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About Helen Hollick
I am Helen Hollick, I moved from London in January 2013 (in the snow!) to live on a thirteen acre 18th Century farm in Devon, England, with my husband, adult daughter and son-in-law - and a few friendly ghosts.
I write historical fiction, getting to the nuts and bolts of the 'what might have really happened' story of King Arthur in my PENDRAGON'S BANNER Trilogy. There is no magic or fantasy. No Merlin, no Lancelot, knights in armour, round table or holy grail - just the story of a warlord who has to fight hard for his kingdom and even harder to keep it.
Book One - The KINGMAKING
Book Two - PENDRAGON'S BANNER
Book Three - SHADOW OF THE KING
'Helen Hollick has it all! She tells a great story, gets her history right and writes consistently readable books!' (Bernard Cornwell)
My Lost Kingdom Saxon Series - HAROLD THE KING (I AM THE CHOSEN KING is the US title of the same book) and its prequel, A HOLLOW CROWN (The FOREVER QUEEN is the US title of the same book) tells the story of the twilight years of Anglo Saxon England immediately before the Norman Conquest.
Stripping the Norman propaganda from what we think we know of that most famous date in English history - 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, my novels portray all the honour and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes.
I am also co-scriptwriter for the UK movie 1066 which is in development.
With eight other inspiring authors, I am a co-author of 1066 Turned Upside Down (published August 2016) a selection of eleven 'what if' stories about the year 1066.
I also contributed a short story about the pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read to a free anthology with the theme of BETRAYAL.
To balance the serious books I have my SEA WITCH VOYAGES: pirate-based adventure fantasy (re-published as new editions in 2019 by Penmore Press.) The Voyages are a fine blend of Sharpe, Hornblower and Indiana Jones all stowed in the one boat.
Voyage One - SEA WITCH
Voyage Two - PIRATE CODE
Voyage Three - BRING IT CLOSE
Voyage Four - RIPPLES IN THE SAND
Voyage Five - ON THE ACCOUNT
Voyage Six - (under construction!) GALLOWS WAKE
As a novella short read on Kindle: WHEN THE MERMAID SINGS - how Jesamiah Acorne became a pirate.
"In the sexiest pirate contest, Captain Jesamiah Acorne gives Jack Sparrow a run for his money" (Sharon Penman)
Charismatic and a charmer of a rogue, trouble follows Jesamiah Acorne like a ship's wake. His "girl" Tiola, is a white witch, one of the Wise Women of the Old Ones of Light. She is loyal and faithful to Jesamiah - but does he deserve her?
If you liked the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies and enjoy a good sailor's yarn, then in the words of author Elizabeth Chadwick "You'll love this to pieces of eight".
I have three NON-FICTION books: PIRATES TRUTH and TALES, a lighthearted look at the truth and the tales about pirates, published by Amberley Press, and SMUGGLERS IN FACT and FICTION - again exactly what the title says!
With my previous editor (now retired) Jo Field I wrote a short guide for Indie writers: DISCOVERING the DIAMOND highlights what to do/not to do when writing a historical novel intended for self-publishing/indie. Quite a few would-be authors have found it useful.
I run several blogs, including one for our village of Chittlehamholt, my own 'Let Us Talk of Many Things' and my 'Leaning On The Gate' a very occasional Devon Diary.
I have also founded a review blog "Discovering Diamonds" devoted to reviewing historical fiction. Submissions welcome.
My latest venture is branching out into the 'cosy mystery' genre with my Jan Christopher Mystery series, the first planned for publication in early 2021.
Living on a farm in the middle of nowhere has had its advantages during 2020! We have two dogs, two cats and several horses, including three Exmoor ponies; ducks, hens, and geese- and a beautiful view over the Taw Valley.
I occasionally find time to write...
Browse my books and 'Lege Feliciter' (read happily)
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A USA Today Bestseller!
