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. This month we are featuring authors shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Crowns.
NB: you can’t actually see Tower Bridge from the pub, but Hammersmith Bridge is pretty too.
Tuesday 17 October 2017
Featuring Abir Mukherjee, Rachel Rhys and Alex von Tunzelmann
Chaired by Imogen Robertson.
Abir Mukherjee grew up in the west of Scotland. At the age of fifteen, his best friend made him read Gorky Park and he’s been a fan of crime fiction ever since. The child of immigrants from India, A Rising Man, his debut novel, was inspired by a desire to learn more about a crucial period in Anglo-Indian history that seems to have been almost forgotten. It won the Harvill Secker/Daily Telegraph crime writing competition and became the first in a series starring Captain Sam Wyndham and ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee. Abir lives in London with his wife and two sons.
A Rising Man has been shortlisted for the HWA Debut Crown.
A Rising Man
‘An exceptional historical crime novel’ C.J. Sansom
‘A thought-provoking rollercoaster’ Ian Rankin
India, 1919. Desperate for a fresh start, Captain Sam Wyndham arrives to take up an important post in Calcutta’s police force.
He is soon called to the scene of a horrifying murder. The victim was a senior official, and a note in his mouth warns the British to leave India – or else.
With the stability of the Empire under threat, Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee must solve the case quickly. But there are some who will do anything to stop them…
Alex von Tunzelmann read Modern History at University College, Oxford, and now lives in London. She is the author of four books and writes drama for film and television. She writes the occasional column Reel History at The Guardian.
Blood and Sand: Suez, Hungary and the Crisis that Shook the World
Over sixteen extraordinary days in October and November 1956, the twin crises of Suez and Hungary pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear conflict and what many at the time were calling World War III. Blood & Sand is a revelatory new history of these dramatic events, for the first time setting both crises in the context of the global Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the treacherous power politics of imperialism and oil.
Blood & Sand tells this story hour by hour through a fascinating international cast of characters including Gamal Abdel Nasser, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Anthony Eden, Christian Pineau, Nikita Khrushchev, Imre Nagy and David Ben-Gurion. It is a tale of conspiracy and revolutions; spies and terrorists; kidnappings and assassination plots; the fall of the British Empire and rise of American hegemony.
Blood and Sand has been shortlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Crown. Listen to our interview with Alex here.
Rachel Rhys is the pen name of crime writer Tammy Cohen. She was born in Nigeria and attended school in both Sierra Leone and California as well as London. She spent twenty years as a freelance journalist, writing features for national magazines and newspapers, such as Marie Claire, The Times and The Telegraph, and then moving on to non fiction books before publishing her first novel The Mistress’s Revenge.
A Dangerous Crossing has been shortlisted for the HWA Endeavour Ink Gold Crown for Fiction.
A Dangerous Crossing
1939: Europe is on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd, a servant girl, boards an ocean liner for Australia. She is on her way to a new life, leaving behind the shadows in her past.
For a humble girl, the passage proves magical – a band, cocktails, fancy dress balls. A time when she is beholden to no one. The exotic locations along the way – Naples, Cairo, Ceylon – allow her to see places she’d only ever dreamed of, and to make friends with people higher up the social scale who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man who she couldn’t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings.
But Lily soon realises that her new-found friends are also escaping secrets in their past. As the ship’s glamour fades, the stage is set for something awful to happen. By the time the ship docks, two of Lily’s fellow passengers are dead, war has been declared and Lily’s life will be irrevocably changed.
Imogen Robertson – Chair and your host for the evening
Imogen Robertson is Chair of the Historical Writers’ Association. Her series of historical crime novels set in the 18th century have been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Novel Award twice, as has her mystery set in the Belle Époque, The Paris Winter, which was also a book of the week in People Magazine.
Alex © Andrew Whitehurst