History, mystery and derring-do - a reading selection

“A cracking tale” – an expression I often use. Stories that make your pulse hammer, your gut grip and your breath catch. You are chasing renegades, fighting in the Peninsula, sailing on the high seas, plotting new conquests, spying for your country, in the arena sword in hand, escaping to a new colony, engulfed in a mystery, falling in love, moving stealthily or boldly, trying to make sense of what’s happening but above all, surviving. Sometimes it’s a slowburn, a thoughtful process, but nonetheless gripping, others instantly burst into the action. Over to you to read from our selection and decide…

Ripples-in-the-Sand-finalSW1. Ripples in the Sand by Helen Hollick
The past is influencing the present, the ripples in time spreading like the ripples in the sand; why is Tethys, the spirit of the sea, so obsessed with possessing Captain Jesamiah Acorne’s soul – and how can white witch, Tiola Oldstagh, prevent her getting it?

Helen’s first historical fiction novels were published over twenty years ago, then in October 2005 she ‘met’ Captain Jesamiah Acorne, the central character in her nautical adventure series, the Sea Witch Voyages. And she’s had a lot of fun writing about him ever since! Ripples in the Sand is the fourth voyage of Captain Jesamiah Acorne, pirate captain and charming rogue.

Read more about Helen and the series at Helen’s website
Buy the book at Amazon UK

Devil's Assassin

2. The Devil’s Assassin by Paul Fraser Collard
As the British march to war, Jack Lark learns that secrets crucial to the campaign’s success are leaking into their enemies’ hands. But who is the traitor? The bold hero of The Scarlet Thief and The Maharajah’s General, returns in an exhilarating and dangerous new adventure.

Paul’s love of military history started at an early age. A childhood spent watching films like Waterloo and Zulu whilst reading Sharpe, Flashman and the occasional Commando comic, gave him a desire to know more of the men who fought in the great wars of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Read more about Paul and the series
Visit Amazon’s Paul Fraser Collard’s page to buy the book

3. Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn
Hi res LEC coverA deadly dance in the reign of the enigmatic Emperor Hadrian; Antinous, his beautiful Greek lover, battered warrior Vix, his bodyguard, who would very much like to see him dead, and Sabina, his clever wife who must keep them all safe from unseen enemies. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . . 

Kate writes page-turning yarns set in ancient Rome (Empress of Rome series) and Renaissance Italy (The Borgias): well-researched history made gloriously fun with plenty of action, humor, romance, and derring-do.

Read Kate’s blog on her website
Buy the book at Amazon US

4. Imperatrix by Russell Whitfield
imperatrix_bigA first tiny step into historical fantasy wherein Lysandra is called upon to help shore up a Roman frontier (Dacia) in the face of barbarian revolt. And now it seems that Lysandra’s destiny also lies to the east, and the prospect of a final and bloody reckoning with an old and hated adversary. 

Russ is a writer of historical fiction set in 1st century Rome. His novels thus far concern a Spartan priestess named Lysandra who is (unfortunately for her) enslaved and forced to fight in the gladiatorial arena. From modest beginnings, Lysandra rises to the top and has to deal with fame, fortune and personal crises along the way (whilst killing lots of people in the process).

Find out more at Russ’s website
Buy the book at Amazon UK

5. Omphalos by Mark Patten
Omphalos cover2013: Al Cohen, an American in search of his European heritage 
1944-1946: Friedrich Werner, an officer of the Wehrmacht and later a prisoner of war 
1799: Suzanne de Beaubigny, a royalist refugee from revolutionary France 
1517: Richard Mabon, a Catholic priest on pilgrimage to Jerusalem with his secretary, Nicholas Ahier
1160: Raoul de Paisnel, a knight with a dark secret walking through Spain with his steward, Guillaume Bisson 
4000 BC: Egrasté, a sorceress, and Txeru, a man on an epic voyage 
Six thousand years of human history,  intersecting at a single place.

Mark Patton is an author of fully immersive, scrupulously researched historical fiction.

Read more at Mark’s blog
Buy the book Amazon (universal link)

BloodieBonesCover6. Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery by Lucienne Boyce
The first in a planned series, Bloodie Bones pitches Bow Street Runner and amateur pugilist Dan Foster into the middle of the violent conflict over land enclosures in the eighteenth century when he goes undercover to find a gamekeeper’s killer.

