Promise is the first book in her Regency Gentlemen Series. She also enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with a hint of the paranormal, because where do ghosts come from but the past?
Her story looks at how social and technological change during the Regency led us from the world of the 18th century to the country we live in today.
Tom Williams (that’s me) writes the James Burke stories about a James Bond figure during the wars with France. The Burke stories have an enthusiastic following but the books he is most proud off are the John Williamson Papers which deal with more serious issues at the height of the Age of Empire. The first, The White Rajah is about the real-life James Brooke who became the absolute ruler of a chunk of Borneo in the mid-19th century. The novel looks at how his idealistic approach to government collided with the realities of the day. The short story is about a fictional tiger hunt that shows the kind of person he was and the effect his style of rule had on those around him. It was written after The White Rajah but it could well have been a chapter in that book. I hope it will encourage you to read the novel.
So there you go: four writers showcasing their talents in the hope that you might read more of their work. And free. I do hope you pick up a copy. Here’s a link: mybook.to/TalesofEmpire