The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings: A Medieval Ghost Story by Dan Jones

The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings: A Medieval Ghost Story by Dan Jones


One winter, in the dark days of King Richard II, a tailor was riding home on the road from Gilling to Ampleforth. It was dank, wet and gloomy; he couldn’t wait to get home and sit in front of a blazing fire.

Then, out of nowhere, the tailor is knocked off his horse by a raven, who then transforms into a hideous dog, his mouth writhing with its own innards. The dog issues the tailor with a warning: he must go to a priest and ask for absolution and return to the road, or else there will be consequences…

First recorded in the early fifteenth century by an unknown monk, The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings was transcribed from the Latin by the great medievalist M.R. James in 1922. Building on that tradition, now bestselling historian Dan Jones retells this medieval ghost story in crisp and creepy prose.

My Review:

The days are getting shorter, and we are in the season for ghost stories and there is nothing better I enjoy at this time of year then a creepy old ghost story and bestselling historian Dan Jones has just released the perfect ghostly story. The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings (Head of Zeus) that dates to the 1400’s and written in Latin by a Monk from Byland Abbey in Yorkshire and discovered by Montague Rhodes James during the 1920’s. This is just one of the stories that was discovered and now Dan Jones has brought the story life.

This story follows a tailor called Snowball who is from Ampleforth and he is riding home after a days work when he things start to get a little creepy and is attacked first by a raven but then it transforms into something more creepy and sinister. This it transpires is a deceased member of the community that is not a rest due to his sins he committed during his life and now wants Snowball to seek out absolution from a priest and bring it back that will allow him eternal rest.

But there is a warning to Snowball that somewhere along this road there are two more spirits that haunt the road and if he fails to return to this very spot on the road with the absolution then there will be consequences for him from the two spirits.

What I loved is how the language brings this spooky tale to life and you can just imagine the quiet road a tired tailor riding his horse home and then creepy things start to happen around him.

There is an introduction by Dan Jones at the beginning including a look at Byland Abbey and there is also the Latin version of the story. Which I found to be a great addition to the story.

If you are a fan of the old spooky tales, then I cannot recommend The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings. Perfect for a dark autumn evening and being read via candlelight.

96 Pages.

My thanks to Head of Zeus for the NetGalley review copy of The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings: A Medieval Ghost Story by Dan Jones. Published by Head of Zeus on the 14th October 2021 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

The Genesis Inquiry by Olly Jarvis

The Genesis Inquiry by Olly Jarvis


Is there one last undiscovered, great truth?

A moment zero, a place in time that links all cultures and creeds?

A revelation that will unite us all and change the way we see history forever?

Brilliant but burnt-out barrister Ella Blake accepts an apparently simple brief: investigate the mysterious disappearance of an African American polymath from his rooms at Cambridge University. The Inquiry quickly becomes the greatest challenge of her life – solving the mystery of Genesis.

Facing danger at every turn, can Ella find the answers to the riddles and clues left by the missing genius?

Reunited with her estranged daughter, the Inquiry sends them on a quest across the world and through ancient texts.

What is the secret that binds us all?

Who is behind the dark forces that will stop at nothing to prevent the world from knowing the truth?

The Genesis Inquiry is an epic and gripping thriller by the brilliant Olly Jarvis which asks a key question – what can our shared past tell us about humanity’s future?

My Review:

Back in October 2015 I was lucky enough to review Death by Dangerous by Olly Jarvis and now fast forward six years and I have been extremely fortunate enough to have read his brand-new legal thriller The Genesis Inquiry which was released on 12th October via Hobeck Books.

In this gripping thriller we are introduced to Ella Blake who was at the very top of her game as a QC, but she is burnt out after a case she was running was lost and now she is trying to run away from life and escape to the coast. Her daughter Lizzie meanwhile is studying at Cambridge for most parents this would be a proud moment, but Ella has little contact with her daughter. But things are about to change. Ella Blake has just come out of self-imposed exile and has taken on a mysterious case of a missing polymath from Cambridge University, and this means she could and does end up meeting her daughter.

But this case of the missing polymath will be the biggest challenge of Ella’s life let alone her career. This case not only becomes dangerous but there are riddles and clues but are some real or are some red herrings to put her off from finding the missing genius. What happens next is a thriller of a ride from continent to continent and ancient texts to solve the mystery add to this and a real sense that you are being watched and followed.

Does Ella make amends with her daughter Lizzie, well this and more you will have to read and find out. The Genesis Inquiry is an outstanding legal thriller.

A fabulous and compulsive read that had me wanting more and I for one really does hope there is more to come.

My thanks to Hobeck Books for the review copy of The Genesis Inquiry by Olly Jarvis. Now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

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A Short History of Russia: From the Pagans to Putin by Mark Galeotti

A Short History of Russia: From the Pagans to Putin by Mark Galeotti


Can anyone truly understand Russia? Let one of the world’s leading experts show you how, using the fascinating history of a nation to illuminate its future.

Russia is a country with no natural borders, no single ethnos, no true central identity. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it is everyone’s ‘other’. And yet it is one of the most powerful nations on earth, a master game-player on the global stage with a rich history of war and peace, poets and revolutionaries.

In this essential whistle-stop tour of the world’s most misunderstood nation, Mark Galeotti takes us behind the myths to the heart of the Russian story: from the formation of a nation to its early legends – including Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great – to the rise and fall of the Romanovs, the Russian Revolution, the Cold War, Chernobyl and the end of the Soviet Union – plus the arrival of an obscure politician named Vladimir Putin.

My Review:

When we think of Russia, we think of the Russian Revolution and more recently the Cold War. The world’s largest country has quite a history and how Mark Galeotti manages to keep it to under 210 pages is a real feat, but in A Short History of Russia: From the Pagans to Putin (Ebury Press) he manages this really well.

This is not a book the delves deeply into Russian history there are many books already out in bookshops that cover this but what Mark Galeotti brings us is a concise history of the rulers and from tsars to Communist Party leaders, of course there are the wars, and they are covered here. It is impossible to cover just about every aspect of Russian history. What I did like was the various timelines at the beginning of each of the eight chapters and there are photographs along the way and there are suggestions for further reading if you want to explore the various subjects.

But most of all I really enjoyed Mark Galeotti’s writing style, I found it easy to follow and really engaging. As you reach the climax of the book we get to the end of the USSR and then on to the rise of Putin. Which you could well write a whole book on.

All in all, this for anyone who has an interest in history and even politics I would happily recommend.

208 Pages.

On Friday the 8th October, we welcome back the Cheltenham Literature Festival and in-person book events.

Mark Galeotti will be attending the festival as part of the Understanding Russia event with details below:

Monday 11th October 2021. 10:30am for tickets to the event Understanding Russia:

The 2021 Cheltenham Literature Festival returns to live in person events this year. For further information on all events taking place over the next two weeks:


My thanks to Sofia Sagir (Midas PR) for the review copy of A Short History of Russia by Mark Galeotti.

A Short History of Russia by Mark Galeotti is published by Ebury Press and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through that supports your local independent bookshop. UK

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