Lucienne Boyce’s first historical novel To The Fair Land is an 18th century thriller about the search for a missing author, a map of a land that should not exist, and a vicious killer. She also writes non-fiction and in 2013 published The Bristol Suffragettes, a history of the local suffragette campaign.

Find out more about the Dan Foster Mysteries, preview Bloodie Bones, and buy a copy in paperback or ebook format from various retailers following the links at http://www.lucienneboyce.com/dan-foster-bsr/

7. The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau
the tapestryWhitehall 1540. After her Dominican priory is closed, Joanna Stafford resolves to live a quiet and honourable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. But  she is summoned to Whitehall Palace – her tapestry skill has drawn the King’s attention. Surrounded by danger, Joanna must finally choose what life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier.

Nancy Bilyeau, a magazine editor who has worked for ‘Good Housekeeping’ and ‘InStyle,’ has written a trilogy of historical mysteries set in the reign of King Henry VIII. Her 2015 novel, ‘The Tapestry,’ features a Dominican novice who is ensnared in the deadly intrigues of the Tudor court.

Read more on Nancy’s website
Buy The Tapestry from any of these retailers

Napoleon_in_America_cover_lowres8. Napoleon in America by Shannon Selin
What might have happened if Napoleon Bonaparte had escaped from exile on St. Helena and wound up in the United States in 1821? Opponents of the Bourbon regime expect him to reconquer France. French Canadians beg him to seize Canada from Britain. American adventurers urge him to steal Texas from Mexico. His brother Joseph pleads with him to settle peacefully in New Jersey…

Shannon Selin loves to immerse readers in the 19th century. Using actual historical characters, she weaves a rich and convincing tapestry of historical fact and possibility, with seamless transitions from the real to the imagined.

Find out more at Shannon’s website.
Buy Napoleon in America at Amazon.com.

9. Suffer the Little Children by Ann Swinfen
Suffer the Little Children Cover MEDIUM WEBIn this fifth Christoval Alvarez novel, set in Elizabethan London, no child is safe; children are misused and exploited by parents, masters, strangers, and society at large, even the children of the rich. When a five-year-old heiress to great estates is kidnapped, Christoval Alvarez, the players of James Burbage’s company, and a disreputable group of child beggars all become involved in the search.

Previously traditionally published, Ann has now gone independent as an historical novelist, with two standalone novels published and two series: The Fenland Series, set in 17th century East Anglia, and The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez, set in the late 16th century and featuring the young Marrano physician and code-breaker, Christoval (Kit) Alvarez, who is drawn into more and more missions as an agent in Sir Francis Walsingham’s secret service.

Read more at Ann’s website
Buy the Christoval Alvarez books at Amazon

Falling Star10. To Catch a Falling Star by Anna Belfrage
Matthew Graham returns to Scotland after decades abroad. Homecoming is not an easy matter – especially not when revolution is brewing and sons end up on opposite sides.

Anna Belfrage is the author of The Graham Saga, a best-selling blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy which features time traveller Alex Lind and her 17th century husband, Matthew Graham. Further to this, she actively contributes to various blogs – mostly with historical content – and is hard at work with her next series, this time set in 14th century England.

Read more about Anna on her blog
Buy To Catch a Falling Star

11. Britannia’s Shark by Antoine Vanner
Shark Cover Front1881. A daring act of piracy drags ambitious British naval officer, Nicholas Dawlish and his wife Florence into a nightmare of revolution, savage tyranny and political manipulation, made worse by a weakness Dawlish never suspected he had. Amid the wealth and squalor of America’s Gilded Age, and on a fever-ridden island, Nicholas and Florence Dawlish must make very strange alliances if they are to survive – and prevail. 

Antoine Vanner is breaking the mould of naval fiction by getting away from the Napoleonic Age of Sail to the Victorian Era of Steam and Iron. His novels are closely linked to real-life events and personalities and to the technological breakthroughs of the time. This third novel, “Britannia’s Shark” deals with early submarine development and plays out in locales as varied as the Adriatic, the United States and Cuba in the 1880s.

