The Swords Of Albion Redux

When you write a series of fantasies about swashbuckling Elizabethan spies, you don’t expect them to take on a contemporary relevance.  But here we are.

Elizabeth is on the throne.  A technology boom is underway.  We have a flowering of the arts and a rapidly growing capital city.

There’s talk of buccaneering trade deals.

And now…war with Spain?

It’s the sixteenth century all over again.

As yet no supernatural enemies besieging Britain, and I’m still looking for our Christopher Marlowe, who appears in book two.  See for yourself how little has changed in four hundred and fifty years.  You can sample the books here:

The Sword of Albion

The Scar-Crow Men

The Devil’s Looking Glass

Faerie, Elizabethan Spies And Reviews

Two new reviews for the Sword of Albion books that I’ve just been sent:

First, The Scar-Crow Men:

“the plot just kept me turning, page after page…”

ScarCrow Cover

And The Devil’s Looking Glass:

“a cracking series…a great blend of history, action and supernatural elements and I think the attention to detail is pretty marvellous.”


Who Is Watching You?

Think the scheming and deception of the spies at the court of Queen Elizabeth I in The Scar-Crow Men is some historical novelty? Much of what I write about in the Swords of Albion books is relevant today. In fact, that’s why I write it…

A two-year Washington Post investigation has revealed the true extent of the top secret world created by the US Government over the past few years.

* one and a half times the population of Washington DC now have top-secret security clearances.
*In the last ten years, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence have been, or are being, constructed in the Washington DC area alone covering 17 million square feet or the equivalent of three pentagons.
* Fifty thousand intelligence reports are published every year, so many that a good number are ignored by time-pressed chiefs.

This hidden world has become so pervasive, so secretive and so unwieldy that “no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”

Eight Unbroken Codes

Anyone who’s read The Scar-Crow Men knows that codes play an important part in the story, as they did for real spies in the sixteenth century…and today.

New Scientist has a great article this week on eight codes that still remain unbroken, from the famous Voynich Manuscript to the CIA’s Kryptos monument to one of the final messages from the Zodiac serial killer.

Worth a read. You’ll have to sign up, for free, but you only get a window of a couple of days to check it out.

Book Launch – All Invited

I’ll be launching The Scar-Crow Men at Waterstone’s in Nottingham on June 2. It’s the first time I’ve done a launch since Nocturne way, way back (my second novel), but that was a private party for friends and publishers at the old Murder One bookshop in Charing Cross Road in London.

This is a public event. I’ll be talking about the novel, about fantasy, history, philosophy, magic, writing – hell, anything which comes to mind, probably – and I’ll be doing a short reading too, and signing as well.

The venue: Waterstone’s, 1/5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GR.
Time: 7pm
Tickets are £3. No idea what the limit is, but it’ll be on a first come, first served basis. You can get them in-store in advance, or call the store on 0845 034 9516.

This may well be the only official signing for The Scar-Crow Men so get in soon if you want me to scribble all over your pristine copy. Happy to sign any other stuff you’ve got too.

The Scar-Crow Men – Out Today

The Scar-Crow Men is published in the UK today.

Elizabethan spy Will Swyfte investigating the murder of his friend, the playwright Christopher Marlowe, and discovering a supernatural threat: revenge, love, loss and high adventure.

You can find a new review of it here, from Falcata Times.

And you can find a new interview with me here, talking about the creative process, and a lot of other semi-incoherent ramblings.

The Scar-Crow Men Review

“If you are a fan of Elizabethan England, the Fair Folk, Christopher Marlowe, spy novels, dark fantasy, swordplay, daring heroics, adventure serials, or any combination of the above, I highly recommend both novels in this ravishingly exciting, heartpoundingly intense, and extremely intelligent series–one which will stimulate your brain as well as your heart.”

By Robert William Berg.

Order with confidence.