Dear readers, I thought I would update you all on a few of my new releases for the coming 12-18 months and perhaps put some ‘feelers’ out for anything people might like. I’ve got a book or planned book or half-started / half-finished book covering almost everything! The truth is, if I wrote everything just in my current plan, I’d be 150 by the time I finished it all, so any special requests, or new mysteries to debunk, just let me know!
Anyway I thought it would be nice to update you all on what is coming up for this year and next and how we have been so far. Firstly I have to say it has been a fun and unexpected year so far, starting with a meeting with the UK’s top battlefield archaeologist to discuss my (at the time) new book on Hannibal (which went incredibly well) then a trip to the Western Front and a bit of battlefield guiding over Passchendael where I had family fight – how anyone survived is beyond me. Great Uncle Bill fought in three battles there and came home in 1918 unscathed – then a tour over the battlefield of Barnet and a bit of help in digging up the proposed ‘new site’ of the battle a mile down the road, not to mention being privileged enough to work with one of my favourite military fiction authors checking through his historical data and even proposing some great new ideas for his seventh novel – which he is using (I’m so proud!) and then…then the ‘big one’.
As we know, it’s been a long while coming. That famous sobriquet; “The most famous military author without a book” – thanks guys – is coming to an end. Too many years of writing for other people, doing articles, contributing, chipping-in, promoting other authors, often doing the donkey-work and always writing for myself on the side for that ‘one day’ opportunity. Still it’s amazing that my heroes; the names on the spines of over 3,000 books in my collection, are all good friends now. That’s pretty special. We’re a tight community, us war-geeks! We’re a bit of a family in that sense. But due to all of the ribbing from my compadres I’m happy to say we’re about there.
As you doubtless know, this new book (soon to be released in time for Christmas in all good bookstores courtesy of the excellent team at Navy Books!) is “The First Casualty” – The untold story of the Falklands War. A story of heroism, of friendship, of a battle against the odds and a modern ‘Rorke’s Drift’ or ‘Alamo’ which has been conveniently covered up for three and a half decades, now told in ‘first-person’ style by the men – of both sides – who fought there. I have to say it’s excellent. I love every page and I know the guys in it. Again on both sides, and it is being translated and released in Argentine hopefully for late March. This is really going to change so much of what we know and what we accept as the truth about war. Truly a humbling experience!
So what’s next? – Next we are going right back in time, from the Falklands War to Caesar. Due to be released in time for 15th March on the 2,061st anniversary of his death, this is the first book to cover all of Caesar’s battles and campaigns – full of battle maps – all drawn from Caesar’s own unique point of view. It is the story not just of Caesar himself, but of his very own history as the first commanding general to write and record his memoirs on campaign. What follows is the most in-depth look at the man and his career ever produced, as we understand both the man – and the legend that history has made of him. This one will be easy to write…it was written last year. The maps are good too. It is going to be a cornerstone of any serious military history collection.
After that – Hannibal – yes we’re going back even further to a real ‘pet-project’ which began about three years ago. A quest to find Hannibal’s lost battlefield – and I did. This story takes us from the very dawn of military history to the birth of Carthage, the world’s first true global superpower, through her wars with Rome in the First Punic War and on to a war, a campaign and a battle, lost to history, by the man who would become Rome’s worst nightmare. This truly is ‘making history’ and won great applause from the real experts of battlefield archaeology in the UK. To complete the story of the world’s greatest battlefield commander – Hannibal. Release date is scheduled for summer 2017 – it is about 60% complete but is going in all the right directions. Keep ’em peeled, this is really the stuff that history is made of.
To end the year we are going back to WW2 and indeed a little bit before with a previously unpublished war memoir which I have been asked to work with. This is an amazing story of a Royal Navy officer – himself a great military history fanatic – who tours the world showing us the last day of the British Empire, talking us through ancient battles and meeting some of the most colourful, deadly and sometimes unscrupulous characters in history along the way. His style is excellent, his stories fantastic and his description of Naval life, of great ships long gone to include the famous Hood and Barham as well as so many others will delight and inform anyone. This memoir was unputdownable and my own additions are mainly in the notes and appendices as well as pictures and maps which will help the reader on their journey with him and some of the most amazing characters from the last day when Britannia really did rule the waves.
Now…that should do me for 2017 but who knows? I’ve got a new ‘pet-project’ brewing which is actually relatively quick and thoroughly charming and something I really want to write. If I can get it out for the end of 2017 then it will be amazing. I know, those who follow me want the seven-volume history of Napoleon. Well these things take time. It’s basically done in text but the maps, the proof-reading, the checking, some new sources…well it comes when it comes. Consider this the ‘Magnum Opus’. They are all pretty much done. I’d say four are perfect. But at 400-500 pages apiece they are a bit big. We are getting there!
And 2018? – A long holiday probably but in truth, by then I can take my pick. My ‘back catalogue’ of books is extensive. Too much for me to ever manage to write. So it comes down to what is good, what is most important and what will change our understanding of our history for the best. To put it another way, if I’m on schedule and on track, I might even be able to pick and choose a bit. It’s a lovely thought.
Stay tuned…the band is just warming up!