Read the Dawlish Chronicles blog
Buy Britannia’s Shark:  http://amzn.to/1WREZVM

12. AURELIA  by Alison MortonAURELIA_cover_v.sm
Late 1960s. Sent to Berlin to investigate silver smuggling, former Praetorian Aurelia Mitela barely escapes a near-lethal trap. Her old enemy is at the heart of all her troubles and she pursues him back home to Roma Nova but he has struck at her most vulnerable point – her young daughter.

Fascinated by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation since childhood, she wondered what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women. The result is the series of award-winning Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough Praetorian heroines.

You are here already on my blogsite 😉
Buy the book at any of these retailers 

If you enjoyed these fab books, do please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Nobel, etc. Authors are always grateful!
Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. The fourth book, AURELIA, is now out.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

The Historical Novel Society and Facebook

Princesse de Clèves“Historical” and “Facebook” might sound like a conundrum, but they are intimately linked. Facebook launched its site in February 4, 2004. Historical novels have been going on for a little longer.

La Princesse de Clèves, published anonymously in March 1678 is considered the beginning of the modern tradition of the psychological novel in Europe, and as a great classic work; its author is thought to be Madame de La Fayette.

Jane Porter’s 1803 novel Thaddeus of Warsaw is one of the earliest examples of the historical novel in English and went through at least 84 editions.

Sir Walter Scott was the first fiction writer who saw history not just as a convenient frame in which to stage a contemporary narrative, but rather as a distinct social and cultural setting. Scott’s Scottish novels such as Waverley (1814) and Rob Roy (1817) explored the development of society through conflict. Ivanhoe (1820) was credited for the revival of interest in the Middle Ages.

HNS logoThe Historical Novel Society was founded in the UK in 1997 and has grown to be the best and most complete guide to the genre through its reviews of mainstream and independently published historical fiction (e.g.its review of AURELIA). It awards prizes for short and long historical fiction, and sponsors excellence. Anybody genuinely interested in historical fiction anywhere in the world can join: readers, writers, publishers, agents, journalists. The Society’s conferences are held in the UK, US and Australia and sell out quickly.

Historical in name, but modern in approach, the HNS boasts a a good presence on social media: a public Facebook page, an active Twitter account and a lively Facebook group where members and enthusiasts can discuss topics and exchange views on every aspect of historical fiction.

I’ve just taken over as chief admin on the Facebook group, so I’m hoping to make its presence known even more…

HNS16logoSTOP PRESS!
The next UK Historical Novel Society Conference will take place in Oxford,  2-4 September 2016.
You can sign up for updates at https://hnsoxford2016.org Just click through and enter your email address. You’ll receive an email when the site goes live, which will be some time during September. Exciting or what?

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. The fourth book, AURELIA, is now out.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

Why litfests are important

Signing books

Signing for a reader

I was delighted and flattered when I received an invitation to speak at the the Charroux LitFest here in deepest Poitou-Charentes in France. This is my home area, and being part of the inaugural year of a new litfest is thrilling. You see, I love conferences, book fairs, launches and literary festivals whether I’m a delegate, helper, speaker, panel member or chair, or interviewer/interviewee. I chaired a panel at the Historical Novel Society conference in Denver at the end of June and I still haven’t got over the buzz of the whole weekend.

Writers and readers come together for a number of days and can enthuse with like-minded souls without the usual guilt about possibly boring other people. We all love fiction; characters, plot, frocks, swords, families, crime, comedy, emotional grip, soul journeys, drama and world-building are there for the begging.

Sue Cook_Alison Morton_small

Interviewed by Sue Cook

Writers

– meet their readers
– meet other writers they’ve only known on-line or from reading their books
– find mentors, critique partners and beta readers
– have the opportunity to share what they’ve learnt and tell stories about the strange business of writing and publishing
– learn new techniques and craft skills both in the classroom and bar
– talk about and sell their books
– have fun!

Readers

Lindsey Davis

With Lindsey Davis at an HNS conference

– meet their favourite and/or new authors
– discuss every aspect of reading and their favourite books with other readers (and writers are keen readers, too!)
– discover what’s behind the books they love
– learn how a story gets from idea to finished book
– buy books and get them signed by the author
– find out about new forms of work they wouldn’t otherwise
– have fun!

