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Tour: 1066 Turned Upside Down

Book details:

Book Title: 1066 Turned Upside Down

Authors: Joanna Courtney, Helen Hollick, Anna Belfrage, Richard Dee

G.K. Holloway, Carol McGrath, Alison Morton, Eliza Redgold, Annie Whitehead

With a foreword by C.C. Humphreys.

Publication Date: 14th September 2021

Publisher: Taw River Press (paperback) Matador/Troubador (e-book)

Page Length: 222 Pages

@Archaeolibrary, @maryanneyarde, @HelenHollick,

#CoffeePotBookClub, #BlogTour, #1066UpsideDown, #AlternativeHistory,

Have you ever wondered what might have happened if William the Conqueror had been beaten at Hastings in 1066? Or if Harald Hardrada had won at Stamford Bridge? Or if Edward the Confessor had died with an heir ready to take his crown? If so – here is the perfect set of short stories for you.

1066 Turned Upside Down explores a variety of ways in which that momentous year could have played out very differently.

Written by nine well-known authors the stories will take you on a journey through the speculative ‘what ifs?’ of England’s most famous year in history.

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Author G. K. Holloway contribution to 1066 Turned Upside Down was an alternative story set after the Great Battle, when Duke William tries to take London...


by G.K. Holloway

Although Edgar had the strongest claim to the throne, when in January 1066 the Witan had to elect a successor to Edward, they chose Harold Godwinson, a proven commander and a respected Earl. After Harold’s death on the battlefield, England needed a new king; the young Edgar was the only choice. If things had worked out differently for him he might well have enjoyed his coronation on Christmas Day 1066. As it transpired, he spent most of his life rebelling against William and his successors. Edgar died childless at the age of seventy-five, the last male of the House of Cerdic, the original English royal family. Edgar’s sister, Margaret, fared better – she married King Malcolm III of Scotland and their daughter, Edith, married King Henry I of England... but things could have been different:

London Bridge – Late November

Inside London’s bursting walls, anxious citizens cram the streets, grudgingly sharing their town with the newcomers – the vanquished soldiers from the battlefield and refugees fleeing atrocities. Throughout the thoroughfaresrumours of gruesome massacres, merciless maiming, butchery and barbarism at the hands of the Normans are spreading like the plague. People are asking questions of each other. What was it like at Stamford Bridge? What was it like at Hastings? Where are you from? Why did they burn it down? And the question, ‘Is the same fate in store for us?’ hangs on everyone’s lips.

With similar thoughts running through his mind, Edgar Edwardson, the sixteen-year-old King of England, stares out of his chamber window in the Royal Palace of Westminster. His gaze follows along the stretch of cold, grey river to the City of London, shrouded in dread. The last leaves have fallen from the trees and only black, skeletal branches appear against the skyline. Over the horizon, Duke William of Normandy and his army are heading remorselessly towards them, swarming over the countryside, destroying everything in their path. He will arrive within hours but the mighty Thames should offer protection from the fury of the Normans. As long as the English can hold the single bridge leading into London the city will be safe. Edgar shivers and pulls his cloak tighter to keep out the cold.

TheWitangemot, the Great Council, proclaimed Edgar as king only a few weeks ago. His coronation, yet to take place, is set for Christmas Day. Most of his subjects see him as their only hope but he knows there are others who have an alternative ruler in mind. The northern earls, Edwin and Morcar, have made sure that their sister is safe, hundreds of miles away in the city of Chester where they hope she will give birth to a healthy boy, the late King Harold’s son.

King Edgar is well aware of the unreliability and lack of fighting prowess of the earls. The brothers are not fearless warriors, but their men are sorely needed. Their sister, Queen Aldytha, has done the right thing in fleeing London. But now people are asking the question - if they can’t even protect their sister, who can they protect?

Staring out of the window, King Edgar hopes to find inspiration for the task ahead. True, there are soldiers at his disposal but they are demoralised and he is untried as their leader. Earl Waltheof’s housecarls tasted glory at the Battle of Stamford Bridge but they are just two hundred in number – will they be able to have a decisive impact in the forthcoming clash? The rest of the trained troops number several hundred more but they are the remnants of Harold’s men, lost souls with spirits shattered by defeat. Who cannot pity them? After all, did they not lose the biggest battle in England’s history? And worse still, failed to defend their former king. Can they now successfully defend their new one to set themselves up for future winter nights at the fireside, recounting tales of a glorious victory?

Edgar is sure that none of them relishes the thought of fighting for an inexperienced youth. He has heard the mutterings – if Harold, the victor of Stamford Bridge, lost to Duke William, what chance does a mere lad stand? He has heard them and, worse, he fears they are right.

How does the fight for London end? Find out in 1066 Turned Upside Down

“1066 Turned Upside Down is the exemplar for how analytical counterfactual history should be done, combining the best elements of fiction and non-fiction to create an immensely impressive achievement.”

“As a collection, the quality of the writing is exceptional and the variety of possible outcomes presented is truly fascinating.”

