Robin Hood is Free! — John Bainbridge Writer

Loxley, the first book in my The Chronicles of Robin Hood series, is FREE on Kindle for just the next few days – if you don’t have a Kindle you can download a free Kindle App for your tablet or smartphone. Also available in paperback, Loxley – complete in itself – is the first volume […]

Robin Hood is Free! — John Bainbridge Writer

Robin Hood is Free!

Loxley, the first book in my The Chronicles of Robin Hood series, is FREE on Kindle for just the next few days – if you don’t have a Kindle you can download a free Kindle App for your tablet or smartphone.

Also available in paperback, Loxley – complete in itself – is the first volume in a series which continues with Wolfshead, Villain and Legend. Just click on the link below to get your FREE copy!

It will be FREE in the USA a few hours from now!

1198 A.D A hooded man brings rebellion to the forest…

Loxley New Cover

Lionheart’s England, with the King fighting in Normandy… For the oppressed villagers of Sherwood there is no escape from persecution and despair. They exist under the sufferance of their brutal overlords.

When a mysterious stranger saves a miller’s son from cruel punishment, the Sheriff of Nottingham sends the ruthless Sir Guy of Gisborne to hunt him down.

His past life destroyed, Robin of Loxley must face his greatest challenge yet. Deadly with a longbow and a sword, he will fight tyranny and injustice, encounter allies and enemies old and new.

The vast Sherwood Forest with its hidden glades and ancient pathways is the last refuge of wolfsheads. Here their bloody battles will be fought, friendships forged and loyalties tested.

Loxley will become Robin Hood. Notorious leader of outlaws.

Their daring deeds will become legend.

This is the first in a four-part series The Chronicles of Robin Hood, and includes an historical note on the origins of the famous outlaw. Read the sequels Wolfshead, Villain and Legend now.

Here’s the link to your FREE copy…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Loxley-Chronicles-Robin-John-Bainbridge-ebook/dp/B00WMJXRUC/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Loxley&qid=1634565817&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

An Interview With John Bainbridge — Walk the Old Ways

This morning I had the great privilege of talking to outdoors author and novelist John D. Burns on his wonderful podcast Outside In. We talked about the outdoors, campaigning for access and the countryside, and the Dartmoor bylaws, so do tune in. And if you haven’t read John’s grand books about Scotland, please do – […]

An Interview With John Bainbridge — Walk the Old Ways

Speak For The Dead

Fellow crime author, the lovely T.G Campbell has interviewed my wife Anne, about her new Victorian mystery, over at the Bow Street Society website at bowstreetsociety.com

T.G Campbell writes intriguing crime fiction set in a vividly-realised Victorian London of the 1890s. Her Bow Street Society are a group of amateur consulting-detectives. They come together from all walks of life, using their every day expertise, to solve crimes where the police are baffled. A really original take on Victorian sleuths, they’re full of memorable characters and mysterious murder.

If you like Sherlock Holmes and Ripper Street, do check them out. Here’s the new title:

Dartmoor – Dangerous Game

Dangerous Game Cover1

“Sean Miller – a rogue of the first water; a former Army sniper, he seems unable to stay out of a fight.”

Sean Miller’s on his way back to fight in Spain when he’s diverted to Devon. To undertake a mission for renegade members of the German Secret Service, trying to stop the Nazis plunging the world into war. A secret agent lies dead in a moorland river and the one man who can keep the peace is an assassin’s target. As the hunter becomes the hunted in an epic chase, Miller encounters his greatest enemy in a dangerous game of death across the lonely hills of Dartmoor.

A fast-paced action thriller by the author of Balmoral Kill and the William Quest adventures

John Bainbridge is the author of over thirty books, including novels, thrillers and historical fiction, as well as non-fiction and topographical books about Britain. He has also written widely for newspapers and magazines and broadcast on radio and television. John read literature and history at the University of East Anglia. He campaigned for nine years as chief executive of the Dartmoor Preservation Association – one of Britain’s oldest environmental campaigning groups. He spends his spare time walking in the countryside.

 Writing About Dartmoor, John Bainbridge says…

Dangerous Game is my personal tribute to Dartmoor – one of the few massive areas of wild country in southern England. It’s a place I know particularly well. I first walked there when I was seven years old. I have spent decades exploring Dartmoor and have long campaigned to keep it wild and free.

