My blog ... updates ... news

18. Apr, 2019

How depressing that the thought police are circling like sharks around poor Prince Charles, protesting that the '-ize' spelling format is used only by (shudder) our American cousins. Yet these critics presumably represent the complaisant majority that has already adopted such Americanisms as 'program' for 'programme', 'maneuver' for 'manoeuvre', 'pediatrics' for 'paediatrics' and much besides. Do they spell 'mediaeval' the American way, 'medieval'? And have they observed its truncation, as a result, from four syllables to three ('muh-dee-val')? 

Has anyone also noticed that the good old English word 'homage' is now almost universally pronounced by media persons in the nouveau American way, 'ommage'?

And have they adopted all these transatlantic imports only for their gorge to rise at the standard Oxford English Dictionary usage '-ize'?

As for John Humphrys harrumphing on this morning's 'Today' programme about how he dislikes seeing words spelt by the Prince 'the American way' ... I suspect this reveals more about his reading habits than he thinks. In my experience a great many leading British book publishers prefer the '-ize' usage, including my present publisher Pen & Sword. How can he have failed to notice this in his preparations for interviewing so many authors? ? Or (OMG) does he perhaps rely on summaries produced for him in journalese? 

Only last year, when proof-reading my colleague Dr Arthur Kincaid's new publication of Buc's Richard III, one of the earliest parameters we established was his use of the '-ize' form. It really is quite prevalent. Not, I think, merely because he's an Oxford man ...

Is there not more than enough division in our fair land already, without inventing new ways to larrup each other? My Burchfield edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage (1998) regards the choice of 'ise' / 'ize' as a matter that ‘remains delicately balanced but unresolved.’

For heaven's sake let's lighten up and allow differentness to thrive. 

31. Mar, 2019

Things move slowly in the world of Pen & Sword.  If anyone has seen an illustration of this book's front cover on a site like Amazon, please disregard it: it was rejected eight weeks ago!

Please also disregard the extraordinarily pedestrian and inaccurate blurb they've attached to it. Who writes this stuff? Don't they read the book first? And why don't they use the written material I've given them??? Worse still, if anyone looks at this supposed synopsis they'll assume my book is pedestrian and inaccurate too. <sigh>

Authors who have slaved on a subject for months and years, making it authentic and gripping, get a raw deal when publishers brush aside their intimate knowledge and expertise. It's not my habit to go public with a howl of protest, but I can't sit silent when they shove this kind of stuff out to the media.

Dear friends and readers, please be patient and trust the meticulous care and accuracy I am famed for. You'll love the book, I promise - and the 150+ pictures and original illustrations. I just need to get Pen & Sword to love it too.


1. Feb, 2019

It's taken two months but I can now confirm that The History Press have withdrawn the defective copies of 'The Maligned King' and they tell me the latest reprint has the colour plates restored. If anyone has a dud copy without colour plates I suggest trying to get The History Press to replace it - try Jonathan Harris at

If unsuccessful please contact me via this website (see email address on my 'Online Store' page) and I will replace your book at my own exoense.

4. Dec, 2018

I need to advise anyone who has recently purchased Richard III: The Maligned King that there has been a regrettable printing error – the colour plate section has been printed in black and white.

This is particularly distressing as I spent a lot of effort (and close to £2,000) on sourcing and licensing a set of compelling colour images, some of them very unusual, including the first portrait of Princess Joanna of Portugal ever to have been published in a book about Richard.

The publishers have frozen their stocks and are looking into this as a matter of urgency. It’s my hope that they will replace any defective books purchased. I just want to apologize to purchasers and advise you that we do know what has happened and hopefully the situation will be rectified, although I don’t yet have a specific undertaking in this respect. Please stand by for updates.


11. Nov, 2018

Captain D.V. Armstrong, DFC. 'Remembered for his skill and modesty' [Gen Jan Christian Smuts]