All posts tagged: Historical Novel

2 books on Roman cookery to give away!

Today I have two copies of Mark Grant’s book on Roman cookery to give-away.   I used this excellent book on researching the food eaten by my characters in my novel Roman Mask.  Roman cookery is so intriguing because it is both so similar to our modern palettes, but also subtlety different.  The Romans were of course famous for lavish banquets, but Mark Grant focuses on what the normal people ate, rather than the over-indulgence of the few.  His recipes come from ancient writings and he attributes each source for each of the dishes.  The Romans used herbs and strong flavours and you can see the origins of the Mediterranean diet that we know today.    Having an authentic meal in a book is a great way to set a scene and instill a particular mood, and I found this book incredibly useful in my research.  It also comes in handy if you want to host a dinner party that has a unusual edge.  All his recipes can be compiled by gathering commonly bought ingredient’s today – …

Ancient Roman sites to inspire you…

Whilst writing my novel Roman Mask, I was inspired by many of the great ancient sites that can be found all around Europe and the Mediterranean basin.  This is by no means a complete list of all the wonderful sites that are in existence, but here are a few that inspired me… Rome, Italy.  How could I start anywhere else?  The ancient city that was at the heart of her Empire has to be on everyone’s list of places to visit if they are interested in Ancient Rome.  So much still remains and is easily accessible in this fantastic city.  The Colosseum was incredible, but as it was built later than my novel was set I couldn’t use it for research, but it still gives an amazing perspective on the sheer power and dominance that Rome held over the world at the time.  The Augustan palace on the top of the Palatine Hill nearby was very useful for me, and stretches all the way to the ancient forum at the centre of Ancient Rome.  But …

C J Sansom, Sovereign

I don’t often read crime novels, I’m not sure why, my grandmother used to love them, but I could never generate the necessary enthusiasm for finding out whodunit.  Maybe my mind just doesn’t work that way, or I have too much sympathy for the bad guys, either way, I’d have made a terrible detective. So it’s an unusual choice of novel this week that I write about – C J Sansom’s Sovereign that features her sleuth Matthew Shardlake.  I was drawn to it because of the period of history, Tudor England in all its pomp and splendour; a court full of intrigue and danger, the land in a flux of great change and upheaval, yet beginning to erect the pillars of society that we now identify with as forever English. As this is a crime novel I don’t want to give away the plot by discussing the characters too much, because as with any crime novel, they are key to the storyline.  I’ll just say that Shardlake is an interesting and unusual investigator, hunchbacked and often …

Roman Mask give away! Free Roman Masks up for grabs!

To celebrate the release of my novel ‘Roman Mask’ this week, I have decided to give away three Roman masks of my own!  You can see what they look like in the picture below.  Ok, they don’t look exactly like the mask found at Kalkriese (which is the image shown on the front cover of my book) but they are close enough and are suitably dramatic, so I thought they would make a nice prize.  They are all made from paper-mache and are hand painted.  If you would like one, simply enter the words ‘Roman Mask’ in the comment field.  Next week, I will put all the names in the hat and pull three out and ask the winners to send me their address so I can send them their mask.  The offer is open to anywhere in the world providing you have a postal address I can send it to. Incidentally, if anyone is interested in seeing the original Kalkriese mask it can be viewed at the Kalkriese museum  alongside other archaeological findings from the …

OUT TODAY!! Roman Mask by Thomas M D Brooke

What do we expect of our heroes? Self-sacrifice? Bravery? Strength of character? Maybe a hint of self-deprecation? Well, Cassius doesn’t have any of those traits. Cynicism – certainly. Cowardice – possibly. Prepared to live a lie in order to further his own ends – absolutely! Rome AD 9 Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome’s imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career – none of Rome’s fashionable parties are complete without him – except, he hides a secret. After his nerve is broken in Germany, the thought of genuine armed combat is enough to send him into a cold sweat of fear and shame. But this doesn’t dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a life of casual affairs, wine, and parties, as he is seduced by the many vices of Rome. However his scandalous life is soon …

Apologies if I drive you all crazy tomorrow…

Ok, I better apologise in advance, because tomorrow I think I might drive everyone mad telling them about my book which comes out tomorrow!! It’s so exciting having my novel go live, so grant me this day of  blatant self-promotion! My blog will return to normal soon, where we can discuss other novels in the Historical or Fantasy genre…but tomorrow is MY DAY! Roman Mask: A fast paced action packed novel that begins in Rome AD 9, but leads to the events that will resound down in history, in the dark forests of the Teutoburg…. It’s been a long journey getting to this point, so it is wonderful to finally see it all come together.  I have loved the Historical-novel genre my entire life, so I am delighted to finally be able to contribute something to it.  It truly is a lifetime’s ambition just to get to this point, regardless of anything else that might come of this in the future. I plan to be doing lots of promotional work over the summer for Roman Mask, and …

So you want to write a novel? Historical or fantasy, the PROs and CONs

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I think both the historical and fantasy novel have more in common than separates them.  Both appeal to readers who want to escape the modern world with all its safe structured uniformity, and be transported to another time or place where the actions the characters can make a difference and life can be exciting and have real meaning.  However there are obvious differences, and when I decided to write a novel I had to decide which way I wanted to go – historical or fantasy.  In both cases I chose historical, but don’t let that make you think it is my preference, as I genuinely love both genres (I WILL write a fantasy novel at some stage). This week I will go through the PROs and CONs of the Historical Novel, and I will follow this up next week with the PROs and CONs of the fantasy equivalent. Pro: Researching a subject to base your novel around can actually be fun.  If you’re like me, and you love history, …

Ten types of evil henchmen!

The Assassin.  This silent killer is cold and dispassionate.  Prefers to stand in the shadows until called upon by their master to despatch an unfortunate victim.  The first time you see their face may also be the last thing you ever see. The bodyguard.  Forever trailing their master, whose personal safety is their only concern.  Their loyalty is unquestionable and so they can be relied upon to partake in any evil deed their master demands. The street tough.  Handy with their fists and unafraid of any brawl, they are often found in the seediest of bars.  Not renowned for their intelligence, they are still a useful resource if hired muscle is all you need to put some pressure on a competitor or rival. The Torturer.  Sometimes information is more valuable than gold.  If you need to extract anything from a victim before bumping them off, a reliable torturer is essential.  No other henchmen can instil as much fear as someone who specialises in giving pain.  The best torturers will also be adapt at keeping a victim …

Roman Mask Sunday Update

Okay! Almost there now!  The map is now done- Hooray! I wasn’t sure at first whether I wanted a map for my novel or not, after all we’re all familiar with the general geography of Europe.  However, the names of the countries have obviously changed and I decided I needed to at least display the locations portrayed in the narrative of the book.  It is not an all-encompassing version of the Roman world, I could have gone into a lot more detail, but I thought that might make it difficult to locate the important destinations discussed in the novel. I thought long and hard about whether to add the mountains or not – the map is just a reference point for the reader, so was this necessary?  I decided that as one section of the Alps plays a not-insignificant role in the novel, I had better put them in.  However, I thought drawing small little trees to represent the Teutoburg forest was a step too far, and instead just marked it on the map. There …