All posts filed under: Historical posts

Out now!! Audio version of Roman Mask!!

  Yes, it’s true! You can now get the Audio version of my novel, Roman Mask.  Due to the success of the book, the Publisher Tantor decided to create an unabridged version of my work.  You can buy the Audio CD from Amazon and other retailers, or listen to it on Audible, or from Apple iTunes. Audio books, made for companies such as Audible, have become an increasingly popular way to enjoy novels.  Audio books bring their own form of magic to the literary world.  When listening to a work through a headset, it is easy to lose yourself in the woven spell of audio.  You can immerse yourself totally, through the hypnotic sound of the narrators’ voice, into the writers’ world.  Audio books are also sometimes better at fitting into our busy lives.  So if this is your medium of choice, you can now transport yourself to Ancient Rome before delving into the dark forests of the Teutoburg, by listening to my novel Roman Mask. I have been incredibly fortunate to have my work …

War chariots!!

We are quite used to the dramatic use of ancient cavalry and horses in both historical and fantasy novels.  However, riding on the back of horses actually came quite late in history (roughly 700 BC), before then the chariot held sway.  Horses were domesticated from around 3500 BC in the Eurasian steppes and used for farming and simple wagons with solid wheels.  But we need to wait until the invention of the spoked wheel in 2000 BC before the first chariots started to appear in the Indo-Iranian cultures of modern day Russia and Kazakhstan.  Quite quickly this light vehicle, with two wheels, drawn by one or more horses, spread throughout the ancient world and dominated the ancient battlefields between 1700 BC and 500 BC.  Surely there is scope here for some fantastic historical and fantasy novels to exploit these wonders of the ancient world?  Here are a few types. traveltoeat.com Hittite Chariot The first references to chariot warfare came in the ancient Near East where forty chariots were used at the siege of Salatiwara.  The …

Another Brick in the Wall. Guest post by Rahul Gandhi

Today, I am incredibly happy to introduce an immensely talented young author.  Rahul has already completed three works of non-fiction, spoken at conferences for young historians, and now is about to enter the historical fiction genre with his new novel – Another Brick in the Wall. He explains in this post the motivation behind this novel and I’m sure you’ll agree, that it is a fascinating concept and a incredibly original idea.  So without further delay, I will pass you over to Rahul… Thomas M D Brooke J.K. Rowling conceived the Harry Potter series while on a train from Manchester to London. What has that universe turned into? A multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that includes everything from books to movies to merchandise. The only word I have for that is wow! It is amazing that a simple idea, created in the most mundane of ways, has morphed into this massive worldwide phenomenon. I am an author, and no I am not enjoying the success of the likes of Rowling. But, I was struck by an …

Ancient Weapons of War!

It is great to have a castle, or large fortress, to set a scene in a historical novel.  The high curtain walls, the gatehouses, the murder holes and cunningly placed arrow slits.  All give the writer great scope in describing formidable bastions that appear all but impossible to penetrate.  However, history teaches us that the appearance of impregnability can be illusory, as ever since people started building walls to protect their buildings, others have been devising ways to get in – by fair means or foul. Ancient siege weapons – the Greek Catapult. When I started writing my first novel on Alexander the Great, I spent plenty of time researching the early catapults that Alexander used in besieging the many cities of Persia, in his conquest of the Persian Empire.  I proudly presented a long chapter to my father (who was helping me edit the novel) which held long explanations of the mechanics of the engines, describing them in great detail.  My father promptly put great red crosses through all the pages and scribbled “Too …

Heraldry.

A great device to give both historical and fantasy novels depth, are a Coat of Arms.  A family history, or tradition, encompassed into a heraldic emblem, a brightly painted shield and banner, complete with family motto.  This can give characters an intriguing edge, stories from their family’s past hinting at hidden secrets and mystery. In a historical novel, especially those set in the High Middle Ages, they can be used to show authenticity, being such an important aspect of that age.  Whilst in a fantasy novel, they are equally useful giving the authors world credibility and tantalising the reader into what the mythical land holds. Heraldry in a Historical context Some people date the start of heraldry as far back as ancient Egypt, when standards topped with the names of kings and gods, can be seen depicted in their art.  However, the type of heraldry we would recognise as such today, started to appear in the middle ages when large armies, all being equipped with full helmets and faceplates, required some way for individuals to …

War & Peace.

