I’ve been to fewer booklaunches than I have eyeballs and so there was real cause for celebration at last night’s splendid party at Goldsboro Books in London. Not just one fine novel was launched but two – Anthony Riches’ The Leopard Sword (a fourth adventure for Roman centurion Marcus, this time in Germania) and Giles Kristian’s The Bleeding Land (the beginning of a new series set in an England divided by Civil War). Having read both books and loved them, it was wonderful to be able to share that with their authors themselves, while also having a rare chance to chat informally over a glass of wine and cheese on a stick with even more writers, many of whose books I had brought with me to have signed at great risk to my dodgy back.
The event began at 6.30pm in the fantastic treasure cave of Goldsboro Books, its walls lined with signed first editions. Despite a guard of Roman soldiers and (slightly more relaxed and rather thirsty) Cavaliers, we were able to make it inside for the author chat and nibbles stabbed with flags bearing the covers of both books. Fortunately, the drought stopped raining for the first time in days and so the atmosphere was able to spread into the street outside.
In addition to Giles Kristian and Anthony Riches, I was delighted to be able to talk with Angus Donald whose Outlaw trilogy about Alan Dale and Robin Hood has transformed my appreciation of the Middle Ages in novel form. Likewise, I was chuffed to meet Manda (MC) Scott, whose work I have admired for years (review of Rome: The Emperor’s Spy and Rome: The Coming of the King). I have recently completed Manda’s latest book The Eagle of the Twelfth’ and will post a review nearer to its publication date in May. Also there and very generous with their time and penstrokes were Ben Kane, the author of Spartacus and Hannibal, Conn Iggulden, Robyn Young, my good friend SJA Turney (Marius Mules I and Marius Mules II) and the future writing star Henry Venmore-Rowland (whose debut novel The Last Caesar I am enjoying at the moment). I was, however, very sorry to miss Mike Arnold.Parmenion Books’ fantastic account of the Book Launch is here.
Huge thanks are due to the lovely Elizabeth Swain for organising such a wonderful, friendly, book-loving, history-hugging event! Thank you so much for all you do. The whole evening was a fantastic celebration of historical fiction which clearly is as vibrant, exciting and popular as ever, for which we must thank these incredible writers who put pen to paper day after day and fill our shelves.