Genghis Khan is on the rampage, William Wallace is painting his face with woad and the Renaissance is in full swing in Italy. Sigh. There's never a dull moment.
Sunday Times Bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Masters in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history.
Today she has sold over 700,000 copies of her books in the UK and internationally. She lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. When not writing she enjoys visiting the many churches, castles, black-and-white villages and battlefields in the area. It provides endless inspiration for her novels about the forgotten women of medieval history.
Anne's new book, The Royal Game, steps into the world of the famous letter-writing Paston family. Three remarkable women plot and struggle to climb the social ladder from peasant to gentry against the backdrop of the turbulent Royal Court and the Wars of the Roses. It will be published on 16th September 2021 in hardback and eBook, and on 31st March 2022 in paperback.
Since 1995 and the launch of The Last Templar, Michael has been a persistent and prolific author. City of Fiends was the 31st story in the series that follows the lives of Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, a renegade Templar, and his friend Bailiff Simon Puttock through the miserable period of famine, war and disease that was the first half of the fourteenth century. The series is the first to tell the tale of that time.
It charts the incompetent reign of King Edward II, the appalling avarice and criminality of his chief advisers, Sir Hugh le Despenser and (sadly) Bishop Walter II of Exeter; then the war against France and the desertion of Edward by his wife Isabella, and her return with a small army to remove him from the throne.
However, it is not merely a crime series. The whole of the Kingdom was changing: after fifty years the language of authority stopped being French and became English; the feudal system was broken; farming was becoming efficient and organised; new towns were springing up - and the king was losing control of law-making and even war-making. It was probably the period in which England changed the most, apart from perhaps the fifty years post World War II.
Over the years, the series has sold well in the UK and America, with translations into Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, and many other countries.
In America it has been taken on by many schools as a means of imparting accurate social history. It has revived interest in Edward II's reign, and has made Michael friends all across the globe.
Michael has long had an interest in helping new writers, and for two years he organised the Debut Dagger for the Crime Writers' Association, helping five authors win their first publishing contracts as a result.
In 2004 he was elected as Chairman of the CWA, and afterwards he accepted a post as judge on the CWA/Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award, on which he served for three years. More recently he has been working with the International Thriller Writers and in 2011 he helped create the Historical Writer's Association, and remains on the organising committee.
In 2007 Michael was proud to be asked to collaborate with Conway Stewart to produce the Michael Jecks fountain pen. Other honours include being invited as the International Guest of Honour at the Bloody Words gala 2014, to being the Grand Master of the first parade of the 2014 Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Michael is a regular speaker about the Knights Templar, the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, about writing and publishing, and about finding work. An enthusiastic photographer and watercolourist, Michael can often be seen walking across Dartmoor where he lives, gaining inspiration into the lives of our ancestors for his stories. When relaxing he can usually be found clad in white in a pub near you before dancing mad stick Morris.