Roma Nova booksSo I’m packing up my four Roma Nova Novels – INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO and AURELIA – plus The 500 Word Writing Buddy and yes, I’d like to sell and sign them all. Empty book boxes are so satisfying! But the buzz of contributing, talking books for three whole days, discovering new work is what I’m there for.
See you there!

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. The fourth book, AURELIA, is now out.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

AURELIA - Editor's Choice at the Historical Novel Society

AURELIA_cover_v.smHigh whoops as I discovered that AURELIA had been selected as an indie Editor’s Choice when this quarter’s Historical Novel Society’s reviews were released on 1 August.

HNS Eds_ChoiceTo be chosen for an HNS review is the first step; not every book gets past this stage. To receive a good review from this well-respected society is wonderful. To be be selected as an Editor’s Choice means a rush for the champagne bottle.

Here’s what they said:

Late 1960s Roma Nova, the last Roman colony that has survived into the 20th century Aurelia Mitela is alone – forced to give up her beloved career as a Praetorian officer. But her country needs her unique skills. Somebody is smuggling silver – Roma Nova’s lifeblood – on an industrial scale.

The Roma Nova series of excellent alternate history books is a pleasure to read as modern-day exciting thriller adventures, and in the scenario of what if Rome had survived and women ruled?

We are taken to the Roma Nova of the 1960s, to Aurelia Mitela’s story – the grandmother of our heroine in the previous books. She is a young woman experiencing devastating loss. Her career in the Praetorian Guard appears to be finished but she is sent to Berlin to find those responsible for stealing Roma Nova’s silver reserves. Prepare to enter a world of alternative history written so thoroughly believable it is hard to accept that the Roman Empire along with all its intrigues and politics did not survive into the twentieth century.

Alison Morton’s skill as a writer is superb; her heroines are feisty and full of kick-ass determination; the heroes are heroic, and the villains are the thoroughly nasty bad-guys they are meant to be. Add to that, the overall feel and presentation of the books shriek professionalism throughout – starting with the stunning cover design.

IMG_4645_smStrictly speaking the series does not quite slot into the HNS guideline of ‘Historical Fiction’ (novels are to be set fifty years in the past) but anyone interested in Roman History will enjoy the concept– and as this one is set in the sixties, it ticks all the boxes and deserves to be selected as Editor’s Choice.

https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/aurelia/

The bubbly is on ice…

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. The fourth book, AURELIA, is now out.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

Anna Reviews: PERFIDITAS by Alison Morton

Sometimes, somebody writes a review that knocks your socks off. Sometimes it’s about a book that YOU wrote. I submitted PERFIDITAS to ‘The Review‘ and offered a signed paperback as a giveaway which is the standard procedure. Read what happened…

Perfiditas - Front Cover_520x800Anna Reviews: Perfiditas by Alison Morton

Review by Anna Belfrage

See bottom of page for details on how to enter the draw for a signed paperback – Drawing on August Tuesday 4th 

To write alternative history carries some likeness to writing fantasy, in that the world creation is a fundamental part of the writing endeavour. In difference to fantasy, writers of alternative history have to tread a very fine line between the invented and the impossible, i.e. expectations are that the writer creates a society we, as readers firmly rooted in our reality, can conceive as being an alternative outcome had things been somewhat different.

Authors like Robert Harris do this with panache. Writers like Stephen Fry do it with ironic humour. And writers like Alison Morton just do it, a few deft brushstrokes, no more, and Roma Nova is a feasible little European country in a world where Adolf Hitler never happened and where the northern parts of the American continent remain divided between former English, French and Spanish dominions.

Roma Nova lies snuggled into the folds of the Alps. A last refuge for a group of Romans fleeing the devastation of the Germanic invasions, this is where Roman Senator Apulius and his family and followers settled, ready to make a last stand if needed. Our staunch Roman was married to a spirited Celtic woman who gave him four equally spirited daughters but no son. And so, through a combination of chance and expediency, Roma Nova developed into a matriarchial society, a country where the family heads always are female, but where traditions and concepts of duty towards the state remain rooted in Roman values.

So well does Ms. Morton paint this little country of hers that I find myself considering just how to travel there – by car? By train? Until I remember that I can’t go to Roma Nova – not outside the pages of Ms. Morton’s novels. Fortunately, she has so far written four and is intent on writing a couple more.