Many describe it as the greatest novel ever written, Tolstoy’s historical classic, that takes us across the vast sweeps of Eastern Europe and into the Russian heartland.  Napoleon’s reign of European domination begins and culminates in him leading an army of unparalleled strength – the pride of France – into a doomed campaign against Alexander I’s Russia.  The army reaches Moscow before its calamitous retreat from the great city that now lay in burnt ruins, and Napoleon’s army’s eventual destruction in the long flight. The novel is well named as it brilliantly describes and depicts vivid battle scenes, whilst also following the grandeur and splendour of early nineteenth century Russia, with its large beautiful estates, balls, and the wealth of the ruling aristocracy.  The story follows the Rostov, Bolkonsky and Bezuhov families as they wrestle with the changing times, the struggle of liberal ideals, and the rise and fall of their respective family’s fortunes.  These breaks from the military campaign give the narrative real depth, and you appreciate the titanic sacrifice and strength of the …

A Spanish adventure to write about…

Sometimes starting a new novel can be difficult, not least because the sheer scale of the work involved can be daunting.  Do I really want to commit so much of my time to such an arduous project? Fortunately, it isn’t all hard work, and the pluses always out-way the negatives.  One such example is going away to do the groundwork for a historical novel.  I recently took a holiday to Northern Spain to research the sequel to my novel Roman Mask.  Spain might seem a surprising destination for those who are familiar with Roman Mask, as so much of that story is set in the forests of Germany, and I’m guessing many readers would expect any sequel to also be entwined into that dark mist-shrouded and menacing landscape.  However, without giving too much away, my story involves the brother of Julius Arminius, and takes my main character Cassius to a completely different land and will show how the disaster in the Teutoburg forest had far reaching effects throughout the Roman world. Spain was always an incredibly …

Spring Madness! Roman Mask 0.99 Sale!

Spring is finally here and the sun is beginning to shine.  This has always been my favourite season, as the new found warmth in the air puts a smile on everyone’s face.  In this spirit, I have decided to reduce the cost the Ebook\Kindle version of my novel Roman Mask for the rest of the week.  The price will return to normal on Sunday, so grab it whilst you can!  This will apply to the Amazon Kindle version, and the iPad version, and the Nook version which you can buy and Barnes and Noble or Google books. “The classical world is brought vividly to life in this novel by Brooke” Daily Mail, UK National Newspaper  “Ancient Rome comes to life in all of its glory and menace” 5 Stars Brokenteepee “I read Roman Mask in one sitting; it was that powerful, that mesmerizing” 5 Stars TomeTender “As a reader, I became emotionally entwined with Cassius; his fear, inner turmoil, his search for courage and love” 5 Stars readersfavorite   Rome AD 9 Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the …

The Archer’s Tale – By Bernard Cornwell

The set of books I have decided to look at this week is Bernard Conwell’s Grail Quest novels, which starts with The Archer’s Tale.  For these novels, Cornwell has chosen a fascinating period of history: The One Hundred Year’s War that raged through the fourteenth and early fifteenth century between England and France.  What is unusual about these novels is they follow the story of a young archer on the English side.  Why is this unusual?  Well, normally in any form of novel, be it historical, fantasy, or Sci-Fi we expect to follow the story of someone fighting to protect their homeland, livelihood, or some other righteous cause.  But by following the English, who were undoubtedly the aggressor during this long conflict in France, he has departed from this usual convention.  At the start of the novel we meet our hero – Thomas of Hookton – as the English coast is attacked by French raids.  I’m not sure whether Cornwell was trying to suggest that these raids may have led to the century of warfare …

Blood Ties – Mixing Modern With Old, Guest post by Hazel B. West

Today,  I have a guest post from the highly successful author Hazel B. West.  Hazel currently has five published novels out, and today she is discussing her latest novel Blood Ties.  I have posted a description of the novel, and it is followed up by a fascinating post by Hazel on how she has managed to combine her love of history with her fantasy writing.  I have also posted a link to Hazel’s website at the bottom of this post where you have a chance to win a signed copy of Blood Ties.  So over to Hazel… Thomas M D Brooke Blood Ties by Hazel B.West In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool, bands together with a company of young warriors from the legendary order of Na Fianna to go on a quest to recover their missing family members who were captured by the Goblins in a shaky peace between the two kingdoms. Ciran and his companions must …