Friday, 6 March 2015

Guest Post - Five Inspiring Historical Locations by David Churchill


What They Say:

The Leopards of Normandy trilogy tells the story of William the Conqueror
in all its wild, intoxicating, unfailingly dramatic glory.

‘A brutal depiction of raw power and earthy sex … cleverly adds layers of blood and flesh to our rather skeletal knowledge of the people whose invasion of England … changed our island for ever’ - Rory Clements

The fate of England hangs in the balance of a fight between brothers

The noble families of Europe are tearing themselves apart in their lust for power and wealth.

Emma, Queen of England, is in agony over the succession to her husband Canute’s throne ...   while her brother, the Duke of Normandy’s sons battle in the wake of his death.

Robert, the younger son, has been cheated of Normandy’s mightiest castle and sets out to take it by force. He emerges from a bloody siege victorious and in love with a beautiful - and pregnant - peasant girl.

Robert’s child will be mocked as William the bastard. But we have another name for him...
... Conqueror.

The first instalment in the Leopards of Normandy trilogy paints a world seething with rivalry and intrigue, where assassins are never short of work.

Five Inspiring Historical Locations

I’ve written two books as David Thomas – Blood Relative and Ostland - that are set, at least in part in wartime Berlin and postwar East Berlin. I don’t know whether its my lifelong fascination with World War II, or my teenage infatuation with that celebrated Berlin resident David Bowie, the city fascinates me. Its really the nexus of 20th century European history and whereas London, say, is filled with monuments to British victories, Berlin is a city filled with powerful, even beautiful memorials to events and phenomena no one wants to remember, but that cannot be forgotten: book-burnings, the Stasi, the Reichstag fire and, of course, the Holocaust.

The Roman Walls of Chichester:
I have an office in Chichester, West Sussex. It’s a delightful place, filled with lovely old buildings, including, of course, a glorious 12th century cathedral, whose spire can be seen for miles around. Best of all are the walls that encircle the city. I often go for a walk around them and that doesn’t just give me some much-needed exercise, but it really makes me feel the presence of history as a real, living thing.

Because … oh, come on, does anyone need to be told?

I’ve only visited Kyoto, the ancient imperial capital of Japan once, but I still have a very powerful memory of the way that perfectly preserved historical buildings and gardens stood cheek by jowl with all the noisy, manic energy of modern Japan: here an old temple, there a pachinko parlour. I’ve had an idea for a historical novel sent in early 18th century Japan waiting on my creative runway for ages. One of these days I’ll get it written!

This is on my to-do list of places to visit. It’s arguably an even more historically rich and culturally diverse city than Rome: home to two great religions and two mighty empires, with layer-upon-layer of history from the Roman sewers on up. It’s actually mentioned in passing in Devil. But I can’t help feeling that there’s more to come.

Praise for the author

‘Audacious, authentic, full of tension and tradecraft ... I loved it’ - Lee Child on Tom Cain’s The Accident Man

‘The most audacious and timely thriller for years’ - Daily Mirror on The Accident Man

‘With subtlety and intelligence, Thomas joins the historical dots to produce a novel with plenty to say - eloquently - about the brutalising effects of the Holocaust’ - Guardian on Ostland by David Thomas

‘This nightmare-inducing new novel stretches crime fiction to its limits ... a compelling read’ - Mail on Sunday on Ostland

About The Author:

David Churchill is the pseudonym of award-winning journalist and acclaimed novelist David Thomas, who also writes as Tom Cain. He has investigated financial scandals on Wall St, studio intrigues in Hollywood and corrupt sports stars in Britain and he has lived in Moscow, Washington D.C. and Havana. David has edited four magazines, published seventeen books and been translated into twenty languages.

The Leopards of Normandy reflects his lifelong passion for history.

Published in hardback and eBook on 26th February 2015 priced £14.99

Introduction to the Leopards of Normandy Trilogy by the author

This series will be the result of a personal passion that began with an episode of Simon Schama’s A History of Britain in which he vividly described the bloated body of William the Conqueror, lying at the priory of St Gervais in Rouen, deserted by his family and allies, stripped of anything valuable. This image of the mighty Conqueror brought low struck me very powerfully. I realised that while I had known his name since I was a child, I knew virtually nothing about his life, beyond the Battle of Hastings and the Domesday Book.

Throughout his boyhood and early teens, William, Duke of Normandy was the centre of a deadly power struggle between barons ambitious for control of the duchy. Several of his guardians were killed in calculated, cold-blooded assassinations: one died before William’s own, terrified eyes.

The young man who emerged from this traumatic upbringing to seize control of his duchy and then invade England was tough, self-reliant, prickly and untrusting. As a military leader he was courageous, a great warrior in his own right and a decisive commander. But his ruthless will to win could also lead him into acts of brutality shocking even by the standards of his harsh age. Yet he displayed great loyalty to the few people he really trusted, and both the story of how he fought to win and then marry his wife, and the strength of their relationship over the following thirty-five years proved that he was capable of loving someone deeply, too.

William’s world was as fascinating as his life. He was the heir to a dukedom given by a terrified French king to a rampant Viking raider. His forefathers had to struggle to hold their land and expand its boundaries. William was known as ‘The Bastard’ because of his illegitimacy, but he was by no means alone in that: most of the dukes of Normandy were born to concubines who were either the spoils of war, or simply seized by powerful men who took what they wanted without question.

A web of blood and marital ties linked the royal and noble houses of Normandy, France, England and Denmark. So this is just as much a story about families and relationships as it is about kings and battles. And the women in William’s life were far, far more than helpless damsels in distress.

William the Conqueror was one of the key figures of western history. His world was filled with powerful, complex men and women.

Find David online at

Amazing 5 star reviews already on Amazon:
“Bold, brash and brutal ... I LOVE it!!!”
“How long until Book 2?”
“Start of an all-conquering trilogy”
“I enjoyed it immensely”

“Well written, fascinating and very readable”

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