“The collection is assembled in such a way that between the ‘alternatives’ are the related facts as they happened, as far as historians and archaeologists know – which still leaves room for these experienced writers’ imaginations.”

“A book I will read and re-read. I heartily recommend it”

“The real joy of a collection of stories like this is, of course, that you are likely to be introduced to writers you may not have come across before.”

1066 Turned Upside Down is a collection of eleven alternative history short stories of a ‘what if’ nature imagined by nine well-known successful authors:

JOANNA COURTNEY Ever since Joanna sat up in her cot with a book, she’d wanted to be a writer and cut her publication teeth on short stories and serials for the women’s magazines before signing to PanMacmillan in 2014 for her three-book series The Queens of the Conquest about the wives of the men fighting to be King of England in 1066. Her second series, written for Piatkus is Shakespeare’s Queens exploring the real history of three of the bard’s greatest female characters – Lady Macbeth, Ophelia and Cordelia.

Joanna’s fascination with historical writing is in finding the similarities between us and them –with an especial goal to provide a female take on some of the greatest stories we think we know.

ALISON MORTON writes the award-winning alternative fiction Roma Nova thriller series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women. She has recently branched out into a contemporary crime setting with Double Identity, the first of a planned series.

ANNA BELFRAGE Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy set in 14th century England. Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. His Castilian Hawk - returning to medieval times and her most recent release, The Whirlpools of Time, a time travel romance set against the backdrop of brewing rebellion in the Scottish highlands. Anna has won several awards including various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.

ANNIE WHITEHEAD is an historian and prize-winning author. Her main interest in history is the period formerly known as the ‘Dark Ages’. Her first novel, To Be A Queen, is the story of Aethelflaed (daughter of Alfred the Great), who came to be known as the Lady of the Mercians. Alvar the Kingmaker, tells the story of Aelfhere of Mercia, a nobleman in the time of King Edgar. Cometh the Hour goes further back in time to the seventh century, to tell the story of Penda, the last pagan king of Mercia. Annie has twice been a prizewinner in the Mail on Sunday Novel Writing competition, she won first prize for nonfiction in the new Writing Magazine Poetry and Prose competition, and was the inaugural winner of the HWA (Historical Writers’ Association)/Dorothy Dunnett Society Short Story Competition and is now a judge for that same competition.

Annie has had two nonfiction books published. Mercia: The Rise and Fall of a Kingdom (Amberley Books) has been an Amazon #1 Bestseller. Women of Power in Anglo-Saxon England was published by Pen & Sword Books in 2020.

CAROL McGRATH is the author of The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy. Her fifth historical novel, The Silken Rose, first in The Rose Trilogy, published by the Headline Group, is set during the High Middle Ages. It features Ailenor of Provence and was published in 2020. The Damask Rose about Eleanor of Castile was published in 2021. The Stone Rose, Isabella of France, follows in 2022. Carol has also written Historical Non-Fiction for Pen & Sword.

ELIZA REDGOLD is an author and ‘romantic academic’. Her bestselling historical fiction includes her Ladies of Legend trilogy, starting with Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva released internationally by St Martin’s Press, New York. Her historical romances are published by Harlequin Historical, London (Harper Collins). They include Playing the Duke’s Mistress, Enticing Benedict Cole, The Scandalous Suffragette and The Master’s New Governess. They have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, Polish, Czech, Danish and Swedish, and are available internationally.

G.K. HOLLOWAY After graduating from Coventry University with an honours degree in history and politics, he worked in education in and around Bristol, England, where he now lives. After reading a biography about Harold Godwinson, he studied the late Anglo-Saxon era in detail. When he had enough material to weave together facts and fiction he produced his novel. 1066 What Fates Impose, a story of family feuds, court intrigues, assassinations, plotting and scheming, loyalty and love, all ingredients in an epic struggle for the English crown.

HELEN HOLLICK moved from London in 2013 and now lives on a thirteen-acre farm in North Devon, England. Born in London, Helen wrote pony stories as a teenager, moved to science fiction and fantasy, and then discovered the wonder of historical fiction. Published since 1994 with her Arthurian Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, followed by her 1066 era duo. She became a USA Today bestseller with her story of Queen Emma: The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK), and its companion novel, Harold the King (titled I Am the Chosen King in the U.S.A). She also writes the Sea Witch Voyages, a series of pirate-based nautical adventures with a touch of fantasy. Commissioned by Amberley Press she wrote a non-fiction book about pirates in fact, fantasy and fiction and a non-fiction book about smugglers, published by Pen and Sword.

Recently she has ventured into the ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with her Jan Christopher Mysteries, the first of which is A Mirror Murder. She runs Discovering Diamonds, an independent online review site for Historical Fiction, primarily aimed at showcasing Indie writers.

She occasionally gets time to write.

RICHARD DEE was a Master Mariner and ship’s pilot, now living in Brixham, South Devon. His novels include Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as the exploits of Andorra Pett, a reluctant amateur detective.

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Tour hosted by: The Coffee Pot Book Club

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