"Hollick does a remarkable job of bringing to life a little known but powerful queen... an absorbing plot that never lags over the course of a fat, satisfying book."—Publishers Weekly
Sometimes, a desperate kingdom is in need of one great woman
Saxon England, 1002. Not only is Æthelred a failure as King, but his young bride, Emma of Normandy, soon discovers he is even worse as a husband. When the Danish Vikings, led by Swein Forkbeard and his son, Cnut, cause a maelstrom of chaos, Emma, as Queen, must take control if the Kingdom-and her crown-are to be salvaged. Smarter than history remembers, and stronger than the foreign invaders who threaten England's shores, Emma risks everything on a gamble that could either fulfill her ambitions and dreams or destroy her completely.
Emma, the Queen of Saxon England, comes to life through the exquisite writing of Helen Hollick, who shows in this epic tale how one of the most compelling and vivid heroines in English history stood tall through a turbulent fifty-year reign of proud determination, tragic despair, and triumph over treachery.
What Reviewers Are Saying
"Hollick is a master at making each historic scene come alive in the mind of a character with the most to lose... rich, tasty, sugary sludge of historical fiction... the best the genre has to offer."—Historical Novels Review
"Brilliant prose, historical accuracy, and rich detail bring this violent era to life. The Forever Queen stands as a well-detailed biographical account of one of England's strongest, most determined queens."— Historical Novel Review Blog
"A rich and descriptive tapestry of Anglo Saxon history, warring factions, political intrigue and betrayal, brutal violence, and yes, love."—Queen of Happy Endings
Praise for Helen Hollick
"A very talented writer."—Sharon Kay Penman, bestselling author of Devil's Brood
"If only all historical fiction could be this good." —Historical Novels Review
"Hollick juggles a large cast of characters and a bloody, tangled plot with great skill."—Publishers Weekly
"Helen Hollick has it all. She tells a great story." —Bernard Cornwell
(This book was previously published in the U.K. as THE HOLLOW CROWN.)
"A very talented writer." —Sharon Kay Penman, New York Times bestselling author of Devil's Brood
England, 1044. Harold Godwineson, a young, respected Earl, falls in love with an ordinary but beautiful woman. He marries Edyth despite her lack of pedigree, pitting him against his turbulent family and his selfish King, Edward. In France, William, the bastard son of a duke, falls in love with power. Brutal and dangerously smart, William sets his sights on England, finding ambition a difficult lust to conquer.
In 1066, with the old King Edward dying, England falls vulnerable to the winds of fate—and the stubborn will of these two powerful men. In this beautifully crafted tale, Helen Hollick sets aside the propaganda of the Norman Conquest and brings to life the English version of the story of the last Saxon King, revealing his tender love, determination, and proud loyalty, all shattered by the unforgiving needs of a Kingdom. Forced to give up his wife and risk his life for England, the chosen King led his army into the great Battle of Hastings in October 1066 with all the honor and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes.
"A novel of enormous emotional power...Helen Hollick is a fabulous writer of historical fiction." —Elizabeth Chadwick, author of To Defy a King
(This book was previously published in the U.K. as HAROLD THE KING)
"Compelling, convincing, and—ultimately—unforgettable."—Sharon Kay Penman, Bestselling Author of Devil's Blood
Who was THE MAN
Who became THE LEGEND
We know as KING ARTHUR?
"You are the Pendragon, rightful Lord of Dumnonia and the Summer Land; Lord of less Britain. By all that is right, you ought be seated where Vortigern sits...You ought to be King."
Here lies the truth of the Lord of the Summer Land.
This is the tale of Arthur flesh and bone. Of the shaping of the man, both courageous and flawed, into the celebrated ruler who inspired armies, who captured Gwenhyfar's heart, and who emerged as the hero of the Dark Ages and the most enduring hero of all time.
This is the unexpected story of the making of a king — the legend who united all of Britain.
Praise for The Kingmaking:
"If only all historical fiction could be this good."—Historical Novels Review
"Helen Hollick has it all. She tells a great story "— Bernard Cornwell
"Hollick's interpretation is bold, affecting, and well worth fighting to defend." —Publishers Weekly
"Loyalty breaks as easily as a silken thread."
Misplaced trust, power hunger, emotional blackmail, and greed haunt twelve characters from post-Roman Britain to the present day. And betrayal by family, lover, comrade can be even more devastating.
Read twelve tales by twelve accomplished writers who explore these historical yet timeless challenges.