For nine years, very active years, I was chief executive of the Dartmoor Preservation Association – a voluntary group founded in 1883 to protect Dartmoor from many threats. During that time we had our share of victories and defeats. But Dartmoor is as you see it today because of the often militant stance taken by previous DPA campaigners.

I wanted to write a Dartmoor novel which was topographically accurate.  Nearly all the places mentioned in this novel are real and you can seek them out on foot. The Dart Gorge is as magnificent as I’ve suggested, Wistman’s Wood as mysterious, the great heights of the northern moorland as wild. You can walk to Oke Tor, the setting of the book’s climax. Only a few houses are invented, as are all the characters.

The Duchy Hotel (now the Old Duchy Hotel) in Princetown, which features in the book, has been transformed into an information centre for the Dartmoor National Park Authority. Upstairs is the office of the Dartmoor Preservation Association, where I worked for those nine campaigning years.

Dartmoor Prison is still in use, though the footpath which used to pass near the French and American War Cemeteries – and which features in the book – no longer exists. It was closed in the 1970s. I objected to its loss, but lost the battle. A pity I always think. A pity too that there is very limited public access for anyone wishing to visit the war cemeteries.

I remain, like several of the characters in my book, a very committed Dartmoor Preservationist. The Moor needs more active campaigners!

Publisher’s Details:

Dangerous Game is available in paperback (ISBN 9781699543771) at £8.99 and as a Kindle e-Book for £2.99.

John Bainbridge has two blogs:

www.johnbainbridgewriter.wordpress.com and

www.walktheoldways.wordpress.com

Follow John on Twitter @stravaigerjohn

Here’s the link if you want to order a copy:

Speak for the Dead – Kindle Sale

My wife Annie’s latest Inspector Abbs mystery “Speak for the Dead” is on sale for this week only on Kindle for just 99 pence/cents.

This is the first time we’ve offered the book at a lower price.

The novel is also available as a paperback.

Secrets and murder in the fog of Victorian London.

When a grieving architect is stabbed by an intruder, the case seems simple enough. Only Inspector Josiah Abbs begs to differ. A stranger at Scotland Yard, Abbs must untangle a web of secrets and deceit, to find a murderer and make his mark.

In 1874, the Metropolis is changing, as streets are torn down and new buildings put up by the month. Meanwhile, in public halls and darkened parlours, the spiritualist movement is at its height… Finding his way about the fog-shrouded city, Abbs will risk everything to get justice for the dead.

Read the first two books in the series – “A Seaside Mourning” and “A Christmas Malice”.

“Speak for the Dead” includes an historical note on the Kennington area of London, where it’s set, as well as a look at spiritualism in the mid-Victorian period.

Loxley – on sale this week for 99 on Kindle

They came fast.

Three horsemen, two swinging swords at their side, the third low in the saddle and bearing a lance.

Fast and deadly.

Fast and deadly from three different directions.

It had been an hour since Loxley had left the monk’s cell to continue his journey to Nottingham. He had left the horse in Tuck’s care. He was afoot and vulnerable, for there were no trees in this part of Sherwood in which a man could seek shelter from charging horsemen. He was halfway across a vast open stretch of heathland when he saw them approach. They had ridden together on the road out of Nottingham. But even as he watched they separated. Riding away from Loxley.

And for a moment he thought they might have no business with him. Then they had turned the heads of their mounts to face him. One in front and the others on either side. There was a pause as though they were simply enjoying the fresh morning air.

And then they had charged, yelling to spur on their horses. Loxley fancied he could feel the vibration of the hooves across the soft ground. They were so close he could see every detail of their faces and clothing. And the look of triumph in their eyes.

He swung the longbow off his shoulder and thanked God that he had not unbent it as he often did when making a long journey. He pulled three arrows from the quiver, jamming two into the soft earth in front of him. He put the third into the bow, raised the weapon very slightly and sent the arrow into flight towards the soldier in front.

He didn’t pause to see it thud into the man’s chest, though he was aware, out of the corner of his eye, of the lance flying through the air. But even as he noted the success of that first shot he had loaded and fired a second arrow at the soldier to his left.
The shot was too speedily done. He saw the arrow tear into the man’s right shoulder and heard the soldier give a great cry. A noise which brought the charging horse to a sudden halt.

