‘Literary gold… superbly satisfying…beautifully written, wonderfully clever’ (Daily Telegraph)


Historical Fiction:

the Comptrollerate-General


‘If you only read one novel about the Great War this year, make it this one.’ The third of the acclaimed Comptrollerate-General novels is out this year: The Spider of Sarajevo explores what went on in the shadows in the weeks before the First World War, and will be published on the centenary of the events it describes. There's more here....


The Emperor's Gold, the first in a series of historical espionage thriller novels drawn from the archives of the Comptrollerate-General for Scrutiny and Survey, was published by Atlantic/Corvus in 2011. Brilliant invention, was the Sunday Times verdict. The Historical Writers’ Association and Goldsboro Books awarded it their inaugural Crown for Best Historical Fiction Debut.


It's 1805: Napoleon's Army of the Ocean Coasts is camped just across the Channel; a
change in the weather, a moment's inattention by the Royal Navy, and Britain is finished. With invasion potentially hours away, and the country feverish with sedition, unrest and treachery, a man is pulled from a Cornish shipwreck and set to work to save the Empire.

Time Out called it Sensational... great, intelligent, fun', which was nice of them. The paperback is now out with the new title Treason’s Tide, and film rights are being negotiated.


Interviews and reviews have appeared all over the place: ‘Where was Nelson?’ was a piece for BookGeeks, exploring the relationship between fact and fiction in an historical thriller; here’s Historic Naval Fiction (‘excellent spy thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat’); Novel Suggestions (‘excitement and revelation right up to the final page... we may be in for some real historical and political treats’) produced a review and an interview; Floor-to-Ceiling Books have a piece on the influences on The Emperor’s Gold (‘a truly engaging look at history’); here’s the Falcata Times (‘something special that should be moved to the top of our To Be Read List’), and a copy of the interview in Warships magazine. Eurocrime have just described it ‘drip-dripping into the reader's understanding until perhaps the last fifty or so pages when the plot picks up like a steam train and rushes head long for the end.. could not put it down’.


Traitor’s Field, the second book in the Comptrollerate-General series, is becoming available right now, revealing the organisation's activities in the mid-seventeenth century - at the end of the British civil wars. Historical Fiction queen M.C.Scott said that it ‘sets a new benchmark for the literary historical thriller. He achieves that Holy Grail of utterly absorbing, edge-of-the-seat thriller with a book of ideas that lays bare the convolutions of the English Civil War with a panache unmatched in modern writing. It's exhilarating, passionate, inspiring and literate and will garner new readers from lovers of Mantel and Cornwell alike…’. Phew. Here’s more, and here’s a piece in History in an Hour.


Meanwhile, work is underway on No. 3, tracking the Comptrollerate-General in the weeks before the First World War.


The Comptroller-General’s on Twitter, too:


Robert has also written short stories for a number of years. They've been published in a variety of books and magazines. Prize-winners included 'In no man's land' and 'Bodywork'. Here’s Looking at Death, to give you a flavour.


Oh, and here's something a little different. One of the lesser-known curiosities of Britain's criminal history is that her greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, was brought in to investigate one of her most infamous crimes, the murder of King Duncan of Scotland, a story told only in incomplete and distorted form in William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Get a taste of the extraordinary true story in the opening scene of The Adventure of the Distracted Thane.


Here's Robert on Amazon and at the Historical Writers' Association.


And here’s the Home page again.