Now, as we all know, a setting does not a novel make. However intriguing Roma Nova is, however fascinating Ms. Morton’s descriptions are of Saturnalia celebrations, of funerals as per ancient Roman rites, it would be a thin soup indeed had Ms. Morton not also gifted us with Carina Mitela and her husband Conrad Mitelus.

Carina Mitela became a friend of mine in Inceptio, the first of the series. Tough when so required, careful with whom she allows to penetrate the shield of reserve with which she manages her life and her emotions, she is a woman who believes in herself, believes even more in right and wrong, and who is dedicated enough to doing her duty that she will risk her own life if so required.

Carina was not always Carina. Born in the E.U.S. (Eastern United States), she used to be Karen, a rather downtrodden and insecure Karen, until one day she was appraised of her family in Roma Nova and whisked back to her ancestral country by Conrad, her husband-to-be. When Perfiditas opens, Carina has lived in Roma Nova for seven years or so, successful in her military career, proud mother of three and happily married to Conrad.

Her husband is as dedicated, as tough, as she is. He is also somewhat damaged due to a harsh childhood, and his reluctance to talk about his experiences leave him far more vulnerable than he realises – or at least wants to accept. Instead of a touchy-feely approach to these sensitive memories, Conrad has recreated himself from a hurting, wounded boy to an efficient and self-sufficient military leader, capable of much warmth and affection towards those he loves – as long as there is no conflict between his private life and what he perceives as his duty to Roma Nova.

At times, these two people tear each other apart – and things are not exactly simplified by the fact that Conrad is Carina’s commanding officer. Sometimes, when Conrad makes a call he considers correct in his role as Praetorian Legate, he is at the same time figuratively back-handing his wife over the face – or so she feels. Are there consequences? Of course.

Ms. Morton does a great job of describing the tension caused by Conrad repeatedly setting duty before Carina. Yes, sometimes Carina breaks every rule in the book – for all the right reasons – so maybe he’s entitled to some irritation, but there are times when this reader wants to take the stupid man by the shoulders and shake him until his teeth rattle, so stiff and insensitive does he seem. Besides, Conrad has problems handling the fact that at times it’s Carina saving him from dire death rather than the other way around. Especially when she uses her underworld network to do so…especially when it is rather apparent Carina is not entirely unaffected by the leader of this network.

Which, just by chance, brings us to Apollodorus, the enigmatic man who has previously helped Carina out of a tight spot or two in a rather unorthodox manner. Apollodorus is a man of night and shadow, instinctively disliked by Conrad, discreetly admired by Carina – after all, she more or less owes the man her life. Cultivated, smooth and possessed of eyes as dark as pools of pitch, Apollodorus has only ever loved one woman – Carina. No wonder Conrad raises his hackles whenever Apollodorus is around.

It irritates Carina that Conrad will not extend the benefit of the doubt to Apollodorus. It makes Conrad see  that his wife does not steer clear of this dangerous, amoral man, a man as subtle as a stalking leopard, ruthless and efficient, unfailingly polite and always in control. Apollodorus is a puppet-master, and just how intricately he weaves his various threads is revealed in bits and pieces, causing Perfiditas to twist and turn like a trapped snake.

Other than the three protagonists, Ms. Morton has gifted us with a broad cast of characters it is easy to relate to, all the way from Carina’s impressive grandmother, the mater familias Aurelia, to former gladiatrix Mossia. With an economy of words, a few lines of description, no more, she brings her extensive cast to life, making each and every one of them distinctive.

The plot is skillfully constructed: in this case Roma Nova is threatened by a band of determined coup-makers who want nothing more than to return Roma Nova to its true Roman roots, i.e. relegate women back to a position of invisibility, reduced to being wives and mothers, subservient to men. As a modern woman, I find the matriarchal society portrayed by Ms. Morton quite fascinating – even more so because fundamentally Roma Nova is an egalitarian society – men and women are true equals in all aspects of life. The wannabe coup-makers don’t agree: they are sick of the rule of women and set out to throw off this terrible yoke of oppression.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and as Carina digs deeper into a plot that not only threatens her country but also her loved ones, she uncovers one layer after the other of rot. In defence of her own, Carina is formidable, holding herself together even during those periods when Conrad leaves her to do battle alone. But it costs her, and her vulnerability, her sensation of abandonment when Conrad retreats into professionalism rather than supporting her, his wife, is excellently depicted.