Even as he turned Loxley knew there would be no time to swing round and fire a third arrow. Instinct made him throw himself to the ground, just as the man’s swinging sword, powered by the speed of the horse as well as the practised turn of the sword-arm, cut through the air where his throat had been a second before.
As the horse brushed against his side, Loxley rolled once on the ground and regained his feet. Before the horseman could bring his mount about he had fired the third arrow, square into the soldier’s back. The horse came to a halt, its rider dangling down on one side.

Loxley dropped the bow and drew out his sword, for the wounded man was still mounted, head bent forward, walking the horse very slowly towards him. At a glance he could see the other two soldiers dead on the ground.

The stricken soldier came to within a few yards before he dropped his sword and slid down the side of the horse. He tried to stand and made a couple of staggering steps towards Loxley. And then he fell back to the ground, head raised and grasping the arrow in his shoulder. There was a look of desperation on his face as Loxley approached, his eyes never wavering from the sword in the outlaw’s hand.

Thoughts From Chaucer and Shakespeare — charles french words reading and writing

Today I will offer a few quotations from writers from earlier eras about creativity, learning, and teaching. (illustration from Cassell’s History Of England – Century Edition – published circa 1902) “And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche” “And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.” These are the Middle English and the Modern English […]

Thoughts From Chaucer and Shakespeare — charles french words reading and writing

All FOUR Robin Hood books on Kindle this week for just £4/$4

You can get all four books in my Chronicles of Robin Hood series for under four pounds/dollars for this week only on Kindle – and if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App free for your smartphone.

The books are also available in paperback.

My series takes the Robin Hood legend back to its medieval roots and is based on the latest research on the medieval outlaw. Each book includes an historical note linking the fiction to the reality.

This is a one week offer only, expiring next Sunday night.

So do click on the link below to buy all of them or any titles missing from your collection.

History and Mystery at the Seaside

A post by my wife, Annie...

A Seaside Mourning is a Victorian murder mystery, set in the fictional town of Seaborough, a small resort in East Devon. I love this area, maybe it’s in my genes, for it was the home of my ancestors. John and I have spent many happy days exploring the villages and walking the old by-ways in the footsteps of my forebears. Two were Victorian police constables, perhaps much like the ones in the story.

East Devon is an area of the county often overlooked by holiday-makers. A timeless landscape of narrow lanes, ancient hedgerows, thatched cottages, meadows and commons. There are a few sedate seaside resorts, their railway stations and branch-lines long gone.

Budleigh Salterton

The unspoilt coastline features dramatic, zig-zag cliffs of red sandstone, gradually fading to chalk near the county border. Together with the neighbouring cliffs of Dorset, they make up the Jurassic Coast, Britain’s only Natural World Heritage Site.

I’m fascinated by the history of seaside resorts and have lived in two very different ones. In A Seaside Mourning, Seaborough is expanding. It is autumn 1873 and the town now has its railway branch-line. New houses are going up and some businessmen are keen for a pier, and other amenities, to be developed.

Many of the characters are on the make, jostling for more money and social position. Some are fighting for security in a precarious society, shadowed by fear of the work-house. Even Inspector Josiah Abbs is not safe. This was an age when policemen were not considered gentlemen. A detective was treated by the well-off as a distasteful necessity, an embarrassment who should call at the tradesmen’s entrance.

Abbs cannot summon suspects to interview if they are his social ‘betters.’ He must catch a murderer without giving offence. Dismissal, without a reference, is always a threat.

Walk through the streets of any British seaside town, trace back the architecture and you’ll most likely find it began as a fishing village. The rise of the seaside resort – offering buildings and entertainment designed to attract tourists – gradually began in the eighteenth century. At that time the concept of an annual holiday for the masses didn’t exist. The wealthy tended to travel abroad on the classical Grand Tour or over-winter on the Continent. Working people had neither the money nor paid leisure to explore new places.

From the mid-1700s, physicians began questioning whether sea-water might have healing properties, similar to those of spa water. An enterprising Sussex physician, Dr. Richard Russell set up a house for patients in the fishing village of Brighthelmstone in 1753. ‘Taking the waters,’ at inland spa resorts, was fashionable. There was money to be made from rich invalids – and hypochondriacs – so there may have been some self-interest involved.