AD455—Roman leader Ambrosius is caught in a whirlpool of shifting allegiances
AD940—Alyeva and cleric Dunstan navigate the dangers of the Anglo Saxon court
1185—Knight Stephan fights for comradeship, duty, and honour. But what about love?
1330—The powerful Edmund of Kent enters a tangled web of intrigue
1403—Thomas Percy must decide whether to betray his sovereign or his family
1457—Estelle is invited to the King of Cyprus’s court, but deception awaits
1483—Has Elysabeth made the right decision to bring Prince Edward to London?
1484—Margaret Beaufort contemplates the path to treason
1577—Francis Drake contends with disloyalty at sea
1650—Can James Hart, Royalist highwayman, stop a nemesis destroying his friend?
1718—Pirate Annie Bonny, her lover Calico Jack, and a pirate hunter. Who will win?
1849/present—Carina must discover her ancestor’s betrayer in Italy or face ruin.
“I read this anthology from start to finish in a matter of days…. Each story is gripping.”– Discovering Diamonds Reviews
They knew what was coming.
Man and beast knew what lay ahead.
After the war cry.
Bitter the grave.
At long last, the peace King Arthur was born to usher in has settled over the realm. But Arthur was also born to be a warrior... and all true warriors are restless without a fight. Yearning for battle and ever-loyal, Arthur is easily deceived into setting sail for Gaul to defend its territories-leaving his country vulnerable and leaderless.
A beacon of hope in a land of desolation, he was to be the Lord of the Summer Land for now and forever. But first, the Pendragon must face the ultimate test, one that will take all his courage, strength of will, and honor to survive.
Because once destiny is fulfilled, can you ever truly win again?
"Helen Hollick has it all. She tells a great story..." -Bernard Cornwell
"Hollick's interpretation is bold, affecting, and well worth fighting to defend." -Publishers Weekly
Who was the man
who became the legend
we know as
Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most accurate Arthurian legend ever written, based on historical evidence and meticulous research.
At age twenty-four, King Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard for and a new young family. But keeping the throne of Britainand keeping his wife and three sons safeproves far from easy. Two enemies in particular threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, Arthur's vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. Both have royal ambitions of their own.
In this story of harsh battles, secret treasonous plots, and the life-threatening politics of early Britain's dark ages, author Helen Hollick boldly reintroduces King Arthur as you've never seen him before.
PRAISE FOR PENDRAGON'S BANNER:
"Hollick's interpretation is bold, affecting and well worth fighting to defend."
"Weaves together fact, legend, and inspired imagination to create a world so real we can breathe the smoke of its fires and revel in the Romano- British lust for life, love and honour."
Historical Novel Review
"Camelot as it really was... a very talented writer."
Sharon Kay Penman, bestselling author of Devil's Brood
PRAISE FOR THE KINGMAKING:
"Hollick juggles a cast of characters and a bloody, tangled plot with great skill."
"If only all historical fiction could be this good."
Historical Novels Review
"Stripped of its medieval trappings, the story of Arthur's rise loses none of its legendary power… this [is a] well-researched, skillfully constructed trilogy opener."
The Place : The Pirate Round - from the South African Coast to the Caribbean.
Escaping the bullying of his elder half-brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves - his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa.
He is to meet Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant girl, or so he assumes - until she rescues him from a vicious attack, and almost certain death, by pirate hunters. And then he discovers what she really is; a healer, a midwife - and a white witch.
Tiola and Jesamiah become lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten, a Cape Town Dutchman, also wants Tiola as his wife and Jesamiah's jealous brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past, a stolen ship and the insult of being cuckolded in his own home.
When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship - the Sea Witch - is put in Jesamiah's path he must make a choice between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both, but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.
In trouble, imprisoned in the darkness and stench that is the lowest part of his brother's ship, can Tiola, with her gift of Craft and the aid of his loyal crew, save him?
Using all her skills Tiola must conjure up a wind to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural being, Tethys, the Spirit of the Sea, an elemental who will stop at nothing to claim Jesamiah Acorne's soul and bones as a trophy for herself.
