Bircorn - The ties of Blood Peninsular War Novels
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Alone With Glory
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A Different Kind of War
The Hardest Fight
The Blast of War
Even To The Knife
The Other Side of the Hill
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A Battle Lost and Won
Take, Burn or Destroy
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Napoleonic Day


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When did Peter become interested in the Peninsular War?

A long time ago!

Like a lot of boys I grew up reading the Hornblower books. But I wished he’d done more land-based stories, like “The Gun” or “Death to the French”. My first attempt to fill this gap in the market was my prime piece of juvenilia “A Season of Mists”, which comfortably pre-dated the Sharpe series and was comfortably less well-written than Bernard Cornwell’s stuff.

But I became fascinated with the period and a good slice of my late teens was spent in Liverpool Central Library with my nose in a volume of Napier or Oman. Addictive stuff...

Will the stories be published as ebooks?

The first seven novels are all available on Kindle. The rest of the series will follow.

Will Peter stop publishing hard-copy books?

No. A lot of people like the experience of holding a book (me included!) and the full Ties of Blood series will see the light of day as conventional books, with the option of ebooks for those who prefer that medium.

The Sharpe Question

Yes, I get that one lots of times. 

I think Bernard Cornwell is a brilliant (and energetic!) storyteller, who has written splendidly and brought so many people to look at this period. Sharpe is a wonderful creation, both on the page and on the telly.

But - there's no but !!

So, are your books the same?

Er, no. 

Mr C has a wonderful character and writes him beautifully. My stories are more of an ensemble piece and allow the plot to move around a bit more. In a way, I've allowed myself space to tell more of the historical story, hopefully not losing the adventure.

 
How accurate is the history in the books?

As accurate as an amateur historian can get it without making the stories dull. For instance, in “Alone With Glory” Tom does a lot of blowing up of bridges and so on – well clearly our Lieutenant Herryck wasn’t there to do those things, but they did happen, pretty much as described.

And in “The Colour of Blood” the amazing story of the barges did happen almost exactly as written.

The "The Blast of War" tackles the dramatic siege of Badajoz - our  fictional characters confronting the thorny issues of the conduct of the siege and the horrors of the messy aftermath.

Novel 8 ("The Dawn's Early Light") includes some of the background to the complex War of 1812, while managing to tell an exciting story.

 

How long will the series run?

At least up to the Battle of Waterloo, possibly beyond...

There is a book of short stories in the pipeline, picking up on the back histories of several of the leading players in the series. There is material for a prequal novel and one set in the post-Napoleonic period. Also hard-copy readers get a Christmas present of a short story! But at the moment the focus is on a series of nine novel-sized books, making one long story of about a million words. 

I am hoping JK Rowling will feel the need to pen another couple of Harry Potter books to keep up!

What does Peter's wife think about this writing business?

Good question! We'll ask her online sometime, but she has been brilliantly supportive and helpful throughout. It's not possible to embark on an oddyssey such as this without a loyal crew - or admiral...

The great news for her (honest) is that we have been to some truly wonderful parts of Spain, Portugal and France which don't appear in the usual holiday schedules!

 

What sort of research do you do?

Reading, web, museums, libraries, site visits...then more reading.

I use mostly the standard secondary sources and those first-hand accounts I can find in print.  Increasinly there is wonderful material online - diaries, articles, biographies etc.

I’ve visited most of the locations mentioned in the books and I’ve been lucky enough to handle documents written in the hand of Wellington, Fletcher, Beresford, Burgoyne etc. – but I leave the detailed research to real historians. There is more than enough available in print to satisfy the eager novelist.

How do you do the actual writing?

The research (from books) I do by making hand-written notes on paper - got lots of busy files! The actual writing is done on the pc. The process takes about two years and each book is revised at least twenty times.

See BIBLIOGRAPHY for selection of useful titles

© Peter Youds 2008