Dr. Russell published works on the rejuvenating powers of sea-bathing and drinking salt water, claiming his treatments cured enlarged glands and all manner of ailments. As well as swimming, his patients were immersed in baths of salt-water and encouraged to ‘promenade’ in the sea air. This quickly became prevalent medical opinion.

Just as today, landowners and speculative builders were quick to spot a business opportunity. Scarborough, on the coast of Yorkshire, had the best of both worlds. Mineral water had been discovered there in the early seventeenth century and they had a flourishing spa by the beach. Wheel out the bathing-machines and the town was well-placed to develop into England’s earliest seaside resort.

Villages along the South Coast, in particular, offered a mild climate and an easier journey from the capital. They began to throw up lodgings suitable for well-to-do visitors. Theatres and assembly rooms were built, promenades and sea-front gardens laid out. New resorts advertised their picturesque scenery, carriage tours and health-giving benefits.

Jane Austen satirised this new enthusiasm in her last, unfinished novel, Sanditon. Much missed, detective novelist Reginald Hill did a witty take on Sanditon in his Dalziel and Pascoe novel A Cure For All Diseases.

Sidmouth, in East Devon, is a possible contender for Austen’s Sanditon, though several resorts fit the clues. It’s most likely that Jane Austen was thinking of more than one place. The Austens enjoyed holidaying along the Channel coast. Their stays at Lyme Regis in 1803 and 04 famously inspired part of the setting of Persuasion.

Fashion played a part in putting a watering-hole on the map. When George III’s physicians recommended he try the sea cure in 1788, he chose the village of Weymouth on the Dorset coast. Liking its sheltered sandy bay, he returned many times, making Weymouth one of England’s oldest seaside resorts.

His son, later the Prince Regent, vastly preferred Brighthelmstone, nearer London. Under his patronage it expanded rapidly to cater for his younger,  wilder set. It has never lost its stylish and racy reputation. The spelling changed to suit its pronunciation and a new saying became widespread. Wealthy patients were advised to try Doctor Brighton.

Some towns started out as the vision of a single developer. In the 1780s, a wealthy merchant, Sir Richard Hotham, bought up land around the Sussex fishing village of Bognor. He intended to design a purpose-built resort, modestly named Hothampton, and entice the King away from Weymouth, making himself a second fortune. George III never obliged and the town reverted to Bognor soon after Sir Richard’s death. He did leave the townspeople several fine terraces and a splendid park. Bognor is another contender for Sanditon.

New resorts received a boost to their fortunes when the Napoleonic wars closed the Continent to travellers. Prosperous invalids, and people living in seclusion, often settled by the sea in smart new villas for the gentry. Lady Nelson came to live at Exmouth, an early East Devon resort, after Nelson’s association with Lady Emma Hamilton became public knowledge.

Hunstanton features briefly in A Christmas Malice, an Inspector Abbs novella, set just after his case in Seaborough. This West Norfolk resort came about as the scheme of one man in 1846. Henry Le Strange, an architect and local landowner, built a hotel on an empty headland as the flagship of his new town.

A typically enthusiastic Victorian ‘entrepreneur’, he gathered investors to fund a railway-line from King’s Lynn to his planned site, named after the nearby village of Old Hunstanton. It took another 16 years before the railway arrived and further building work began.

Many resorts can date their growth to the arrival of the railway. It became the custom for middle-class Victorian families to send their children to the seaside with nannies and nursery-maids. The first pleasure pier had been constructed at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, as early as 1814. Almost a hundred more followed, mostly in England and Wales.

The Bank Holiday Act of 1871 gave workers four days off – five in Scotland. On Whit Monday and in August, railway companies laid on ‘Bank Holiday Specials’ for the day-trippers pouring into popular resorts. At last, accessible for the pleasure of ordinary working people, the seaside resort, as we know it today, had arrived.

The first two Inspector Abbs Victorian Mysteries, A Seaside Mourning and A Christmas Malice are on sale on Kindle for 99 pence/cents for this week – both books and the third mystery Speak for the Dead are also available in paperback.