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Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his family in Essex.
Paul has written over 100 books and has published a series of outstanding historical mysteries set in the Middle Ages, Classical Greece, Ancient Egypt and elsewhere. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages and are available in several formats, including large print, audio books, and more recently e-books.
The ideal stocking filler for anyone looking for some good, clean, grisly fun this Christmas. Wryly amusing and gruesomely fascinating, this smart science-based stocking filler provides technical answers to many of the questions curious kids like to issue at adults, and many an adult wonders about. Positing “What would happen if…” as its driving pivot, the book explores all manner of unusual ways to meet one’s demise in deadpan detail. Many of the questions tap into commonly-held fears: what would happen if your plane window popped out? If you were buried alive? If you were struck by lightning? Others are ingeniously absurd: what would happen if buzzards raised you? If you ate as many cookies as the cookie monster? If you toured the Pringles factory and fell off the catwalk? If you actually lost your head? Encompassing the disciplines of anatomy, physics, geology and astronomy, the authors’ answers are funnily thorough, and funny full-stop. Joanne Owen
England, 1455: a kingdom on the brink of civil war. The Red Rose: King Henry of Lancaster's days are numbered. Deemed unfit for rule, even by his own mother, he surely cannot last on the throne for long. Simon Roseblood - London lord, taverner and alderman - is one of few loyal servants left to fight his cause. The White Rose: Ruthless Richard of York has his eye firmly set on the crown - and plenty of powerful allies who will do anything to help him win it. Henchman Amadeus Sevigny makes no bones about enforcing his own authority and asserting law and order at York's command. When Roseblood is summoned by Sevigny to stand trial for a crime he knows he didn't commit, their paths cross in ways that alter them both for ever. And as the Wars of the Roses looms, an even greater foe is poised to rock the foundations of England, and wreak horror in a hotbed of political unrest.
It's 1308 and England hovers on the brink of civil war. Edward II, his wife Isabella and the royal favourite Peter Gaveston Earl of Cornwall, have been forced to retreat to the King's folly. Just an arrowshot away lie the Great Lords and Philip IV of France, who are demanding that the Earl of Cornwall be charged with high treason. Edward is trapped, and worse, he has learnt that Philip has the 'Poison Maiden' on his side, a formidable spy who did untold damage during his father's reign. As Edward tries in vain to unmask the identity of the spy, Mathilde, handmaiden to the Queen, also attempts to identify the source of this threat. Soon the crisis spills over into violence. The Lords attempt to take Gaveston by force and the King and his Court, including Mathilde, are forced to flee. As the enemy closes in, Mathilde finds herself embroiled in a life and death struggle for the English crown.
In 1300, an English privateer named 'The Waxman' was trapped and overrun by two powerful war cogs flying the streamers of the powerful Hanseatic League of North Germany. The ship was carrying a casket containing the 'Carta Mysteriosa', a collection of valuable and detailed maps and sea charts. The rulers of Europe, not to mention their merchant princes, would wade through a sea of blood to obtain them. Three years later Wilhelm Von Paulents, a representative of the Hanseatic League, comes to England. Rumours have it that he owns the sea charts and Sir Hugh Corbett is sent to negotiate with Von Paulents. But the German visitors fall ill of some mysterious ailment and then, on the morning of the fourth Sunday in Advent, Corbett is summoned to a scene of bloody mayhem and murder: Von Paulents, his wife, son and clerk have been barbarously assassinated. The 'Carta Mysteriosa' have not been stolen. So why were the murders committed and by whom? Corbett investigates and, once again, he enters the world of shadows to confront the Seed of Cain.
Rome: August 314 AD, and as the sun's insidious heat beats down, murderous forces lurk in the underbelly of the city. The normally cosseted world of Rome's rich and powerful is rocked by a series of violent abductions, as children of the elite are kidnapped and held for ransom. Meanwhile, veteran soldiers, men who served Constantine along the Great Wall in northern Britain are being barbarously murdered; the indignities inflicted on their corpses reminiscent of the gruesome practices of the Picts whom they fought so many years ago. The Empress Helena summons her secret agent, Claudia, in a bid to resolve these macabre occurrences. But Claudia has problems of her own. The perfectly preserved corpse of a young Christian woman has been disinterred in her uncle's garden and it falls to her to investigate this mystery too. Now she must track her way through a murky tangle of politics, religion and murderous violence, ever aware that the slightest mistake could cost her life.
The young Pharoah Tutankhamun is unwell, but there is no heir apparent. Egypt's enemies, the Hittites, are advancing through Canaan, and Ay - First Minister of Akenhaten, father of Nefertiti, brother of Queen Tiye - still plots, like the spider he is. The web is woven, the traps set...
Mahu, former Chief of Police and Keeper of the Secrets of the Heart is sitting down to record his memories. He sees uneasy quiet reigning in the Royal Circle at Thebes, after the disappearance of the Pharaoh Akenhaten and the abandonment of his new, sun-worshipping religion. Members of different factions are barely held together by loyalty to the six-year-old Emperor, Tutankhamun. Then extraordinary news reaches the Council: Akenhaten has returned to Egypt. The words are greeted with dismay by all who hear them, for surely Akenhaten is dead? Mahu can certainly vouch that the woman claiming to be the Emperor's wife, Nefertiti, is a fraud. Whoever the man is who has appeared in the Delta, he must be investigated.
