Dark Age – Out In Paperback

…soon, that is. The finished copies have just arrived from my publisher and look fantastic, I think.

You can pre-order Dark Age from your favourite bookshop or get them online here.

Here’s the blurb:

Bridging the gap between ‘Game of Thrones’ and Bernard Cornwell comes the second chapter in James Wilde’s epic adventure of betrayal, battle and bloodshed . . .

It is AD 367, and Roman Britain has fallen to the vast barbarian horde which has invaded from the north. Towns burn, the land is ravaged and the few survivors flee. The army of Rome – once the most effective fighting force in the world – has been broken, its spirit lost and its remaining troops shattered.

Yet for all the darkness, there is hope. And it rests with one man. His name is Lucanus who they call the Wolf. He is a warrior, and he wears the ancient crown of the great war leader, Pendragon, and he wields a sword bestowed upon him by the druids. With a small band of trusted followers, Lucanus ventures south to Londinium where he hopes to bring together an army and make a defiant stand against the invader.

But within the walls of that great city there are others waiting on his arrival – hidden enemies who want more than anything to possess the great secret that has been entrusted to his care. To seize it would give them power beyond imagining. To protect it will require bravery and sacrifice beyond measure. And to lose it would mean the end of everything worth fighting for. 

Before Camelot. Before Excalibur. Before all you know of King Arthur. Here is the beginning of that legend . . .

Buy Pendragon At A Knock-Down Price

If you’re thinking about sampling my new Dark Age series, now’s the time. The first book in the trilogy, Pendragon, will be available at just 99p as a Kindle Monthly Deal for a very short period. Find it here.

The second book Dark Age is out now and the big wrap-up, The Bear King, will be available in the summer.

As the blurb says…

Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.

But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world – a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde – in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.

A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon. 

A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself – each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend…the rise of the House of Pendragon.

The Bear King Is On The March

When I start writing a book, I do a thousand words across the first hour of my working day every day, leaving me the rest of the session free to work on scripts and pitches.

I slowly ramp that rate up as I get to know the characters and themes.

I’m currently averaging about 5k a day as this book heads towards the end, which shows it’s going well. It’s The Bear King, the conclusion of my reimagining of the Arthurian myth and how it might have arisen out of history.

On course for the delivery date, which will make my editor happy.

The Secret Abbey

Westminster Abbey, from the quire along the nave.

Had a private tour after hours behind the scenes at Westminster Abbey. As a fascinating insight into more than one thousand years of British history, it couldn’t be beaten.  And for me it was particularly intriguing to be allowed into areas where the public normally isn’t admitted, like the shrine of Edward the Confessor (after his appearance in Hereward), in the oldest part of the current abbey.

The tomb of Elizabeth I and her sister Mary, the tombs of a long list of English monarchs, the oldest garden in Britain, the ‘secret chapel’ of Saint Faith, and the Pyx Chamber where the Royals used to store their treasure – so much to see.  And there’s going to be even more in a year’s time when the Abbey opens the upper levels looking down on the nave for the first time.  They’ll be displaying the rarely-seen death masks of English monarchs and the body replicas that were paraded in front of the people when one of the monarchs died in Scotland and was brought south for burial.

The trip came as a pleasant break from finishing the final details of Pendragon before publication in July.  The cover is now signed off and yesterday I approved the new typeface and sent details for the map designer.  Your local bookshop will now be taking pre-orders or you can go here for a look and a ponder.

There’s a link between the trip and the forthcoming book.  Pendragon is very much about how legend arises out of history and while it tackles the potential roots of Arthurian mythos, it’s also about our need for legends, heroes, and an ideal of the country we inhabit.

The Mythic History of England


The Tower of London has a real pull for anyone who loves history.  It spans the life of England in all its forms, from pre-history, through Roman Britain to the modern age, a great story – or ten – for every era.

I spent a day there recently, ambling around under an Autumn sun.  It was the first time I’d been since I was a boy, but the memories of that early visit came rushing back, I think because those stories had sent roots deep into my unconscious.  This is how stories work, and why, in ancient times, they were used to teach important knowledge, the truths coded into every line.

That’s something I’m very interested in at the moment: the parallel history of the world, one based on abstracts and intangibles, where stories, myths, legend, folklore, are created by people and then ripple out and affect everything around us as if they were real.

Sometimes facts are the least important thing when it comes to understanding the world at large, and history.  It’s what people believe that shapes their actions, and as we can see in the headlines nearly every day, people believe a lot of strange things.

The Tower of London is a great venue for considering this alternative approach to history.

Legend has it – and also the first description of the Tower by Fitz-Stephen who died in 1191 – that the “mortar is tempered with the blood of beasts.”  The stories that rolled out suggested this was a magical defence, blood as a spell of protection, and a fitting way of telling the people that their land would be kept safe by this castle which became the symbol of England’s strong defence.


And, of course, there’s the famous legend that the kingdom and the tower will fall if the six ravens ever leave the fortress.  Charles II was the monarch who insisted they be protected, for that very reason.  That’s another legend that reaffirms a belief in the indomitable nature of the English.

The myth of England is a powerful force that provides a foundation for patriotism and ties people together in the need for common struggle.  We’ve been building on it for years, and that isn’t going to stop just because we are, allegedly, wiser and less superstitious.

Out Today – Hereward The Bloody Crown

The sixth and final book in the Hereward story is published today.

Hereward 6

Get it from your favourite bookshop, or order it here.

Here’s the blurb:

1081. And so the bloody battle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire begins.
Within the city of Constantinople itself, three venal factions will go to any lengths – will, it seems, kill any who might stand in their way – to seize the throne.
And outside the city’s walls, twin powers threaten a siege that will crush the once-mighty empire forever.
To the west, the voracious forces of the most feared Norman warlord are gathering. While in the east, the Turkish hordes are massing – theirs is a lust for slaughter.
And in the midst of this maelstrom of brutality and betrayal, Hereward and his English spear-brothers prepare to make what could be their final stand . . .

Out Today – Hereward The Immortals

Hereward V

In Paperback.

1073 – under the merciless sun of the east, a dark force has risen – a Norman adventurer who could rival the feared King William for bloody ambition. He has conquered his land, he has built his fortress and he has amassed his army. And now he has taken Constantinople’s ruler as his prisoner…
It falls to Hereward to rescue this precious captive. For this great English warrior-in-exile and his spear-brothers, it will mean mounting a raid that could prove the most dangerous and deadliest of their lives. Assisting them in their task will be an elite and legendary band of fighters, the Immortals – so-called because they believe they cannot die in battle. But it will not be enough – for enemies hide within the jewelled heart of Byzantium: vipers who spread their poison, who want to see the English dead at any cost and who are to transform a mission that was at best dangerous into an adventure that is now suicidal. . .
With this rousing adventure full of brutal sword play, treachery, camaraderie and honour, James Wilde continues his bestselling account of the action-packed life and times of England’s great and now, thanks to his his fiction, perhaps not-so-forgotten hero – Hereward the Wake.

Get it here, or at your favourite bookshop.