Calling Sturminster Newton

Calling Sturminster Newton!

Following on from the launch of The DORSET CHRONICLES fiction series this Friday, I will be giving a short – very short! – talk in the Sturminster Newton Library on Tuesday 16th April, next Tuesday, at 12.40pm.

The lunchtime talk is on the reasons and ideas leading up to the DORSET CHRONICLES, the must-read series for those who love the drama and history behind the emergence of our modern nation.

The late Seventeenth Century was a critical time for England and Dorset – religious strife was rampant, revolution was in the air. Indeed, it was attempted once in Dorset and then succeeded in Devon three years later.

It makes our present upsets over Brexit look timid in comparison!

It was a time when the rules were being written for our modern constitution and if you were rich and powerful, or just very determined, those rules could still be bent in your favour.

So, if you are tempted by a dose of history and a dose of fiction rolled into one revelatory set of stories about our past, then make sure you head to the Sturminster Newton Library for 12.40 on Tuesday 16th April.

Copies of both book one, A New Lease on Freedom, and book two, It Takes a Rogue, will be available for purchase and signing on the day. Book three will follow this summer.

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The Story Continues and Makes Brexit Seem like a Walk in the Park

The Dorset Chronicles is a new series set in Dorset but ranging across the whole country and into the world at large at a critical time in the development of the modern nation. The late Seventeenth century witnessed a huge amount of political and constitutional development, something it is interesting to reflect on as we go through the current constitutional upheaval surrounding Brexit and attempts to honour the referendum result. Three centuries ago, they undoubtedly had it an awful lot worse!


Brexit is a pale shadow of what they endured. And we can see, three hundred years later, what their upheaval led to but, of course, they could not predict the future and, consequently, lived with enormous uncertainty.


It led to a period of enormous growth as a nation but also intense conflict. That conflict is seen in rebellion, war and invasion. It is also seen in religious strife, a rapid divergence of income and wealth and huge change in every aspect of life.


Those that could cope with change, thrived. Those that could not, declined. And in the 1680s and 1690s, there was little or no provision for those that struggled to look after themselves.


Other than individual kindness and humanity which was, surprisingly, present in abundance.


The series started with A New Lease on Freedom but continues with the second book, It Takes a Rogue.


A New Lease on Freedom is a story set against a backdrop of the disastrous coup attempt by the Duke of Monmouth who mixed vanity with delusion to produce a lethal mixture for himself. It is a story about individual freedom in troubled times; how that freedom is affected by personal ambition, revenge and fear. But there are outcrops of love and friendship in this otherwise bleak environment.


Things could not be more different in It Takes a Rogue. Three years have passed and now the Prince of Orange is contemplating a similar invasion. But there is a hard reality to William of Orange, while James II, the incumbent, has wasted three years defying reality, living in a bubble.


And now the time of reckoning is upon him.


The premise of It Takes a Rogue is that it takes a rogue to know a rogue. There are sinister motivations and acts surrounding the central characters; indeed, some of the people the reader associates with are scoundrels of the first degree.


There are counter-balancing forces as William of Orange tries for the throne. These include love and friendship but also the concept of redemption.


And redemption betrayed.


Both books are out on Friday 12th April. It is a strange coincident that this is also, currently, the day we leave the EU.

And head off to adventures new where the destinations are unknown.


But the stories continue. One Good Turn is well underway and should be ready for release in the summer. This continues the combination of personal struggle with huge national conflict that made England what it is.


Over three hundred years ago.

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