To an exciting plot and well-developed characters, must be added the casual if precise descriptions, bringing to life everything from the holding cells of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, to the streets and buildings of Roma Nova. In expressions, in off-hand depictions of traditions and rituals, Ms. Morton’s passion for things truly Roman shines through. Ms. Morton has done her research, and so heavy togas are discarded casually, studded sandals clip over tiled floors, young girls are proud of their new pallas, the atriums are adorned by the statues of the ancestors – all of this without ever becoming contrived.

Ms. Morton takes her readers for quite the ride in this book, and passages of introspection vie for space with fast-paced action scenes that have this reader holding her breath – or chewing her nails. While Ms. Morton writes strong and fluid prose, it is her dialogue that blows me away. Pitch-perfect, distinctive and vivid, it brings Carina and all the rest to vibrant life, offering insight into the various character’s thoughts without ever sacrificing rhythm and pace.

In conclusion, Perfiditas is a great read, a book that has you saying, “Hmm?” without raising your eyes from the page should anyone attempt to talk to you while immersed. Here and there, I spot a missing quotation mark, but such minor beauty spots are, in this case, more like freckles – distracting, but also cute.

Unfortunately for me, I have already read all Ms. Morton’s books. I crave another – soon! So, Ms. Morton, to paraphrase a famous Latin quote: Scribere necesse est, vivere non est necesse or in other words, please get on with it and write the next one!
Anna Belfrage

To enter our drawing for a FREE signed paperback copy of Perfiditas, simply comment below OR at this review’s Facebook thread, located here.

Original post: http://thereview2014.blogspot.fr/2015/07/anna-reviews-perfiditas-by-alison-morton.html

———

See what I mean? And do go and look at The Review – they have a Facebook page as well as the blog.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. The fourth book, AURELIA, is now out.

Find out Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways by signing up for her free monthly email newsletter.

Quebec - a hub of history

IMG_3428

Samuel de Champlain overlooking the St Lawrence River

I’m delighted to have visited Québec, a city at a pivotal geographic and historic place. I’m told it’s the oldest established city in North America. Well, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula in  1534, claiming the land in the name of King Francis I. But although French fishing fleets sailed to the Atlantic coast and into the St. Lawrence River, making alliances with native Americans, it wasn’t really until Samuel de Champlain’s expedition in 1603 that formal exploration started. In 1608, he founded a trading post by the Saint-Laurent river (the future  Québec City) with the intention of making the area part of the French colonial empire – “la Nouvelle France”.

IMG_3448

Rock (with green plaque) marking the spot where Montgomery fell

We’ve only dipped into the history briefly during our visit, walking the Plains of Abraham where British General Wolfe defeated the Marquis de Montcalm in 1759, and the fortifications and walls defended by General Carleton against the American expeditionary force in 1775 led by General Richard Montgomery and a certain General Benedict Arnold.

In 1812, Thomas Jefferson famously  wrote to William Duane in August 1812 “The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching; & will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, & the final expulsion of England from the American continent.

Well, that didn’t work.

Just from talking to history buffs (and normal people!) here in Canada, I gather the war  of 1812, which actually went on until 1814, is considered hugely significant in the nation’s history; the incursion from the south wasn’t welcome to the mixture of former American Loyalists, new settlers and many French Canadians.

I dug a little deeper and found “The War of 1812”, a  Canadian history site produced jointly by the Historica Dominion Institute, the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and Parks Canada.

‘Washington had expected the largely American population of Upper Canada to throw off the “British yoke” as soon as its army crossed the border. This did not happen. Lured northwards by free land and low taxes, the settlers wanted to be left alone. Thus the British and Loyalist elite were able to set Canadians on a different course from that of their former enemy. And the growing belief that they, the civilian soldiers, and not the First Nations and British regulars, had won the war – more mythic than real – helped to germinate the seeds of nationalism in the Canadas.

Canada owes its present shape to negotiations that grew out of the peace, while the war itself – or the myths created by the war – gave Canadians their first sense of community and laid the foundation for their future nationhood. To this extent the Canadians were the real winners of the War of 1812.’

Interesting how different people see the same event…

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. The fourth book, AURELIA, is now out.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines…

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