Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Review ~ 1066 Turned Upside Down ...An alternate view..

August 2016

A bit of blurb..

Ever wondered what might have happened if William the Conqueror had been beaten at Hastings? Or if Harald Hardrada had won at Stamford Bridge? Or if Edward the Confessor had died with an heir ready to take his place? Then here is the perfect set of stories for you. ‘1066 Turned Upside Down’ explores a variety of ways in which the momentous year of 1066 could have played out differently. 

Written by nine well-known authors to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the stories will take you on a journey through the wonderful ‘what ifs’ of England’s most famous year in history.

My thoughts about the book..

It's 1066 but not as you know it..

I'm fascinated by historical fiction written by authors who wade way through dusty history books and ponder long into the night about the minutiae of the lives, and times, of historical figures, always maintaining historical accuracy, so that no-on can ever accuse them of changing, or of rearranging history. It must be a temptation though, on occasion, to have the opportunity to rearrange events, to give a voice to that little mischievous murmur that whispers ever so softly… what would have happened, if only..

In 1066 Turned Upside Down, nine talented historical fiction authors, all at the top of their game in terms of historical fiction, have taken the facts, as we know them, about the tumultuous events of the year, 1066 and have given us their alternate versions of events. All of the eleven stories have an air of authenticity and each combine historical facts with a delightful, alternate twist. All of the stories are readable in short snippets, little bite sized stories, which you can comfortably read in one sitting, but which, ultimately, offer a fresh approach to a time in history that most of us feel we know really well.

Whilst I am familiar with some of the authors who have contributed, others are new to me, but what convinced me about the combined quality of this book was just how seriously these committed authors take their craft. They make history come alive, and with real conviction turn fact into fiction and fiction into fact, cleverly manipulating events so that everything you read becomes totally convincing and in some cases you wish it had happened just so..

I’m not going to single out any one story as my ‘favourite’ as each one brings something different to the feast and I think the stories should be looked at as a collective whole rather than singletons, however, it must also be said that each story is complete within itself and stands proudly alone.

It’s a great idea to take something as momentous as 1066 and turn it completely on its head but in this 950th anniversary year of the battle of Hastings, it’s refreshing to look at events in a totally different way and I commend these fine authors for their inventiveness and obvious enthusiasm for their chosen genre.

Best read with ..Tankards of yeasty ale and a rich and pungent venison pasty…

And here are the authors :

Our Nine Authors

A foreword by CC Humphries

An Introduction by Joanna Courtney 

January - Helen Hollick - To Crown A King

February -Annie Whitehead - A Matter of Trust

March - Joanna Courtney -Emperor of the North

April - Carol McGrath - The Dragon-Tailed Star

May - June - Richard Dee - If You Changed One Thing

July - Alison Morton - A Roman Intervenes

August - Helen Hollick - In the Wake if the Dolphin

September - Anna Belfrage - The Danish Crutch

October -  Joanna Courtney - Hold England Firm

November - G K Holloway - The Battle of London Bridge

December - Eliza Redgold - The Needle Can Mend

An Endword by Helen Hollick

You can discover more about the authors and their stories

on the 1066 Turned Upside Down website 

Available as an ebook click here 

Historical Novel Society Review click here

Huge thanks to the authors for sharing their stories with me 
and for allowing me a totally different look at 1066.

1066 Turned Upside Down



  1. Goodness, thank you Jo for such a stunning review! It was such a pleasure to work with everyone involved - from authors to publisher to our cover designer, Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics. But the best thing? We had a lot of fun getting the project together!

    1. You're welcome, Helen. It was a real pleasure to read something so refreshingly different.

  2. I can only echo Helen's comment - it was a thrill to be part of this project and it was such fun being allowed to 'twist' history!

    1. Annie - Those little historical twists made this book such fun to read :)

  3. What a super review, Jo. Thank you. And I must say I'm in awe of my fellow writers - a talented bunch - and I was delighted to be invited to contribute a Roma Novan angle.

    1. Hi Alison, yes, your Roma Novan twist was very interesting !!


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