Robert Brightwell

Robert Brightwell

I am a firm believer in the maxim that history is stranger than fiction. There are countless times when I have come across a character or incident that has been so hard to believe, that I have had to search out other sources for confirmation. Thomas Cochrane, who features in my first and seventh books is one of those, his real-life adventures seem ridiculously far-fetched for a fictional character. The Begum of Samru from my second book is another: a fifteen-year-old nautch dancer who gained the confidence of an army, had a man literally kill himself over her and who led her soldiers with skill and courage, before becoming something of a catholic saint. History is full of amazing stories. In my books I try to do my bit to tell some of them. When I thought of a vehicle to do so, the Flashman series from George MacDonald Fraser came to mind. The concept of a fictional character witnessing and participating in real historical events, while not unique, has rarely been done better. I therefore decided to create an earlier, Napoleonic era, generation of the family. My Thomas Flashman character is not exactly the same as Fraser’s Harry Flashman. They both have the uncanny knack of finding themselves in the hotspots of their time. They have an eye for the ladies and self-preservation. Yet Thomas is not quite the spiteful bully his nephew became, although he does learn to serve a vicious revenge on those who serve him ill. The new ‘Assignment’ series, featuring war correspondent Thomas Harrison, introduces a fresh new character for adventures a generation later, starting in 1870. His employment ensures that he is at the heart of the action, although his goal of being an impartial observer is invariably thwarted. In both series I aim to make the books as historically accurate as possible. My fictional central character is woven into real events, so that he is fully engaged in the action, but is not allowed to alter the ultimate outcome. He is also not allowed to replace a known historical figure. But where the person is unknown or events are unexplained, he can provide the explanation. In short, I am trying to provide real history in the form of a ripping yarn! For further information check out my website:
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