History by the River is a monthly panel event with a social buzz for lovers of books, history and good beer. It’s a chance to get together with fellow readers and authors to hear about the best new historical writing, then discuss it all over a drink afterwards.
BUT IN MAY WE ARE HISTORY IN CLERKENWELL
Yup, no river this month but all the beer and historical chat you could want, in the lovely Betsy Trotwood.
Pies, Princes and Rome at War – Don’t say we don’t bring you the fun.
7.30, Tuesday 15th May 2018.
The Betsy Trotwood
56 Farringdon Road
Melanie McGrath, Ben Kane & Saul David
Chaired by Imogen Robertson
Melanie McGrath is an Essex girl, cofounder of Killer Women, and an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction. As MJ McGrath she writes the acclaimed Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries, White Heat, The Boy in the Snow and The Boneseeker, twice longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and picked as Times and Financial Times thrillers of the year. As Melanie McGrath she wrote the critically acclaimed and bestselling family memoir Silvertown. As Mel McGrath she is the author of the psychological thriller Give Me The Child.
She has been a documentary TV producer for Channel Four and presenter of Trailblazers for The Discovery Channel. She has written for The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday and The Wall Street Journal and has taught creative writing at Arvon and at UEA, Roehampton, City Universities in the UK and the University of North Carolina. She won the John Llewellyn-Rhys-Mail on Sunday award for Best British writer under 35 for her first book, Motel Nirvana.
G Kelly’s Pie and Mash has been run by the same family in the Roman Road in Bow for nearly a hundred years; an East End institution and the still point of a turning world. Outside its windows the Roman Road has seen an extraordinary revolution – from women’s liberation and industrialisation to wars and immigration – and yet at its heart it remains one of the last traditional market roads of London.
Pie and Mash down the Roman Road is the biography of that shop and of the people – customers, suppliers, employees, owners – who passed through it, and continue to do so. Through vivid tales of ordinary lives the book tells the extraordinary story of the community living around the oldest trading route in Britain, and the true heart of the East End.
Kenya born, Irish by blood and UK resident, Ben Kane’s passion for history has seen him change career from veterinary medicine to writing, and taken him to more than 60 countries, and all 7 continents. During his travels and subsequent research, including walking hundreds of miles in complete Roman military gear, he has learned much about the Romans and the way they lived. Nine of his eleven novels have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, and his books are published in twelve languages; a million copies have sold worldwide. In 2016, his research was recognised by Bristol University with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Kane lives in Somerset with his wife and children, where he writes full time.
After sixteen years of bloody war, Hannibal Barca is on the verge of defeat. On the plains of Zama, Felix and his brother Antonius stand in the formidable Roman legions, ready to deliver the decisive blow. Victory will establish Rome as the pre-eminent power in the ancient world. Meanwhile, young senator Flamininus is set on becoming one of the Republic’s greatest military commanders with his eyes on the as-yet-unconquered Macedon and Greece.
But in the north of Greece, Philip V of Macedon has his own agenda. He is determined to restore his kingdom to its former glory but needs a strong army to help him do it. Young Demetrios dreams of fighting in the phalanx but is just a poor oarsman. Thirsty, hungry, burnt by the unforgiving Mediterranean sun, dreams are his only sustenance, until a chance encounter changes everything.
Flamininus will stop at nothing to bring Philip V to heel. The Roman wolf has tasted blood, and it wants more. But the sun of Macedon will not set without a final blaze of glory.
Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically-acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (shortlisted for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstone’s Military History Book of the Year) and Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe (2015).
Saul David also writes acclaimed historical fiction. Zulu Hart, the first in the George Hart series, was a bestseller in 2009, and Hart of Empire, was released in 2010, and the third is The Prince and the Whitechapel Murders.
An experienced broadcaster, Saul David has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.
London 1888: George ‘Zulu’ Hart is the mixed-race illegitimate son of a Dublin actress and (he suspects) the Duke of Cambridge, commander-in-chief of the army. George has fought his way through wars in Africa and Afghanistan, won the VC and married his sweetheart, but he’s also a gambler, short of money and in no position to turn down the job of ‘minder’ to Prince Albert Victor, second in line to the throne.
George is to befriend the charming young cavalry officer and keep him out of trouble – no easy task, given that the Prince is a known target for Irish nationalist assassins, while his secret sexual orientation leaves him open to blackmail and scandal.
To make matters worse, the Prince is also in the habit of heading out late at night to sample the dubious pleasures of the East End.
Both outsiders in their different ways, perhaps the two men have more in common than they know, but when a series of horrible murders begins in Whitechapel, on just the nights the Prince has been there, George is drawn into an investigation which forces him to confront the unthinkable…
A brilliant standalone adventure based on detailed research, this is a thrilling novel of suspense and a fascinating new twist on the Jack the Ripper story.
Imogen has written five novels in her Westerman & Crowther crime series, as well as the standalone The Paris Winter, set during the belle époque. She has also recently co-authored two novels with Wilbur Smith and is currently chair of the Historical Writers’ Association.