Somewhere deep in the desert, the location of Rahimere's tomb has long been kept a closely guarded secret. But now, the Sebaus - a sect taking its name from demons - has plundered and pillaged the sepulchre for its most powerful treasure. The fiery Pharaoh Queen Hatusu must fight to protect the tombs of her kin and tighten her grip on the collar of Egypt. But when Egypt's great military hero, General Suten, is bitten to death by a swarm of venomous vipers, it appears events have spiralled out of her control. Meanwhile, a dark shadow lies across the peaceful Temple of Isis; four of the temple handmaids have vanished without trace. Will Lord Amerotke, Pharaoh's Chief Judge, find that the perpetrators are in league with forces beyond his jurisdiction?
313 AD, and tempers are rising in Rome. The Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena are trying to make sense of the new Christian religion which is spreading through the Empire - but the Christians can't agree among themselves. Scholars are locked in a bitter struggle over whether Christ really was the son of God, and Constantine invites delegates from both sides to debate before him at his villa. Now strange things start to happen. Envoys from both sides are found murdered in a most macabre way. The villa is secretly attacked, and the Holy Sword is stolen. Helena calls on the help of her secret agent Claudia - that shrewd, unobtrusive detective - to untangle the dangerous web of intrigue. As she sets to work, the spy is also facing a crisis in her own life...
The monk and scholar Roger Bacon claimed to have seen many marvels of nature and science and concealed these in a book written in an unbreakable code. Sir Hugh Corbett has been instructed to organise agents in Paris to steal this Book of Secrets. They do so but pay a violent price and the French King Philip IV now wishes a meeting between the scholars of England and France to discuss breaking the code. Edward I has no choice but to allow the meeting to take place at Corfe Castle, which becomes a place of murder and mayhem. Young women from the castle are being slain whilst horrific things are witnessed in the nearby forest. The situation becomes more serious when two of the French scholars die in sinister circumstances. Corbett and Ranulf-atte-Newgate have to thread this maze of malevolent murder whilst trying to decipher the great secrets of one of England's most outstanding scholars.
In the late autumn of 1380, Brother Athelstan is busy enough. He and his parish council are preparing for the annual Christmas mystery play when a series of brutal murders occur at a Southwark tavern. Two young whores are found slain but their deaths are only the beginning of a series of gruesome killings which occur around the parish of St Erconwald's. A whole host of mysterious characters assemble to this pageant of murder: the Misericord, master thief and cunning man; the Judas man, a bounty hunter who tracks down outlaws and wolfheads; and finally the Knights of the Golden Falcon who assemble to celebrate their annual reunion. Brother Athelstan and Sir John Cranstone have to resolve not only these grisly deaths but also their source - the Great Robbery of the Lombard treasure which occurred in Southwark some twenty years earlier...
313 AD. Under the rule of Emperor Constantine, Rome finally appears to be emerging from its turbulent past. In order to consolidate his control and under the guidance of his mother Helena, Constantine plans to harness the power of the increasingly influential Christian Church. But his loyalties are brought into question when three courtesans from the Guild of Aphrodite - a guild Constantine himself frequents - are found dead. All three bodies have crosses etched on their foreheads and each cheek. Aiming to protect her son's future, Helena calls upon the service of an 'agente in rebus politicis' - or spy. Claudia is the niece of a tavern-owner and is placed as a wine-server in Constantine's household. But Claudia has secret motives of her own...
Thirteenth-century China, and the legendary Kublai Khan rules over Cathay and the Middle Kingdom. Of his many ministers and advisors, his favourite is a foreigner - the Venetian Marco Polo, whose understanding of the language and etiquette of the court is exemplary, and whose advice is widely sought. So when a flood of portents, strange visions and ghastly murders occur throughout the kingdom and even across the oceans, Marco's wisdom is called upon. The leaders of a demonic sect have disappeared from the desert to which they were banished, and Kublai Khan believes that they will attempt to release the Plague Lord himself, and open the gates of Hell...
As the sun sets, Chaucer's pilgrims find themselves lost in a Kent forest rumoured to be haunted. Huddled around the fire, trying to ignore the cries of screech owls and other, more frightening sounds of the night, the Clerk of Oxford agrees to tell a ghostly tale of love and death that will chill the blood.
Stumbling upon an execution, Chaucer's pilgrims witness a hanging that leaves the carpenter in a dead faint. That evening, he narrates the tale of a Gloucester hangman whose involvement in the secretive punishment of three witches unleashes a vicious spate of revenge killings.
The brothers of the abbey of St Martin's-in-the-Marsh pay little heed to the tales of robber baron Sir Geoffrey Mandeville's ghost galloping through the Lincolnshire fens with a retinue of ghastly horseman. They may hear the shrill blast of a hunting horn, or see the corpse candles glowing in the dark, but their comfortable life is protected by a high wall and their powerful abbot. Until Abbot Stephen, a friend of the King, is found dead and Sir Hugh Corbett, Keeper of the King's Seal, arrives to investigate.
In the village of Melford, a local lord is executed for a spate of vicious murders. It's not until the killing begins again, and the dead lord's son alleges that a miscarriage of justice has taken place, that a serious investigation begins. Hugh Corbett realises that for the last five years a serial killer has terrorised the villagers and that when, not if, the next victim is chosen, he must be ready to act.