Holcroft Blood and the Battle of the Boyne – a last hurrah?
The third and final book in my series about Holcroft Blood, the mildly autistic 17th-century English artillery officer and son of the notorious Crown Jewel thief Colonel Thomas Blood, is coming out in paperback on October 1, 2020. It’s called Blood’s Campaign and you can buy a copy here.
I’ve enjoyed writing the character of Holcroft – he’s very brave, socially awkward but clever in unusual ways – but I was warned that this was not a period in history that many readers liked. I remember clearly my agent saying, “The 17th century is known as the graveyard of historical novelists. ” But I went ahead and wrote about it anyway. Rather like many of my characters, I often think I know best. And I’m quite often completely wrong.
It’s not personal, it’s just business
Sadly, the Holcroft Blood series, despite some terrific reviews, and a lot of loyal support from my readers, has not been a resounding commercial success. We’ve sold a good few thousand copies but not enough to continue with the series. My publisher has pulled the plug. It’s a shame because I think the books are actually really good. But that’s the publishing business.
The first one, Blood’s Game, is the only book I’ve ever written without a battle in it, although it does tell an extraordinary true story about Colonel Blood’s attempt to steal the Crown Jewels. In the second one, Blood’s Revolution, Holcroft is on the trail of a French spy and finds himself fighting for his life with his bare fists in the London no-go area of the Liberty of Savoy – a notorious crime ghetto south of the Strand. And in Blood’s Campaign, Holcroft is in Ireland taking part in the Battle of the Boyne.
I probably won’t write any more of Holcroft’s adventures. But never say never. If there is a sudden surge in demand, I might have a go at a couple more. I really want to write the true story of Holcroft fighting beside his old friend Jack Churchill (the Duke of Marlborough) at the battle of Blenheim. But we shall have to see. If I win the lottery or something, and I don’t need to write novels for money any more, I will definitely write that book.
In the meantime, I have a new Viking series on the go, first novel out in February. And I’m nearly finished with Robin Hood and the Castle of Bones, a sequel to Robin Hood and the Caliph’s Gold, which you can buy here.
“The 17th century is known as the graveyard of historical novelists” – possibly but the alternative is a lot of authors writing about the same time period. As they do.
I enjoyed the series and did learn quite a bit too, who could ask for more? It would be great to see some more but quite understand there is no immediate prospect.
Thanks Nick. Yeah, I get a bit frustrated when EVERYONE is doing the same three or four periods in history. That’s what I liked about the Outlaw Chronicles, I could base some of the books on obscure bits like the loss of Normandy etc. Cheers, A