All he wants is to marry his girl, Tiola Oldstagh, and like contented aboard his ship, Sea Witch. But Tiola’s husband refused to grand a divorce unless Jesamiah retrieves some barrels of indigo and smuggle out of the Spanish-held Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
The Governor of Nassau wants Jesamiah to go there too, to help incite a rebellion, and Captain Henry Jennings wants him to find a lost spy. To cap it all, Commodore Vernon of the Royal Navy wants to expand his fleet and craves the Sea Witch of himself .
As Jesamiah’s hopes for a quiet life tumble about him, the onset of war with Spain scuppers everyone’s plans. Hispaniola is governed by a tyrant who has promised to hand draw and quarter Jesamiah if ever he sets foot there again, while the lovely widow Señora Francesca Escudero would prefer to seduce him.
Intrigue, fights, betrayals, and romantic passion follow Captain Acorne like a ship’s wake-not the ingredients for a quiet life and not Jesamiah’s idea of the Pirate Code
“Brandy for the parson, baccy for the clerk . . .”
We have an image, mostly from movies and novels, of a tall ship riding gently at anchor in a moonlit, secluded bay with the “Gentleman” cheerfully hauling kegs of brandy and tobacco ashore, then disappearing silently into the night shadows to hide their contraband from the excise men in a dark cave or a secret cellar. But how much of the popular idea is fact and how much is fiction?
Smuggling was big business—it still is—but who were these derring-do rebels of the past who went against paying taxes on the importation of luxury goods? Who purchased the illicit contraband? How did smugglers operate? Where were the most notorious locations? Was it profitable, or just an inevitable path to arrest and the hangman’s noose? Author Helen Hollick attempts to answer these queries and more.
But romance is soon to take a back seat when a baby boy is taken from his pram, a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, brutally murdered...
Are the events related? How will they affect the staff and public of the local library where Jan works – and will a blossoming romance survive a police investigation into murder?
The first in a new series of quick-read, cosy mysteries set in the 1970s ... Will romance blossom between library assistant Jan Christopher and DC Laurie Walker – or will a brutal murder intervene?
“A delightful read about an unexpected murder in North East London. Told from the viewpoint of a young library assistant, the author draws on her own experience to weave an intriguing tale” Richard Ashen (South Chingford Community Library)
“Lots of nostalgic, well-researched, detail about life in the 1970s, which readers of a certain age will lap up; plus some wonderful, and occasionally hilarious, ‘behind the counter’ scenes of working in a public library, which any previous or present-day library assistant will recognise!” Reader's Review
“An enjoyable novella with a twist in who done it. I spent the entire read trying to decide what was a clue and what wasn’t ... Kept me thinking the entire time. I call that a success.” Reader's Review
Too much trouble has come too close! Jesamiah Acorne, Captain of the Sea Witch, has accepted a government-granted amnesty against his misdeeds of piracy, but old enemies do not forget the past. In particular Edward Teach - Blackbeard himself - has a bone to pick with Acorne.
Following an indiscretion with an old flame, Jesamiah finds his fiancée, the midwife and white witch Tiola Oldstagh, has gone to North Carolina to help with a difficult birth. The problem; that is where Blackbeard now resides. He mustn’t discover that Tiola is Jesamiah's woman. She will have to hide her identity and her gift of Craft from the black-hearted pirate who has sold his soul to the devil.
With Sea Witch damaged and himself wounded, Jesamiah has to take stock of his situation, but arrested for acts of piracy how is Jesamiah Acorne to clear his name, overturn a sentence of hanging, keep Tiola safe, put an end to Blackbeard and deal with being haunted by the ghost of his father?
Bring It Close moves from the Bahamas to North Carolina and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia at a swashbuckling pace. There is intrigue, misunderstanding, romance and adventure all wrapped up in a blend of mystical fantasy.
Eavesdrop on the monthly meetings of the North Finchley Writers' Group, follow some ordinary people with a love of story writing, and an eagerness for success. Discover, along with them, the mysteries of creating characters and plot, of what inspires ideas, and how real life can, occasionally, divert the dream...
READERS’ PRAISE for RICHARD’S WRITING
“A thoroughly lovely, fun, read. Believable characters who I got to know quite well. Really enjoyed it. True to life I’d say!”
“So entertaining! I laughed a lot – and recognised many a writer’s dilemma!”